Love and Debt: 5 Takeaways from Putin's Three-Hour Press Conference
Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the country's economic woes and his love life at an annual hours-long press conference Thursday.
Here are five of the biggest takeaways from his speech:
1. Tough road ahead
Putin warned that economic recovery in Russia could take up to two years in the worst-case scenario. He said the central bank should have responded more quickly to the situation.
2. The U.S. and the EU are to blame
Blaming the downturn on the falling price of oil and economic sanctions, Putin said he would not waste currency reserves to try and bolster the value of the ruble, which hit a record low of 73 against the dollar this week and is currently languishing at around 60. He said the U.S. and the European Union are treating the nation like a captive bear, Bloomberg News reported.
"They won't give up because they will always try to chain it," he said. "As soon as they chain it, they'll rip out its teeth and claws."
3. It's the Cold War all over again
Putin invoked the Cold War, saying the U.S. and the EU are using Russia's annexation of the Crimea peninsula in Ukraine as an excuse to isolate Russia. “This is payback for our natural desire to preserve ourselves as a nation, as a civilization and state,” he said. “The crisis in Ukraine should make our partners understand that it’s time to stop building walls.”
4. But it won't be a Blue Christmas
The president reassured reporters that his love life is thriving after a recent separation and pending divorce. He told them that he loves someone and that special someone loves him.
5. Coup? Not happening
Despite predictions by pardoned prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Putin said he is not worried about being ousted from power.
“People in their hearts and souls feel that we, and I in particular, are acting in the interests of the vast majority,” he said. “We can be sure that we’ll get through this period and we’ll emerge from this difficult situation today, stronger domestically and on the international stage.”