Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Not Yet in 3rd Term, Putin Weighs a 4th ; in Interview before Vote on Sunday, He Also Talks of Relations with the U.S

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Not Yet in 3rd Term, Putin Weighs a 4th ; in Interview before Vote on Sunday, He Also Talks of Relations with the U.S

Article excerpt

Likely to win a third term as Russian president in an election on Sunday, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, said a fourth term in 2018 would be "normal, if things are going well and people want it."

Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, who is likely to win a third presidential term on Sunday, said in an interview released on Friday that he might run for president for a fourth time in 2018, a move that would lengthen his term as Russia's paramount leader to 24 years.

"It would be normal, if things are going well and people want it," Mr. Putin said in an interview with the editors of six foreign newspapers. "And if people don't want it and things aren't going well, and a person clings to his chair and doesn't want to give it away, and if, on top of that, he violates the law -- that would not be normal."

"But I don't know whether I want to remain for more than 20 years," he continued, according to an official transcript of the meeting. "I have not yet made this decision for myself."

State-controlled television gave heavy coverage to the three- hour interview, broadcasting video of a steely-eyed Mr. Putin parrying questions from "the most authoritative foreign editorial offices." After the interview ended, Mr. Putin brought the journalists with him to an ice rink to watch him play hockey. The editors were from Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Japan; no American publication was represented.

Mr. Putin discussed relations with the United States at length, however, saying the "reset" had yielded agreements on reducing stockpiles of strategic missiles and Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization but had done "practically nothing" to allay Russia's complaints over the planned American missile defense system.

Russia has long feared that the system would compromise its nuclear deterrent. Mr. Putin complained that when George W. …

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