In an interview with journalist Charlie Rose on Sunday’s 60 Minutes, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin answered charges that his country is not a functioning democracy with his own questions about how well US democracy is functioning.
“You’re much talked about in America,” said Rose. “There’s much conversation. More so than any…”
“Maybe they have nothing else to do in America but to talk about me,” said Putin.
“There are many people who are critical of Russia, as you know,” Rose went on. “They say that it’s more autocratic and less democratic. They say that political opponents and journalists have been killed and imprisoned in Russia. They say your power is unchallenged. And they say that power and absolute power corrupts absolutely. What do you say to those people who worry about the climate, the atmosphere in Russia?”
Putin replied that Russia, like any democracy, is a nation of laws. People who break the law in Russia, he said, will be punished. His government, he said, is doing everything it can to hunt down and punish the people who have killed his political opponents and media critics.
“If you, as a leader of this country, insist that the rule of law be adhered to, if you insist that justice be done, if you because of your power, then it could go a long way to eliminating that perception,” Rose said.
“Well, a lot can be done,” Putin replied, then asked: “Do you believe that everything is perfect now from the point of view of democracy in the United States? If everything was perfect there wouldn’t be the problem of Ferguson. There would be no abuse by the police. But our task is to see all these problems and to respond properly.”
Watch the interview, embedded below: