During Vladimir Putin’s annual year-end news conference with domestic and foreign media, the Russian president responded to a rather direct question from Maria Simmons, the Moscow bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal.
After spending more than three hours fielding questions about domestic and foreign affairs, Simmons began by noting that many people viewed Russia as a threat and said that “they even think that you as president of Russia seek to rule the world.”
Before she could continue, Putin interrupted her and answered with a smirk: “Well, of course,” to chuckles from some audience members.
Simmons continued asking her question: “Do you really want that, and can you tell me what the real goal of your foreign policy is?”
Putin said the United States considerably outspent Russia on its military and referred to “Russophobia” to explain why the U.S. was making Moscow out to be an enemy, reports Newsweek.
“As for trying to rule the world, we know very well where the headquarters are of who are trying to do just that, and they are not in Moscow. Why is that?” Putin said.
“This is due to the leading role of the USA in the world economy. Due to their expenditure on defense. More than $700 billion is spent by the U.S. compared to our $46 billion.”
“NATO countries have 600 million people, and Russia only has 140 million. Do you really think it is our goal to rule the world? No, this is just a mentality imposed by some to achieve some internal goals.”
“Inside the NATO bloc, they want to make NATO countries unite and to do that, an external threat is required, otherwise this unanimity won’t be achieved. Russia is a good candidate for that because it is one of the biggest nuclear powers… In Eastern Europe, Russophobia is thriving.”
“The true goal of our foreign policy is to secure a beneficial environment for the development of Russia,” Putin said.