This week, Russia is hosting the St. Petersburg Economic Form, in which local leaders, like Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are showing up to discuss their deal for a new nuclear energy plant and Putin took the opportunity to share his views about US politics:
“I have already spoken to three US Presidents. They come and go but [US] politics stay the same. Do you know why? Because of the powerful bureaucracy. When a person is elected, they may have some ideas. Then people with briefcases arrive, well-dressed, wearing dark suits, just like mine, except for the red tie, since they wear black or dark blue ones.
“These people start explaining how things are done. And instantly, everything changes. This is what happens with every administration.
“Changing things is not easy, and I say this without any irony. It is not that someone does not want to, but because it is a hard thing to do.
“Take Obama, a forward-thinking man, a Liberal, a Democrat. Did he not pledge to shut down Guantánamo before his election? But did he do it? No, he did not. And may I ask why not? Did he not want to do it? He wanted to, I am sure he did, but it did not work out. He sincerely wanted to do it, but did not succeed, since it turned out to be very complicated.
“This is not the main issue, however, even though it is important, since it is hard to fathom that people have been walking there, in chains for decades without trial or investigation.
“Can you imagine France or Russia acting this way? This would have been a disaster. But it is possible in the United States and continues to this day.
“I referred to this example just to show that it is not as simple as it may seem.
“That said, I am cautiously optimistic, and I think that we can and should be able to reach agreements on key issues.”