Saturday, October 28, 2006

Vladimir Putin Speaks... Russian citizens, in his 3-hour annual call-in show on October 25th. Among his interesting comments were these:
SERGEI BRILYOV: Yulia, please, more questions from the phone centre.

YULIA PANKRATOVA: We have a caller from Moscow. Hello, hello!

TATIANA INGAIAN: Hello, good afternoon! I am Tatiana Ingaian.

Mr President! Harassment or sexual harassment and violence against women exists in many countries and is also a serious problem in Russia. Sometimes certain facts about sexual violence and harassment become known, such as in the case of the Israeli President. You recently spoke about this but, unfortunately, I did not quite understand your position on this problem. In your opinion, is it necessary to fight this ugly phenomenon, violence against women? What do you think about this? Thank you.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Violence should always be punished, any kind of violence – concerning women, concerning men and especially concerning children. It is always criminal law that regulates these serious crimes.

With regards to women, their rights require special protection. Incidentally, in connection with resolving the demographic problem we emphasised that we must elevate women’s social status – I already said that today. Of course it is absolutely inadmissible to use a position of dependency to force a woman into sexual relations, excuse me, or other things (and we do not need to be uncomfortable here, we must talk about things directly as they are).

With regards to what happened in Israel, then this is a special case. Ten women have declared that the President raped them and just recently corruption charges were brought against the Prime Minister. With what is that connected? In my opinion, it is connected with the fact – and many experts will agree with me – that a significant part of Israeli society is unhappy with the way their leaders handled the conflict with Lebanon. Many people consider that what happened amounts to a defeat and they immediately started to attack President, the Prime Minister, and the head of the General Staff. In my opinion, using instruments such as protecting women’s rights to resolve political issues that are unconnected with this problem is absolutely inadmissible. And this is because it actually discredits the struggle for women’s rights, an important task in and of itself.

And with regards to the event that you just mentioned, it is true that I did address this issue when the Israeli Prime Minister was here as my guest. However, journalists had already left the room and heard in passing something that was said there. Then they started to discuss it. To prevent any further discussions I have just now openly stated my position to you. With respect to the media representatives I can say that when I worked for a completely different organisation at the time we joked that: they are sent to spy but they eavesdrop. Not so nice a behavior.
You can read the full transcript here..