Mr Putin defended his authoritarian style, making clear that he thought a strong president was essential for many years to come as the country had not developed strong enough political parties for a Western-style democracy. Otherwise, he said, there would be chaos. Even in Germany, the system could misfire, as it did after the last election, and the Czech Republic, he said, had been without a government for months.
The man actually knows what he's about. He's not some Slavic Voldemort.
Mr Putin said that, after he had stepped down, he would not disappear or take up residence in another country. He loved his country and felt rooted to it. But he all but ruled out any return to power for himself in 2012. “In 2012 I hope to find a place where I will be comfortable instead of reading in the Western press nasty things about becoming the new president.”
In a three-hour meeting, the fourth he has held with the same group of Western academics and journalists, Mr Putin demonstrated an extraordinary grasp of detail and statistics and ranged across domestic policy, Iraq, Afghanistan, investment policy, macroeconomics and the future of the various political factions in the Duma.--The Times
Remember diplomacy, fellows?