At the end of every year, Russian president Vladimir Putin holds a lengthy and wide-ranging news conference and this event was held yesterday. He was asked questions about all the troubles that Donald Trump was facing and Theresa May’s problems with Brexit. Instead of diplomatically replying that those were matters for the people of those nations to deal with, Putin seemed to relish the opportunity to fan the flames by giving gratuitous advice as well as a mini-lecture on what real democracy should be like.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has accused the UK and US political classes of “disrespecting” the public by questioning the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election.
“They don’t want to recognise [President Trump’s] victory. That’s disrespect of voters,” Mr Putin said.
“It’s the same in Britain: Brexit happened, but nobody wants to implement it.”
The president’s comments came at his year-end press conference in Moscow.
Russia’s leader also said British Prime Minister Theresa May has no choice but to follow through with Brexit, as failing to do so would undermine UK democracy.
“She must enact the will of the people, expressed during the referendum,” he said. “Or otherwise it is not a referendum at all: doing it over and over again if someone did not like it [the result]. Is it a democracy?”
Probably the last thing the embattled May needs at this point is to be told by Putin what she should do. And the last thing that Trump needs, facing so many charges of being in the thrall of Putin, it is to have Putin publicly express support for him, though Trump being the narcissist he is, likely sees any support from any quarter as welcome.
I think that Putin, constantly at the receiving end of advice and criticism in the US and Europe, is enjoying dishing it out in return.