Posted On November 1, 2016 By In World And 194 Views

Russia’s Not Playing Favorites but Trump Does Speak for the People, Putin Says

MOSCOW—President Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin has no preference in the U.S. presidential elections but Republican candidate Donald Trump does reflect the needs of average people “who don’t like that power is being transferred by inheritance.” Mr. Trump “is, of course, extravagant,” Mr. Putin said during a televised conference in the southern city of Sochi. “He simply represents the interests of simple people who criticize those who have been in power for decades.” Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign has suggested that Russia is backing Mr. Trump, citing the hacking and leaking of emails from the Democratic National Committee, hacking that U.S. security officials blame on Russia. Mr. Putin said that Russia’s support for Mr. Trump had been invented by Western media, and that it was part of a “political battle, an attempt to manipulate public opinion on the eve of elections.” He said the Kremlin would welcome any candidate who expressed a desire for improved relations with Moscow. MOSCOW—President Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin has no preference in the U.S. presidential elections but Republican candidate Donald Trump does reflect the needs of average people “who don’t like that power is being transferred by inheritance.” Mr. Trump “is, of course, extravagant,” Mr. Putin said during a televised conference in the southern city of Sochi. “He simply represents the interests of simple people who criticize those who have been in power for decades.” Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign has suggested that Russia is backing Mr. Trump, citing the hacking and leaking of emails from the Democratic National Committee, hacking that U.S. security officials blame on Russia. Mr. Putin said that Russia’s support for Mr. Trump had been invented by Western media, and that it was part of a “political battle, an attempt to manipulate public opinion on the eve of elections.” He said the Kremlin would welcome any candidate who expressed a desire for improved relations with Moscow. He dismissed the idea that Moscow could have some impact on the U.S. elections. “Does anybody seriously think that Russia could somehow influence the choice of the American people?” he said. “Is it a banana republic or something? America is a great power.” Earlier this month, U.S. intelligence agencies directly accused the Russian government of trying to interfere in the elections by leaking emails from the Democratic National Committee and other entities. Mr. Putin criticized the U.S. election campaign, saying that political issues had been “watered down.” “Elections have stopped being an instrument of change, and have been reduced to scandals, to mudslinging, to questions of who pinched whom and who is sleeping with whom,” he said. The Russian leader also criticized the West for propagating what he called the “fictional, mythical” military threat Moscow poses to the rest of the world. “It’s truly a profitable activity. This way they can push through new military budgets in their countries, they can bend allies to the interests of one superpower, they can expand NATO and move its infrastructure, troops, and equipment closer to our borders,” he said.

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