View settings

Font size:
Site colours:


Official website of the President of Russia

News   /

Acting President and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gave an interview to the ORT television channel

January 15, 2000

Talking to journalists from the main national television channel, Acting President Vladimir Putin described the situation in the North Caucasus.

At present, a counter-terrorist operation is being conducted in the Chechen Republic in line with the federal legislation and the presidential decree on combating terrorism; the defence minister-led operational headquarters is in charge of this operation, Mr Putin explained.

Russian citizens have become tired of the government’s failure to take a direct approach and show responsibility, and want order in Russia, including in the North Caucasus.

In early 2000, the militants made attempts to attack the villages of Shali and Argun in Chechnya. Mr Putin commented on the high professionalism of the Russian military, which allowed them to resolutely rebuff all terrorist attacks. There were losses among them, Mr Putin added.

Assessing the current situation in the region, Mr Putin emphasized that the militants’ attacks on the Chechen villages had not changed and would not change the situation.

Russia considers Chechen civilians to be its citizens and will never sacrifice them to any military objectives, Mr Putin said. He added that the duration of the counter-terrorist operation would be determined by military expediency. “Our actions will be tough but not cruel … we will gain complete control of Grozny… we will complete our operations in the mountains, no matter who might be hiding there in the caves…”

Mr Putin said that there were no plans of a reshuffle among the commanders of the United Group of Forces (UGF) in the North Caucasus. The acting president praised the contribution of UGF commanders Vladimir Shamanov and Gennady Troshev to the success of the counter-terrorist operation, adding that Russia would not dump such generals.

In an interview with the ORT, Mr Putin described the socio-political situation in the country on the eve of the presidential elections. He urged all candidates to conduct their campaigns honestly: “… the election campaign without a smear means… that we shouldn’t fan up tensions in society. We must react to real violations of the law on a daily basis, not during the election campaign… This is the duty of law-enforcement agencies.” He added that violations of the law should become public knowledge, but that this should not be timed to election campaigns.

Mr Putin emphasized that the use of biased information in the election campaign was absolutely impermissible: “… if we… start with hearsay and tell our conclusions to a multi-million audience, we will be involved in foul play. Before telling our potential voters and TV audiences anything, we must verify this information and only quote authentic facts.”

Mr Putin said that he was not indifferent to what the future State Duma would be like. He emphasized that the correlation of major seats in the lower house of parliament must reflect the real alignment of political forces and attitudes in society. In his opinion, if a number of voters gave support to a parliamentary party, it had the right to be represented in the Duma accordingly, and influence the law-making in parliament.

When asked about his meetings with the heads of the movements that have been elected to the State Duma, Mr Putin said these consultations had been very general, and that he did not and could not dictate anything to them.

January 15, 2000