Putin Slaps West, Denies New Elections
Also says McCain 'nuts', protesters wearing condoms
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2011 7:00 AM CST
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin drinks tea during a national call-in TV show in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011.   (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, pool)
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(Newser) – Protesters be damned, Vladimir Putin outright rejected calls for new elections today in a marathon appearance on a call-in show. Instead, notes the AP, he continued to place the blame for the widespread protests on the West's "well-organized pattern of destabilizing society," adding that they "still fear our nuclear potential," and that Russia's "independent foreign policy" is "an impediment for some." Putin's characteristically bellicose appearance carried a number of gems, and could spark some backlash:

  • On John McCain's tweet that 'the Arab Spring is coming to a neighborhood near you': "He has the blood of peaceful civilians on his hands, and he can't live without the kind of disgusting, repulsive scenes like the killing of Gadhafi. Mr. McCain was captured and they kept him not just in prison, but in a pit for several years. Anyone (in his place) would go nuts."

  • On the protest movement: It is "absolutely normal as long as everyone acts within the framework of the law. I saw ... mostly young people, active and with positions that they expressed clearly. This makes me happy, and if that is the result of the Putin regime, that's good—there's nothing bad about it."
  • On the protesters' white ribbons (via the New York Times): “I have to say honestly, when I saw on television several people wearing these things on their chests, I know it’s indecent, but anyway, I thought it was some kind of propaganda in the fight against AIDS, as if they put a condom there, and tied it for some reason."
  • On March 4 presidential elections: "Let (web cameras) be there next to every ballot box to avoid any falsifications."
Click for Gawker's take on Putin's "ridiculous" plastic surgery.