Putin: That Trump Guy Is 'Talented'
He weighs in on US race and other topics in his year-end news conference
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2015 10:45 AM CST
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

(Newser) – Vladimir Putin held forth for about three hours Thursday in his annual end-of-year news conference, and, as usual, he made headlines for venturing into topics large and small. Some examples:

  • On Donald Trump: "He is a bright personality, a talented person, no doubt about it," he said, per NBC News. Though he praised Trump for seeking a "closer, deeper" relationship with Russia, this wasn't exactly an endorsement: "It is not up to us to appraise his positive sides, it is up to the US voters. But, as we can see, he is an absolute leader in the presidential race."

  • His daughters: Putin rarely speaks of his family, but he talked about daughters Maria and Katerina. "They are taking the first steps in their careers, but are making good progress," he said, as quoted by Reuters. "They are not involved in business or politics" and shun the spotlight, he said. "I am proud of them. ... My daughters speak three European languages fluently."
  • Turkey did what? He clearly hasn't forgiven Turkey for shooting down a Russian military jet, using Putinesque language to suggest the Turks were currying favor with the US. "If someone in the Turkish government decided to lick the Americans in a certain place, well, I don't know then, was that the right decision or not?" he asked, per the Telegraph.
  • His Nobel choice: The rest of the world may think suspended FIFA chief Sepp Blatter is a crook, but Putin said Blatter should win the Nobel Peace Prize, reports the BBC.
  • On Syria: He's not budging in his support of Bashar al-Assad. But, as Newsweek reports, he seemed to soften his approach to working with the US: "In the attempts of regulating a conflict that has gone on for many years now, a compromise is always possible, but concessions must be made on both sides."
  • Real agenda: Despite the "swagger and salty language," Putin's main point of the day seemed to be trying to convince Russians themselves that the economy had bottomed out and was poised for recovery, reports the New York Times.