Gallup Poll: A Majority Of Americans Turn Negative Toward Russia

Russia wants to consolidate strategic ties with India: Medvedev

The former KGB spy also defended tough laws he has signed since returning to the Kremlin in May 2012 after four years as prime minister, including legislation critics say in effect bans gays from publicly expressing their sexual orientation. Putin made his comments to an audience of Russia experts that also included a number of opposition leaders who took part in protests against his rule last year, demonstrations that have dwindled since the president took a firm line against dissent. The opposition leaders hailed their inclusion as a sign that Putin may be open to dialogue after months of repressive tactics, but said it may also reflect divisions between relative liberals and hawks in Putin’s inner circle. “There are towers aimed at … group repression and there are those that understand that this is a dead-end path.” Alexei Navalny, whose strong showing in an election for Moscow mayor this month revived the flagging protest movement, snubbed the Kremlin’s invitation. He has a five-year sentence for theft hanging over him that he says was politically motivated by the Kremlin. Opponents put questions to Putin Other Kremlin opponents at the annual meeting of the Valdai Group, which is dominated by foreign experts on Russia, put questions to Putin. Some criticized him, particularly over the anti-gay propaganda law he defended at the conference. They regard it as one of a series of repressive measures introduced by Putin to clamp down on dissent and shore up support among a traditional voter base since facing protests. “We see how many countries of the Euro-Atlantic alliance have denied their roots, including Christian values,” he said. “This model is aggressively trying to be imposed all over the world and I am convinced this is a direct path to degradation and …

Obama gets cold shoulder from Putin, but will seek backing elsewhere

Only 19% of the 1,010 adults surveyed rated Putin favorably, while 54% said they don’t like what they see. The survey reported a plus-or-minus 4% margin for error. Respondents were questioned Sunday and Monday, the report said, shortly after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry drafted a plan to secure Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles under international control for eventual destruction. Despite the general decline in Americans’ esteem for Russia and Putin suggested by the survey, a strong majority supported the U.S.-Russian collaboration on the Syrian chemical weapons disposal plan, with 72% approving and 18% opposed. The plan drawn up by Lavrov and Kerry has at least temporarily put the brakes on threatened U.S. airstrikes that Washington and its allies had sought to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad , suspected of being behind the chemical weapons attacks on Damascus suburbs on Aug. 21. U.S. officials said more than 1,400 Syrians, including 400-plus children, died in the attack that a U.N. inspection team on Monday said exposed the victims to asphyxiating sarin gas.

Russia’s Putin says could seek re-election in 2018

The former KGB spy also defended tough laws he has signed since returning to the Kremlin in May 2012 after four years as prime minister, including legislation critics say in effect bans gays from publicly expressing their sexual orientation. Asked at a conference whether he might seek a new term as president when his six-year mandate expires in 2018, Putin said: “I do not rule it out.” Asked by Reuters for clarification, he later said: “It’s only 2013 today, there are another five years ahead of us.” Putin, 60, has been in power since 2000 and a fourth term would keep him there until 2024 – longer than Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev’s 18-year stay but still short of Josef Stalin’s three-decade dictatorship. Putin made his comments to an audience of Russia experts that also included a number of opposition leaders who took part in protests against his rule last year, demonstrations that have dwindled since the president took a firm line against dissent. The opposition leaders hailed their inclusion as a sign that Putin may be open to dialogue after months of repressive tactics, but said it may also reflect divisions between relative liberals and hawks in Putin’s inner circle. “The Kremlin has different towers,” said protest leader Gennady Gudkov. “There are towers aimed at … group repression and there are those that understand that this is a dead-end path.” Alexei Navalny, whose strong showing in an election for Moscow mayor this month revived the flagging protest movement, snubbed the Kremlin’s invitation. He has a five-year sentence for theft hanging over him that he says was politically motivated by the Kremlin. OPPONENTS PUT QUESTIONS TO PUTIN Other Kremlin opponents at the annual meeting of the Valdai Group, which is dominated by foreign experts on Russia, put questions to Putin. Some criticised him, particularly over the anti-gay propaganda law he defended at the conference. They regard it as one of a series of repressive measures introduced by Putin to clamp down on dissent and shore up support among a traditional voter base since facing protests.

Noting that Russia has very “purposeful” relationship with India, he said, “we would like to advance this relationship in various fields including by having technical cooperation.” “We have done in the past and would continue to do so,” Medvedev said, adding, “We are interested in further developing and consolidating our strategic partnership with India.” According to an earlier plan, KNPP-I was supposed to go on stream by the end of August, but missed the target due to a technical snag. The Unit-I had achieved criticality on July 13. The second unit is expected to go on stream by June next year. KNPP Units one and two are VVER-1000 type reactors being set up with technical cooperation from Russia. Kudankulam is a 2,000 MW project comprising the two units each of which will generate 1,000 MW power. There is a plan to set up four more units of 1,000 MW each. Once those are ready, the Kudankulam plant will have six reactors in all. For commissioning the third and fourth units, talks between the governments of India and Russia are in an advanced stage. Besides Indo-Russian relations, Medvedev also spoke about the situation in Syria, Russia’s ties with Commonwealth of Independent States(CIS) and countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Medvedev described the situation in Syria as “very complicated” and said it should be allowed to find out a peaceful solution to the crisis on its own. “External interference is not acceptable. We will never support it,” he said in an apparent reference to US moves to carry out strikes in Syria. At the same time, the Prime Minister said use of chemical weapons by any one is not acceptable. “Use of chemical weapons by anyone is not acceptable and should be considered as an international crime, he said, adding, “allegations against the Bashir Assad regime should be properly investigated.” Russia has led the opposition against any strikes on Syria by the US or its allies over the August 21 chemical attack near Damascus that Washington blames on government forces and says killed more than 1,400 people. Pushed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the White House has agreed to hold fire while Russia and the international community–with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s agreement–draws up a disarmament plan.