Moscow: Russian strongman Vladimir Putin
believes that he risked his political career due to crucial
decisions taken by him in the course of eight years of
presidency and the premiership, including those relating to
In what is seen here as the start of his campaign for
the top Kremlin job, Putin today said his decision to rebuff
the attack of Islamist militants from Chechnya (when he was
appointed Prime Minister by former President Boris Yeltsin in
1999) could have cost him further political career.
Then de facto independent Chechnya`s territory
militants of notorious warlord Shamil Basayev and Saudi-born
Ibn Al-Khattab attacked neighbouring Dagestan in
August-September 1999. Hundreds of people were killed in the
subsequent fighting, a precursor to the second Chechen war.
Talking to workers in a televised meeting at the
country`s giant Magnitogorsk Steel Plant, Putin said,
"Although the risk was high, the people of the country were
fatigued by the war in Chechnya and nobody wanted to listen of
a new military action, but it was justified."
"I had to make a decision. I thought: That`s it, my
career is over," Putin said and added, "Had I not taken that
resolute and tough action, the country would have fallen
In reference to his military campaign, which restored
the federal rule over the breakaway Chechnya, Putin said he
acted in accordance with the country`s national interests,
with no consideration of political expediency.
Putin, who is likely to seek a fresh term in the
Kremlin at March 2012 polls also told the young steel workers
that "integrity" was the main criterion for the head of state.
"Integrity - integrity in everything, a person who
can`t keep his word must not even be allowed to head any team,
let alone the country," he underscored.