Putin defends record, says 'no major mistakes'



Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had committed no significant errors during his years as the country's leader.

"Whoever of us is without sin, or whoever of you is without sin, let them cast the first stone at me," Putin said, in one of two Biblical references during his over four-hour media conference.

"There have probably been mistakes. (But) I do not see any major, systemic errors," Putin said.

He admitted minor mistakes were made during the 2008 global financial crisis, in particular regarding state guarantees, which were intended to tackle the economic downturn.

"We did some things at the wrong time. Especially during the crisis. Some decisions that we took did not work as effectively as we thought and hoped they would."

He hailed, however, what he called Russia's successful emergence from the crisis.

"In Europe, they have a recession, but we have an upswing, albeit modest," he went on.

"The situation looks a lot better for us than in the once prosperous Eurozone, or even in the states."

Putin first came to power in Russia in 2000. He stepped down as President in favour of his hand-picked successor Dmitry Medvedev in 2008 in accordance with a constitutional ban on serving more than two successive terms.

He returned to the Kremlin amid protests this May after serving as prime minister for four years. But many observers held that Putin remained the most powerful politician in the country throughout Medvedev's tenure.

IANS