Former Russian Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he no longer recognizes Putin

He was the first Prime Minister of Vladimir Putin’s government. But even in his worst nightmares, Mikhail Kasyanov says he could not imagine his former political boss ordering a military invasion of Ukraine.

“The Putin I knew was different,” Kasyanov said in a rare video interview with Agence France-Presse.

Prime Minister from 2000 to 2004, before joining the opposition, Kasyanov estimated that the war in Ukraine could last up to two years. Nevertheless, he said he always firmly believed that one day Russia would take the “democratic path” again.

Putin, a 64-year-old former prime minister who had worked for rapprochement between Moscow and the West, said he did not believe, like many other Russians, that war would break out.

He added that he finally understood what was coming three days before the invasion, when Putin convened and chaired a thoroughly choreographed meeting of Russia’s National Security Council, which was televised.

“When I attended this meeting (…) I realized that yes, we will have a war,” he said.

“I know all these people and when I saw them, I saw that Putin was not himself. Not at the medical level. “In politics,” he added.

Kasyanov, who was ousted in 2004, joined the opposition and became one of the Kremlin’s most vocal critics. Today, he is the leader of the Party for the Freedom of the People, a small liberal faction.

According to his former prime minister, Putin, a 69-year-old former KGB agent, set up a system based on impunity and fear after taking power in 2000.

“These are the achievements of a system which, with the encouragement of Putin as head of state, began to function in an even more cynical and inhumane way than in the later stages of the Soviet Union,” he said.

“Deep down, this is a system reminiscent of the KGB, based on complete impunity”: it is clear that the people of the system “do not expect to be punished” for anything at all, he insisted.

Kasyanov said he had left Russia because of his opposition to the Russian military’s attack on Ukraine. He declined to say what country he was in, citing security concerns.

Baris Nemtsov, a critic of Putin with whom Kasyanov had relations, was assassinated near the Kremlin in 2015. Alexei Navalny is in prison after surviving his 2020 poisoning.

“If Ukraine falls, the Baltic states will be next on the list,” he said.

He added that he was “categorically” opposed to the idea that Vladimir Putin should not be humiliated and opposed calls for Ukraine to accept part of its territory in exchange for peace.

“What has Putin done to deserve this?” he wondered. “It’s a very pragmatic position. “I think it is wrong and I hope that the West will not follow this path.”

Referring to the post-Vladimir Putin era, Mikhail Kasyanov predicted that his successor would be under the command of the secret services, but he would not be able to control the system for long and it would not be possible to hold democratic elections.

Nevertheless, “I am sure that Russia will return to the path of building a democratic state” one day, he said, estimating that it would take a decade for the “decommunization” and “depopulation” of the country.

“It will be very difficult after this criminal war in Ukraine,” he warned.

For Kasyanov, one of the top priorities will be to restore confidence in European countries, which he describes as “natural partners” of Moscow.

Although the Russian opposition is often described as too divided to defeat Putin, the former prime minister has said he believes the war in Ukraine has changed that.

“After the tragedy we are witnessing, the opposition will unite. “I have no doubt about that,” he said, stressing at the same time the size of the task ahead of her, in his view.

“Everything has to be rebuilt from scratch. “The cycle of economic and social reforms must begin again.” “These are challenges that are both huge and difficult, but they must be addressed,” he said.

Source: KYPE

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