Broadcast on the multi-language, Moscow-based RT TV and televised around the world, Putin's first full-length interview since his May inauguration covered a variety of topics and offered his short comments on issues that have put Russian in international headlines, the news service RIA Novosti said.
He justified what critics claim is a clampdown on dissent as "a simple requirement that everyone, including the opposition, complies with Russian law" and denied involvement in the "punk prayer" case against members of the jailed musical group Pussy Riot, reaffirming his belief the group's performance offended Russian sensibilities.
Putin also warned that Western support for Syrian anti-regime fighters could backfire, saying, "Some want to use militants from al-Qaida or some other organizations with equally radical views to accomplish their goals in Syria. This policy is very short-sighted and is fraught with dire consequences."
Throughout the interview Putin appeared to display an image of a cool and confident leader with a comment about every topic brought up, the news agency said.
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