theresa may, says that president trump was wrong to re—tweet material from a british far—right group. but she stressed the "special relationship" between britain and the us was "in both our nations' interests" and should continue. the white house has insisted that rex tillerson remains the us secretary of state, despite rumours that he was being replaced. media reports suggested president trump was considering appointing the current cia director, mike pompeo, in his place. the argentine navy has given up attempts to save the 44 crew members of a submarine that went missing in the south atlantic. a spokesman said an international rescue operation, involving four—thousand people, had now officially ended but a smaller—scale search for the wreck would continue. now on bbc news, hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk.
i'm stephen sackur. is there a single russian who doesn't expect vladimir putin to contest next spring's presidential election and win it easily? mr putin has yet to declare his intentions, but his desire to prolong his dominance of russia is surely not in doubt. less certain is whether the president will face a credible opponent. my guest has declared her intention to run. ksenia sobchak has one big advantage — almost universal name recognition thanks to her tv career but is her candidacy anything more than a fig leaf for the kremlin? ksenia sobchak, welcome to hardtalk.
thank you. you have a very big ambition. so what do you think it takes? what are the qualities, the assets needed to be president of russia? first of all, in modern russia, the quality which is needed to challenge putin and to challenge him for a change is to be brave, because elections in russia now are not elections in belgium. it is not like trying to become a prime minister in not very big european country. here, when you come into politics, you can face very big problems and there were already raids in my home, i was... ..all my work was finished after i said about my political views, years ago, and my life really changed
dramatically six years ago, when i first went out on the streets to say what i think about the system. now, when i'm taking this challenge, i recognise all the risks that come with it and that the situation can be harsh for me. bravery — that seems important to you and i understand why and i want to talk to you about exactly what you have experienced in the years since you decided to join the activist opposition but i am surprised you do not use any words like "experience", or "knowledge", or sort of an encounter in the past with managing something significant. i mean, you are a woman in your 30s, you have no experience that could possibly be relevant to becoming president of russia. yeah, that's why i did not mention experience, because now in russian politics, to be brave, to be persistent, are the main qualities.
i am not a politician, i am a person, a journalist who knows that the situation in my country is unjust and i would love that in my country would be fair elections where everyone, people with big experiences, with different kind of political views, could take part and debate and i could come back home and do myjob. no, the situation is not like this. there are not so many people really willing to take this challenge so i think it is my responsibility to be brave, to be persistent and to try to change. around me, there are are a lot of experts, a lot of people with big knowledge of economy, of politics, of institutions of russia, who are part of my team and they are helping me rally a lot to form a big programme
and to be together. the thing is, usually, with politicians, or wannabe politicians, who came into the hardtalk studio, i am testing their resolve and their ability to do the job they're trying to do. you don't even seem to believe yourself that you have what it takes to do the job, because when you were launching your own campaign, last month, you said, "i have no political weight, i haven't earned the right to launch some kind of political programme or truly to stand as a candidate." you don't even believe the stuff yourself. no, stephen, that's not like this. i would say, again, that i think the most important thing in russia is now to change the system, and this is the most important part of this programme. of course, i will form a big programme and i'm doing it right now, with lots of experts on economy on different kinds of things but i want to stress one thing, this is not that important now because we can list all the programmes in the world — and they were listed — but they never managed to come to life because the system itself is so that
any programme you offer, it is always rejected so what is the point of being hypocritical on this. well, iam... let's say the truth, that the main thing is to change the system... but the point is, there needs to be a credible agent of change and i would say that, to many people, you are not a credible agent of change. i mean, if we look at your record — you were a reality tv star, you were the star of a show called blonde in chocolate... it was 15 years ago, stephen. well, yes, i'm looking at your record. you also hosted the reality show, dom—2, which is sort of the big brother of russia... yes, and i was also the first journalist of the world, even before cnn, who took an interview of mikhail khodorkovsky, who went out ofjail. i was the first to interview... you have had several big interviews, you've also sold a fragrance — how to marry a billionaire... it was 15 years ago, stephen. i would suggest to you that, overall, your track record is not that of somebody who is serious about becoming president of russia.
you know, in russia, we have a very good film — i recommend it to watch it, to you — it is called baron munchausen, and in the end, the hero of the movie says, the most awful things in this world were done with the most serious face so people first laugh at you but then they fight with you, but then you win. as you know, the saying. so i am not afraid of being ridiculed in someone‘s eyes. i know i am not ridiculous. i know that i have done a hugejob and i've done it for many... what huge job was that? for six years, i am working on the only independent tv channel, called tv rain, i make a lot of journalist report works, i have done a lot of interviews. i helped alexei navalny with some... we will get with navalny injust a moment. it's important to get to alexei navalny because his views on the your candidacy are important, but before we get there, you said to me, look, stephen, don'tjudge mejust
on my experience..." let me finish, please... the point is this is a question and answer, and my question is this, you said judge me on the people i around me and who i've hired. one person you hired to run your campaign was mr sitnikov — alexey sitnikov. two weeks after you hired him, he left the campaign, saying he couldn't take it anymore, it was chaos, it was as if the whole thing had been designed on the back of a cigarette packet. still, i want to answer the question about my profession, because this is important to me. the things you mentioned happened in my life 15 ears ago, that is a huge time. for this time, people already come away from prison and begin new life. so six years ago, i started my career as a journalist and i really did a lot of sensational work, not only in terms of russia but in terms of international journalistic work so i think this itself gives me the right to present myself in a different way... well, interesting you say that...
and a lot of people... i'm a journalist too, i have been a journalist for 30 years, i'm not sure that qualifies me to be prime minister of the uk but nonetheless, just address the point... but when you say about the support, when i came to the campaign i had zero people who really believed in what i do. now, when we have sociology, it is already io%. it's more than on the last elections mikhail prokhorov had at the end. 10% after one month of my campaign is rally a lot... it depends what poll you look at. another poll has you at i% and another poll has your disapproval... no, it's the biggest poll of sociology, it's called vtsciom, you can check the numbers it gives io%... ..i% with 9% saying they might support you, but it also suggests that more than 60% disapprove of you and only 20% approve. i mean, your negatives are very, very high. can you even understand, stephen, what is 20% out of 95% of people knowing me? it is a huge number. it actually could be the second place on those elections. it could even be the first place
if people really believed they can change the situation. so 20% is really a lot. alright, your campaign manager of two weeks quit saying that it felt like the whole campaign had been written on the bac kof a cigarette packet. this is what alexei navalny, who is the leading anti—putin, anti—corruption campaigner in the country — a man i've interviewed on hardtalk — this is what he said when he first learned that you were going to be a candidate. he said, "this is a loathsome kremlin game..." no, i'm sorry, being a journalist, you are not right, you're telling a non—truth. he said it before i went to the election... yes, when your name was put forward as somebody who might run... no, no, no, that's not true... well, forgive me but... that was two weeks before i put my name. he said, "this game is called let's put a liberal laughing stock up for election..." it was two weeks before i put my candidacy... that's what i'm saying, when your name was mooted, he said, "it's called putting a liberal laughing stock up
for election in order to distract attention." navalny sees you as someone fundamentally unserious, who's been used... not now. i wouldn't use the present form because, after i put my name and said i will take part in the elections, i have not heard anything critical off navalny‘s lips. so you can check this information. this saying was before i went to sign my name... are you suggesting to me that mr navalny is supporting your campaign? i hope that he will be wise enough, if i will be registered, to support me, because unfortunately — and this situation is very unfair, he won't be registered by unlawful laws that are made against him so, if we are fighting for the same goal, and i think we are fighting for the same goal with alexei navalny, i offered him this option to be, you know, the person who just opens the door. i am the one who will be registered and i hope, together with him, we can fight for that best future of russia. at one point you said that
if navalny is allowed to run — and of course, the election authorities and the election committee have suggested that because of a previous conviction, he cannot run — you have said... yes, but this is totally unlawful not to make him registrate... your position still stands that, if the electoral committee changes its mind and alexei navalny is allowed to run, you will immediately back down? of course, i confirm it because i think that navalny has much more political weight than i do right now. i really respect his work. i think he is a hero in many ways so, if this opportunity for him will be opened, of course, i think we should all unite behind one leader and he is a good figure for this... if you respect his opinion so much, why do you think he is not prepared to help you gather the signatures you need... if not... i did not finish. but if he is not registered, i don't think it's a good option to stay at home, you know? mr navalny disagrees. he said he will not help you gather the signatures you need to register as a candidate and he said it
would actually be better to boycott this charade of an election than have you as the chief opposition candidate. i have not heard navalny saying, this, so i don't know where you took this, but anyway, i do not think and i do not think it is a good idea to have a boycott because sitting at home, no country has ever changed. it's interesting that dmitry peskov, the chief spokesman for mr putin actually welcomed — as soon as you declared you were going to be a candidate — he welcomed it and said you seemed eminently qualified. of course, this is what they are doing every day, they're trying to hug me to death, they're trying to say to people that she is kremlin‘s candidate and things like this. this is their dirty game. they played this dirty game and, if you know what they did yesterday, i will tell you what they did yesterday, boris titov, who was part of the presidential administration, goes to this elections as a candidate,
saying that he goes against putin but it is laughable. he goes against me. he's my spoiler. so this is a dirty game they play. from one side they say "we want her to be part of us" — i do not want to be part of them. they are trying to hug me so tight in their arms. from the other part, they send a spoiler to my campaign, a person who worked in the administration of the president and now he's against him, this is laughable. let's test this proposition that you truly, truly are an opponent committed to bringing putin down. navalny, talking about you, said, "the difference is putin has not helped my family," clearly pointing to the fact that putin was the protege of your own father. you knew him throughout your life, he was a friend of the family... i am sorry to disappoint you, to disappoint navalny, but it is better to say that putin was a protege of my father. i father was a mayor of st petersburg... when putin was a junior official... yes, but navalny says no one helped my father whatsoever. it is my father who helped putin to work with him, and putin was one of
the people he worked with. but i was 10 years old at this time. why have you always avoided saying putin himself was deeply corrupt — as navalny puts it, the father of russian corruption? you have never attacked putin personally. when boris nemtsov was assassinated, and many critics of putin said putin was behind it, you said, absolutely not, that is not what vladimir putin would do. why do you defend him in this way? i'm not defending him. i'm just telling the truth, even if it's politically not suitable. i really think putin didn't sent anyone to kill nemtsov. i know it's beyond what he would decide. nemtsov was not an enemy.
how do you know that? i'm just totally sure of the principles on which i stand. he would never do it like this. at the beginning of this interview, you told me you've had raids, that you've been intimidated, that you have to be brave to be a politician in russia today. but to kill someone with chechens near the kremlin is something to do by subversion against not only their position, but also against putin, because, you know, this situation would be a really harsh situation for putin himself. look, someone in the opposition is killed on the streets right near the kremlin. and nemtsov, i respect him very much, and consider him to be my friend, but he was not a political figure with a lot of weight at that moment, and this is also true. so there was no sense of killing him, because he was not a threat to putin at that moment. so, on that level, you're saying that you don't believe putin has that in him.
but, on another level, having told me that you deeply respect mr navalny, and you regard him as the leader of the opposition... yes. ..would you echoe mr navalny‘s position that putin is himself the father of russian corruption, and that the people around mr putin are the most corrupt of all? would you agree with that? i say this a lot of times, and i would also mention that i personally make a lot of effort into some of the investigations of navalny. and you can speak with him, and he will confirm it to you. at least two of his investigations were done with my help. so of course i think the whole system is corrupt, and the whole — of course the system was built by putin. so you would like to see putin investigated and charged? but what i'm saying that i don't like — when people personally insult him, and navalny is also doing this. he was coming in the square and saying, look, he has botox in his face. this i detest. i don't like to speak personally bad about... but you are accusing mr putin of criminal corruption, aren't you?
i'm not saying the way he looks, or i don't call him with some words. forget about his looks. i'm interested in his criminal corruption. do you want to see vladimir putin put on trial? i want to see an independent trial of all the cases of corruption in russia. of course, yes. including mr putin? also, i have a very important goal which i have to reach, with navalny or without navalny. i want to build in russia a party after those elections. a strong party, with strong leadership, which for six next years can come to the next presidential elections with a really big result, in order to have evolution and not revolution of the system. it is not accusations harsh on a person. it is accusations with fact, which should be placed. this is what i think is very important. what did you really mean when you said this —
"a higher transfer of power, the likes of which mr navalny is advocating, is a dead end"? you say that your ideal transformation would be led by democratic politicians that mr putin can trust, like for example, former deputy pm alexei kudrin. you seem to be saying that actually you prefer putin in power, with some technocrats around him, and more liberal advisers. this is not what i meant. then you would want mr navalny, who you respect so much. ijust said, and i can say once again, that between evolution and revolution i would always choose evolution. and if this way would be done, by putin or by someone else, i think it's the best way for russia. the evolutionary way of liberalisation, the new perestroika. this is my main goal. i don't want another revolution on the streets,
because this will be blood, and we know how it ends up. but i'm continuing to wrestle with this simple idea of where you actually sit when it comes to vladimir putin in power. i don't sit with vladimir putin. well, correct some confusion for me. i sat with my father when i was ten years old. but, you know, children sometimes really revolt against the system created by someone close to their parents. that is quite logical. alright, well, clear up one other element of confusion for me, and this concerns russia's overseas policy, its foreign policy, and of course, in particular its policy in ukraine and crimea. now, in 2014, after the annexation, you tweeted, i am alone and proud — because you had picked up on some twitter comment criticising the annexation. you said, i am alone and proud in believing it was a brilliant political manoeuvre. yes, but i didn't say it about myself. a brilliant political manoeuvre. yes, but you're not
translating it the right way. i was answering someone about putin thinking something of crimea, and the idea, i still say it, that for putin, in his mind, that is a brilliant solution. and he thinks that this is the best historical thing he did for russia, and you'll see it in the elections. it will be the main thing of his campaign. "i made crimea come to russia." so, in his mind, this was a brilliant thing. not in mine. so, when you're saying you're proud to believe it was a brilliant and political manoeuvre, you're only looking at it from his point of view. of course. i see. well, frankly, you didn't choose to tweet your absolute condemnation of the annexation of crimea at the time, but you have done since. you now say crimea is ukrainian. i was this in the dialogue about putting myself into the shoes of putin, who would of course be proud of this. this is his main thing he is proud of. i see, i see. and this is how we stand.
we haven't time to go through all of your policies, on the economy, foreign policy, everything else. let's do it. well, we don't have time, but russia is in a really difficult place economically. there are still sanctions on the country. your growth rate is i% this year. you're very vulnerable to shifts in commodity prices. do you believe, going back to this question of experience, that you have the ability to turn russia around? i have an ability to create another system. and the system itself will create another economy, a free economy of trade, a free economy of innovations. the things that are needed is the changing of power. so a parliamentary republic — very strong government, instead of a very strong president. i think the most important thing for russia at this moment is to change presidential republic to parliamentary republic, because this will make those powers devolve between different centres in the government.
this is very important, and this is what i fight for. after this would be done i believe strongly that, to build an economy based on liberal principles, based on property not owned by government, but by business, and people who really work on it, will be a matter of not a really big time. if, come march of next year, you are the main quote—unquote opposition candidates, fighting vladimir putin... i am not "quote—unquote" — i am an opposition leader. ..and what happens is this, and it is the most likely scenario according to all the polls, that vladimir putin scores an overwhelming, huge victory, and the kremlin says, look, it was entirely legitimate, we had a real election, there was a choice. the choice was putin against sobchak, and putin won a very, very big mandate.
how will you feel about that? will you feel like a useful idiot? it will be legitimate, because your prime minister or the president of america would be the first ones to call and legitimate it for mr putin, by their congratulations. or maybe you have some doubts that your prime minister won't do it? so, in your own words, you will be very useful legitimating. .. it's not because of me taking part in those elections. because i fight for my people. i want them to be heard. i want mr putin to see how many people are against him in our country, because there are many people who are against his policy. ksenia sobchak, we have to end there, but thank you very much for being on hardtalk. thank you, thank you. hello.
some of us during thursday night experiencing more snow showers. but, actually, as we go into friday morning, with less cold air moving in, the showers will return back to sleet or rain as we go through the morning. but still, early on, do bear in mind where we have had the showers overnight, there will be icy patches around through eastern parts of scotland and northern england. and still a scattering of showers through eastern parts of england as we go through the day. mostly falling as rain, quite a stiff breeze still. showers through the west of wales are now clearing away and more of us will be dry and see some sunshine. there'll be good sunny spells around during the afternoon, and the temperatures
a little bit higher than they were during thursday. it's just not going to feel as cold or as wintry as it did. now, many places, of course, are dry, the best of the sunshine in england and wales. and increasing cloud in northern ireland, an area of cloud and patchy rain working southwards through scotland. and behind that, one or two showers following on behind, and snow on the highest ground. now, as we go on into friday evening, friday night, we will keep the cloud heading southwards across the uk, and that will mean temperatures are not dropping as low. there will still be a touch of frost in cold spots across the south in particular on friday night. but by saturday morning, some temperatures are creeping up a few degrees. and, as we look at the big picture going into the weekend, we've had arctic air across the uk. high pressure to the west of us, but gets nudged southwards a little bit, and air with an atlantic influence coming across. that means it is less cold and temperatures are getting closer to average for this time of year with mild air coming in.
it's taking a while to get into the south—eastern parts of england, and could still be quite chilly during saturday, but into sunday it will arrive. but it is coming, this atlantic air, with a great deal of cloud around. there is patchy cloud and there will be sunny spells for eastern parts of england during saturday. so it's five degrees in norwich, but 10 degrees in stornoway, feeling the benefits of milder air. part two of the weekend, on sunday, again a lot of cloud around. that cloud thick enough in some spots to produce a little bit of patchy light rain, not amounting to too much. maybe some hazy sunny spells through the eastern uk and temperatures closer to average. the main story for the weekend is mild, less cold air coming in, but it comes with plenty of cloud. and whilst there will be dry weather around, the cloud will produce patchy light rain at times. this is the briefing. i'm david eades. our top story: pope francis, who is holding mass in bangladesh, has thanked the country for its humanitarian response to muslim refugees fleeing myanmar.
a breakthrough moment for the oceans. naval vessels from new zealand begin patrolling the ross sea in antarctica, the largest area ever to be granted special protection. prince harry and his new fiancee meghan markle are to take part in theirfirst official engagements together. in business, a vital boost for growth, or a ruinous handout to big business and the rich? president trump edges towards the biggest shake—up of us taxes in three decades. will it clear the final hurdle, or go the way of his