the headlines: british anti—terror police have confirmed a chemical weapon, a nerve agent, was used to try to murder a former russian spy and his daughter. they were found slumped on a bench in the city of salisbury. sergei and yulia skripal are still critically ill — along with the first police officer on the scene. russia has denied involvement. white house officials are saying some countries could be excluded from president trump's planned tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. there's concern about triggering a trade war, but the president is expected to go ahead with formal approval before the end of this week. counting is underway in sierra leone where more than three million people have voted for a new president and parliament. the current president ernest bai koroma is standing down after two five—year terms. there will be a run—off vote if no presidential candidate wins 55% of the ballot. it's just gone half past four in the morning. now on bbc news it's time for hardtalk.
welcome to hardtalk i stephen sackur. seven candidates are challenging vladimir putin in this month's russian presidential election. not one of them has a hope of victory. to all intents and purposes, this is a show election to confirm the popularity and power of vladimir putin. but is there a dangerfor russia vladimir putin. but is there a danger for russia in this urbanisation of politics? my guest is one of the seven hatless are that candidates. boris titov, a vladimir putin appointee for business. does russia need reform rather than authoritarianism? russia need reform rather than
authoritarianism 7 party of —— boris titov in moscow, welcome to hardtalk. . you are going to be in the election that comes ahead in just a few days from now. to the outside world, it looks at the charade, a mockery of a democratic process. is that the way it feels to you? no, it is a democratic process because we are all by our own world participating in it. but of course the popularity of vladimir putin is very high, and that is why we, of course, understand that the chances are very low. our chances are very low. you are not really a serious candidate, are you? because during the course of the campaign, you have said that as hang on...” the course of the campaign, you have said that as hang on... i am a serious man. i am a businessman. by
the way a british businessman. because i started my career and 89 in london. yes, well... two 1989. in 99. you said ombudsman. not a serious man. i don't think is serious man. i don't think is serious man. i don't think is serious man could handle thisjob. it isa serious man could handle thisjob. it is a serious job. you said serious man could handle thisjob. it is a seriousjob. you said i am that it hidden's ombudsman. the fact is yes. but, i mean, in reality, i am protecting the rights of businessman from the state of russia. because in very many cases, are — they're using administrative law, criminal law, corruption. so i am protecting our businessmen from the russian state. boris titov, i would want to get to yourjob. but even would want to get to yourjob. but eve n wa nt would want to get to yourjob. but even want to offend you. i didn't
wa nt to even want to offend you. i didn't want to say you were a serious man, what wanted to say you were not a serious candidate. the rizzo said thatis serious candidate. the rizzo said that is because you have publicly said, you know, but it didn't is the toughest politician of our day. —— lammy purdon is the toughest politician barrett day. -- vladimir putin. of course he has a great strength against us. but ever understand is why we are participating in these elections. us, it is very important, this move. we were thinking as a group of businessman in our union of non— oil businessman in our union of non— oil business of russia, who are supporting me. and we were thinking prolonged time to go for the selection or not, but we decided to do it. why? because we need to promote our ideas. the idea that we
haveis promote our ideas. the idea that we have is a strategy for russia. we are the best macroeconomic and scientists in russia and developed a programme and this is a very profound programme. a real strategy. we prepared it for two years. the main idea is that we have to change the economy of russia. we have to go from today's oil economy, resource economy, to a real market economy. we had to promote small and medium businesses. we have two promote industrial, technological businesses. we have two make the country know about that. yes, but the point... let me stop you, let me stop you for a second. you say you are full of important economic lives is due to make i'm sorry. no, don't worry. you tell about these ideas of modernising russia, and you say that
you, ican modernising russia, and you say that you, i can make this point, you note the election is a stride. but it purdon has not released a manifesto. —— vladimir putin. it is not regard you are serious. the in the kremlin wa nted you are serious. the in the kremlin wanted for you and others... let me finish my point. you were to stand asa finish my point. you were to stand as a figleaf to give the impression that they were some sort of choice. iam that they were some sort of choice. i am sorry. the kremlin did not want me to stand. the only question that i asked the kremlin, because i am working in the kremlin administration, so the only thing which i asked was it would be a conflict of interest. allow to leave my day to dayjob to run for the election? they said, ok, we thought it was not a conflict of interest, science still giving the job and going for a elections. otherwise, i
would have to decide, because it is a big chance that i would have left thejob to a big chance that i would have left the job to run for the elections. alexei navalny is by far the most prominent opposition voice in russia today. he wanted to run in the election. he was barred from running on the basis of a conviction on jumped up charges which were condemned by the european court of human rights has been completely unacceptable, and after that, alessi dava nte unacceptable, and after that, alessi davante said to all russians, please, do not vote. —— alexei navalny. he said that it meant fixing vladimir putin's problem by helping in disguise his appointment by making it look like serving like a proper election. why did you not heed his words? because if beverage will go for the polls, but it purdon will go for the polls, but it purdon will win with 100%. those who are not agreeing with the economic,
don't agree with the economical, if they will not go, the country and vladimir putin will think that eve ryo ne vladimir putin will think that everyone supports him. even 10% of people, 15%, 20%, they will come and they will say we are voting for other people as candidates. so we will see the picture, the social picture in russia, the picture of opinions in russia. so alexi diwali, of course, we can talk about his legal situation. only about 1.5 or 296 legal situation. only about 1.5 or 2% of people support him. legal situation. only about 1.5 or 296 of people support him. with respect, your current poll standing is less than i%, so... respect, your current poll standing is less than 196, so... iwon't compete with alexei navalny. we'll see final stand. at least in one
week, you will see our result. of course we are not professional politicians. we are professional economists. but anyway, alexei navalny asked his supporters, and he had to make them come and vote for him or if you can't vote because he was legally not in the list, but there were other possibilities to do that. so i think that we had to have more competition at every social group supporting any candidate and having the right to have very candidate and to come and vote. boris titov, we will talk economy, because that is a real interest. but before we do that, we need to talk about what vladimir putin seems to regard as the most important message in the election. and that is his message on foreign policy. a bellicose, assertive, big message to the russian people about restoring
russian pride and taking on russia's enemies wherever they may be. do you support that element of let me purdon's message? that is not the message he gives to the russian people. mostly the message is for the west. and this message could be read as you don't want to talk to us when we are weak. we think that you will talk with us when we will be strong. i think the perception of the situation in the world is different, between the western vladimir putin. he thinks the west made many mistakes against russia. —— between the west and that it had. i partly agree with that. because in the 90s, the west did not support them in the democrat presses. we thought there would be huge educational programmes. thousands of russians will go to the west to learn about democracy and the market
economy seat done. of course, vladimir putin considers as not understanding of the russian interest in the world. —— on the market economy. sorry to interrupt. i don't mean to be rude. there is a time delay on the line and is the ant is too long, we will not get through all of the important issues that we need to get through. on this point, iam mindfulthat that we need to get through. on this point, i am mindful that you are an opposition candidate tried to remove vladimir putin from the kremlin. but your message to the outside world is what? that you support his invasion and annexation of crimea? that you support russian trips in eastern ukraine? that you support the intervention... —— russian troops. two i support some things and not others. -- i support something.
crimea was never ukrainian. the mistake was made by boris yeltsin when they didn't even consider the issue of crimea when they signed the agreements. because nobody even thought that crimea is ukrainian at that time. and hejust let it thought that crimea is ukrainian at that time. and he just let it go without any — without even putting — because he was so fast and hard to move these agreements forwards because he wanted to be the president of russia. he was the president of russia, but it was gorbachev who was the president of the soviet union. in order to push through the agreements and just destroy the soviet union. through the agreements and just destroy the soviet unionlj through the agreements and just destroy the soviet union. i want your view on selling top level in the united kingdom today. and that is the very mysterious illness, the critical honours, a rational double agent in hospital fibrous life
alongside his daughter. sergei skripal was seen to be working for the uk, went to russia, then was sent to the uk any spy swap. that was not a question, that was a position. do you think russia's response will for what has happened to sergei skripal? and have nothing to sergei skripal? and have nothing to do without, and i can say that you do not speculate on that. it you start speculating, even if they did not give his declination what happened. there was no investigation about that. why we should put everything on the hard side? why should we think about the enemy psychology from the first thing, from the first thing? will never agree on anything. we will never agree on anything. we will never agree on anything. we will never agree on anything. we might want to think about vladimir putin's
responsibilities, because you might think that in 2010... responsibilities, because you might think that in 2010. .. you have already jetted about that. not at all. had he respond to this? if you don't mind, let me ask the questions. back in 2010, at the time of the spy swap, vladimir putin said traders were kicked the bucket. they have betrayed their friends for 30 pieces of silver and they will choke on them. of course, many people are wondering whether vladimir putin... i haven't heard this expression, but i cannot comment on that. i never had anything to do with spy investigations or spy works. so let me free—to be free out of these questions. i want to talk about the economical side. what i will you if i may, the world is very small. before we talked and signed the
agreements with you, before that, churchill and stalin signed the agreement and further agreements post—war. for together against their enemies. now we need to find ways to meet each other. i understand your point, boris titov, but it is not working away, right now, because of russia's actions in ukraine and elsewhere. when hughes start your question... what is the right word in english? with accusations and not trying to find the right way to find each other. boris titov, ukip trying to tell myself you're an opponent of putin? iam
tell myself you're an opponent of putin? i am an opponent of putin but ime favour of russia. when i see what happened, i have been living in london for many years. i'd children have british passports and what i see now happening... did not know what to call it, it is a circus or whatever, that people just do not talk to each other, this is complete nonsense. you want reform, you want to open up the russian economy, modernise it and massive international investment in russia but do you not see it with the attitude of vladimir putin right now, you are not going to get any of that. you are going to get sanctions, more international isolation and less investment... maybe you think like that but with more free economy in russia, there will be investment and foreign investment. the politics are politics but we know, we're
practical people, businessmen, we know that, to the soviet union, there was foreign investment from written, they were coming because, if there was a trust even at that time, we can talk, and when we talk figures, investments, mutual projects... in fact, it is going the other way. it is not going the other way. exxonmobil just other way. it is not going the other way. exxonmobiljust pulled out of a majorjoint venture because of way. exxonmobiljust pulled out of a major joint venture because of the sanctions. both the un and us are talking about strengthening sanctions. i just talking about strengthening sanctions. ijust had lunch in mcdonald's. we have all the main brands staying in russia. mcdonald's. we have all the main brands staying in russialj mcdonald's. we have all the main brands staying in russia. i hope you enjoyed your burger but the fact that... ilike... enjoyed your burger but the fact that... i like... and the fact is
quite simple, you can eat as many cheeseburgers as you like but foreign direct investment in russia has plummeted in recent years and you are a manner that is supposed to be advocating... it is true. it is true. we have a big potential in our possible economical development. russia is a huge possibility of growth. we are saying we cannot do it by ourselves. we have quite a strong russian business community. we have technologies. a lot of experts are still working in russia. you are the ombudsman there, would you agree with me that for example the use of the law and the courts by big companies to intimidate smaller companies, to manipulate... that's
not right. the biggest problem now in russia is corruption. and threats from the state to businessmen. where criminal law is used against companies. we have to protect the rights, we have to take people out ofjails rights, we have to take people out of jails because, rights, we have to take people out ofjails because, according to the russian laws, businessmen before the court could not be jailed. it is a recent law. but they are still jailed. i have just recent law. but they are still jailed. i havejust been in london and we had the list of russian businessmen who have escaped from russia and they are living in london, greece, spain and different countries... boris titov at this is really important. and you are being very frank about the degree of corruption in your country and that matters because you are the ombudsman the business and it is important to businessmen to believe
in their ability to safeguard their interests if corruption is corroding their system. a simple question, the youth think vladimir putin and his cronies and france, many from saint petersburg, are crooked ?|j cronies and france, many from saint petersburg, are crooked? i can say i do not know this. i can say to you, i talk to vladimir putin about our strategy of growth. this is our programme. and what he did is he tried to move this way for more competition... i am asking you whether you believe vladimir putin is corrupt? i have never seen any deals with putin on corruption. i have never seen it anywhere. really? really! let me read to you the latest helsinki commission report, highly respected, on russian. endemic corruption is a defining
characteristic of the putin regime while the president is the prime beneficiary, cronies maintain a system of corruption. these low support is necessary to ensure the status quo and they often pursue the governments illicit interests. that is the helsinki commission report putting the blame on putin himself. helsinki... i do not know about helsinki... i do not know about helsinki but they have never seen anybody from putin's administration asking for a bribe, at least in business. i have never seen, i cannot comment on that. you're trying to beat putin in this election, wouldn't it be worth your way at these allegations?” election, wouldn't it be worth your way at these allegations? i am saying we have to work and go
forward. if we will claim that everything is bad and this, this, and this bash by the way not very proved. alexei navalny‘s accusations... at least i have not seen accusations... at least i have not seen the proved by coming back to the main idea. we need to go forward. we understand the problems we have in russia. corruption. the main corruption is a huge garden... idid not main corruption is a huge garden... i did not know how to say it in english... a huge sector of russian society which we call it the russian middle—class, which are all bureaucrats, you know, the people from the government and this practically middle—class pushes
russian politics forward. they are interesting all the politics in russia. —— influencing. they do not wa nt russia. —— influencing. they do not want peace to go forward because they relate on that budget salary, corruption and we see it every day. when businessmen are put injail, the next day comes somebody who says, you want to sit in jail? you give some payment to this company and you will be released. practically 60% of businessmen who went injail... we are practically 60% of businessmen who went in jail... we are almost out of time... the main problem of russia is this corruption. you have spoken frankly about corruption in russia. inafew frankly about corruption in russia. in a few days there will be an election and i hate to say this but you are not going to win, vladimir putin is going to win. how damaging will 64 years of let me putin be?
this election is not about electing a president. speaking honestly. yes, he has a big advantage against all of us but this election is about how russia will be after the elections. and who will influence on the economy to go to the site of market competition and for the versification of the economy. —— de versification. the other way is back the 90s, backed to the soviet union, i'm afraid to say. this is a very possible alternative so we are fighting for that. that we do not go back, we go forward and for an open economy and free economy and this will lead us to a free society in the future. hello.
temperatures are on the up this weekend as it turns milder but we are not there yet and snow is still part of our forecast for the first part of thursday. here's a look at the recent satellite picture. this area of cloud pushing in from the south—west, bringing in some rain, sleet and some snow to parts of england and wales as thursday begins. a fairly messy looking picture, by no means everyone seeing snow. you're more inclined in the higher ground of wales, midlands, into parts of northern england but, in heavier bursts, even to lower levels, you could see a bit of snow. maybe a few centimetres, a brief, light covering out of this. here is how things look during the first few hours of the morning. behind the area of rain, sleet and snow, further wintry showers coming into parts of wales. but in parts of northern england and the midlands, as thursday begins, we could see some snow falling to relatively low levels. it is a good idea to just check the situation before heading out, to make sure you do not going to encounter too many problems. bbc local radio station, of course, a good source of information. this latest weather system begins to pull its moisture away, eastwards, from england and wales
as we go into the afternoon. for scotland and northern ireland, a mainly dry but frosty icy start to the day. some good sunny spells to come as it stays mainly dry. but in towards the western isles, far north—west of mainland scotland, northern isles there will be some showers around. following our weather system for england and wales, one or two showers, wintry on hills but some good sunny spells to come here. most places though a chillier day, especially in the breeze, across southern parts, with temperatures in single figures. largely fine thursday night as we see a frost settling. the chance for a few icy patches. bbc local radio station, of course, a good source of information. this latest weather system begins to pull its moisture away, eastwards, from england and wales as we go into the afternoon. for scotland and northern ireland, a mainly dry but frosty icy start to the day. some good sunny spells to come as it stays mainly dry. but in towards the western isles, far north—west of mainland scotland, northern isles there will be some showers around. following our weather system for england and wales, one or two showers, wintry on hills but some good sunny spells to come here.
most places though a chillier day, especially in the breeze, across southern parts, with temperatures in single figures. largely fine thursday night as we see a frost settling. the chance for a few icy patches. still some wintry showers, still some snow across parts of scotland, particularly into the hills. a lot of fine weather to come during friday but cloud increasing to southern england and south wales as we start to get some outbreaks of rain moving in through the afternoon and into the evening. so it turns wetter from the south. as we look at that big picture going into the weekend, there's this weather system here, still as it edges its way northwards, on it leading edge, there could be some snow, especially to higher ground. but this is a warm front, this the leading edge of milder air, warmerairand you can see that on the colours here, for saturday. that gradually edges itsway further northwards as we go through the weekend. so we know the weekend, temperatures are heading up. not the whole story. it's going to be milder, yes, but there will be some rain at times and most of us will see some rain at some stage of the weekend, thankfully not all the time but here is an idea of what we might expect over the weekend, at least for the capital cities.
and that gives you an idea of what many of us can expect. some rain at times, not all the time but temperatures are creeping up. that is your weekend forecast. harlow. —— hello. this is the briefing. i'm sally bundock. our top story: softening its stance on metal tariffs — the white house says canada and mexico could be exempt from donald trump's plans to impose a levy on steel and aluminium imports. police in britain are trying to establish the source of a toxic nerve agent used in an attempt to murder a former russian spy and his daughter. the trial of a danish inventor accused of murdering a swedish journalist on board his submarine last summer is about to get underway in copenhagen. booth babes at the geneva motor show — is there a role in 2018? we've been finding out. yes, the biggest car show in the world is open to the public