tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg September 29, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
announcer: from our studios in this is "charlie rose." charlie: tonight, vladimir putin. i went to moscow to report on an interview with the president of russia. it took place outside of moscow and lasted for an hour and 40 minutes. it was shot by our cruise at 60 -- crews of 60 minutes. >> we support the legitimate government of syria.
for instance in libya where all the state institutions are disintegrated. we see a situation in iraq. there is no solution to the syrian crisis. charlie: there were no ground rules. they only asked the interview be run on 60 minutes and then in its entirety on this program. president putin invited me and my colleagues for tea. during the next 90 minutes we talked of many things about politics and life. accompany me -- accompany me were my 60 minutes colleagues. the 60 minutes interview aired last night on the 48th season premiere of 60 minutes.
earlier about president obama and president putin spoke at the united nations. obama was first. president obama: when a dictator slaughters his own people that is not just a matter of one nation's internal affairs. it breeds human suffering on a magnitude that access all. compromise will be required to end the fighting and stamp out isil about realism requires a transition away from assad. charlie: his speech was followed by president putin. president putin: we should find a way forward, but no one but president assad are truly fighting isil.
charlie: the two men met to talk about their differences and their common purpose. >> russia's expanding military intervention left resident obama little choice but to sit down with vladimir putin for the first time in two years. charlie: the interview with president putin's was for one hour and 40 minutes. a remarkable amount of time for a conversation with the head of state. here is part one of the unedited conversation. part two will air tomorrow night. charlie: our conversation will be recorded and broadcast on sunday. the next day you will speak to the united nations in a much-anticipated address. the first time you've been there in a number of years.
what will you say to the u.n., to america, to the world? [speaking russian] president putin: i believe it is not wise to speak about everything i'm going to say but i will give you the general outline. i will recall the history of the united nations. the decision to create this organization was made in our
country, at the yalta conference. decision was made in the soviet union. russia and the soviet union. russia's the legal successor of the ussr. i will have to say a few words about how the current situation and how international relations are shaping up to date. united nation remains the only universal international organization charged with maintaining international peace and security. there is no alternative to it. it has to adapt to a changing world and we have all been constantly debating how it should change, at what pace, what should be changed exactly. i will have to not just have to -- i will avail myself to speak from this international rostrum to give the russian vision of the future of this organization.
charlie: there is much anticipation you will speak about the threat of isis, and that your presence in syria is related to that. what is the purpose of the presence in syria, and how does that relate to the challenge of isis? president putin: i believe i'm certain that everyone speaking from the united nations platform is going to talk about the fight, about the need to fight terrorism. i cannot avoid this issue either. as of today it is taken the form of supplying weapons to the syrian government, training personnel in providing military
assistance to the syrian people. terrorism is a threat for many states in the world. a large number of people suffer from their criminal activities. hundreds of thousands, millions suffer. we are tasked with joining efforts to overcome this common evil. in regards to our presence in syria, today it is expressed in the form of supplying weapons to the syrian government, rendering humanitarian assistance to the syrian people. we proceed from the u.n. charter which means from the fundamental principles of international law under which any assistance, including military can and should be rendered exclusively to a legitimate government of a country with their consent or at
their request. on the decision of the un security council. we are dealing with a request from the syrian government to render the military and technical assistance which we are doing within lawful contracts. charlie: secretary of state john kerry said the united states welcomes your assistance in the battle against isis. others have taken note of the fact that these are fighter planes, antiaircraft system, and those used against a conventional army, not extremists. president putin: there is only one legitimate conventional army, the army of the president of syria, and he is facing the
opposition. in fact, in real life the army of assad is dealing with terrorist organizations. the army is dealing with terrorist organizations. surely you know better than i about the hearings which have taken place in the senate and military, representatives from the pentagon reported to the senators about what had been done by the united states to train the combat units of the opposition forces. they have the go to train 5-6000 troops, then 12,000. they prepared and trained all of the troops. the only number we are fighting war 4-5 men. all the others with american weapons defected to isis. secondly, providing aid to
illegitimate organizations is not in line with international law and the charter of the united nations. we support only legitimate government organizations. in this regard we propose to coordinate with countries in the region to create a certain coordinated framework. i personally informed the president of turkey, the king of jordan, saudi arabia, and the united states who had a substantive talk with our foreign minister. our military people have been in contact and we would be glad if we could find a common platform for joined action.
charlie: you would like to join the united states in the fight against isis, part of why you are there. others think that while that may be part of your goal, you are trying to save the assad administration because they have been losing ground and the war has not been going well. you are there to rescue them. president putin: correct. that is the case. i have already said it twice. i will repeat it. we support the legitimate government of syria. it is my deep conviction any actions to the contrary to destroy the legitimate government will create a situation which you can witness
in the other countries of the region, or other regions of the world. in libya all the state institutions are disintegrating. we see a similar situation in iraq. there is no solution to the crisis and strengthening the existing legal government structures and rendering them help in fighting terrorism. urging them to engage in positive dialogue with a rational part of the opposition and conducting political reforms. charlie: some of the coalition partners want to see president assad go first before they will support.
wouldent putin: i like to recommend the following -- they should send this wish to the syrian people and not to assad. it is only the syrian people who can determine who should lead them. anything from the outside is harmful and contrary to international law. charlie: do you think president assad -- you support him. do you support what he is doing in syria and what is happening to those syrian people, many millions of refugees, and hundreds of thousands of people that have been killed, many by his own force. president putin: tell me. do you think those who support
an armed opposition, and the terrorist organizations, only to oust assad are acting correctly? without concern of what will happen after all the institutions are demolished in that country? we have been through that. i have mentioned libya. just now, it was quite recently the united states helped destroy the state institutions, whether they were good or bad. now they are destroyed and he states suffered great losses. the death of their ambassador. we support legitimate state structures. i want to repeat this once again in the hope that the political reform will be introduced in syria. you have said that assad has fought against his own people.
charlie: you were saying you stepped in because you do not think the job was being done and you listen to what happened in the u.s. senate and heard the results and said russia must act and i must act. president putin: we do act. we have always been acting in this direction. we continue this cooperation including the united states of america. we constantly send our colleagues information needed by the intelligence divisions of
u.s. to maintain security for u.s. citizens in the u.s. and abroad. i believe today a level of coordination is not enough. we need to work more closely together. charlie: you believe the way to do it is what? what is the strategy you are recommending other than supporting the assad regime? president putin: yes. i have said this. we need to help his army because besides his army no one is fighting isis in syria. i want you and your audience to realize that no one except for assad's army is fighting terrorist groups in syria. these attacks from the air including bombings by the u.s. don't bring solutions to the issue. there must be work on the ground after the bombing.
there is no other force besides an army of bashar al-assad. charlie: are you prepared to put russian combat troops on the ground in syria if it is necessary to defeat isis? president putin: russia will not participate in any troop operations in syria or any other states. we don't plan that as of today. we are considering the intensification with president assad and other countries. charlie: what does that mean?
president putin: our military servicemen will not participate in combat operations directly. it will not fight. we will support the army of assad. charlie: airstrikes? president putin: i mean war, combat operations, the infantry, motorized troops. charlie: what else is going to be required? i come back to the problem that many people look at. they believe that assad helps isis. that his reprehensible conduct against the syrian people using barrel bombs and worse is a recruiting tool for isis. and that if he were removed, it
would be better in the fight against isis and others. president putin: in the language of intelligence circles, this assessment is clearly an acted measure by enemies of assad. anti-syrian propaganda. nothing in common between assad and isil. assad and his army is the only force which is indeed fighting isil. charlie: there were reports you were prepared or you seem to be pulling back a degree from your support of him and that what you wanted to see was a negotiated political transition. president putin: we think issues of political nature in any
country must be decided by the syrian people. we're ready to provide assistance so they can find some common points and agree upon the future of their country. that is why we organized a series of meetings between the representatives of the opposition and assad's government. we are ready to work in this direction in the future. charlie: here is what the washington post said today. into the vacuum of american leadership has stepped russian president vladimir putin who has dispatched troops and equipment
to syria to force the world to accept his solution to the war, the creation of a new coalition to fight the islamic state, that includes in the coalition the assad government. the interesting thing they are saying is you have moved into a vacuum of american leadership. "the washington post." president putin: we are not filling the vacuum of american leadership. we're trying to prevent the creation of a vacuum in syria in general. as soon as government agencies are destroyed that is when a power vacuum occurs. at that moment it would be instantly filled with terrorists.
that was the case in libya and iraq, and other countries. this was the case in afghanistan as well. for us, there is no question of any fight with the american leadership at all. charlie: it seems to be a -- and knowing you -- you have said a strong centralized government is in the dna of russia. you have a huge fear, as you suggest, an anarchy in syria, and other places, of no strong government. that is the fear that vladimir putin has. president putin: i'm not saying there is no strong government. if there is no government at all then there will be anarchy and a vacuum. this vacuum in anarchy will transform into terrorism.
take iraq. there was a well-known figure, saddam hussein. good or bad, you have probably forgotten. the u.s. was cooperating very actively with saddam when he was fighting iran. you helps them with arms. political cover was provided. then for some reason you had a falling out and the u.s. decided to eliminate saddam. by eliminating saddam hussein the u.s. eliminated the iraqi government and thousands of people from the former baath party. the servicemen were thrown out on the streets. nobody thought about them. they are filling the ranks of isil.
that is what we are fighting against. we are not against some countries showing leadership somewhere. we are against negative actions that are hard to correct. charlie: a recent visitor to moscow was a leader of the kush forces. what role will he play in syria? what did you decide is necessary? president putin: i've already said all countries of the region must unite efforts in the fight against a common threat, against terrorism and isis. this refers to iran and saudi arabia despite the fact that relations between these countries are not at their best. isis poses a threat to both states. jordan, turkey.
there are some issues with regards to the kurds. the settlements of the situation is of interest for all. our task is to unite these efforts to fight a common enemy. charlie: much is being read into this, including that this is a new effort for russia to take a leadership role in the middle east and that it represents a new strategy by you. is it? president putin: no, no. not really. we have already mention what makes us provide growing support
to president assad's government. i have told you, you have asked me, i have answered you about more than 2000 fighters are in the territory of syria from the former soviet republic. instead of waiting for their return, we should help president assad fight them in the territory. this is the most important motivation which pushes us to provide assistance to president assad. we want the region to stabilize. it is close to our borders. we want to develop normal relations with these countries. we have traditionally had good relations with the middle eastern countries and we hope this will continue in the future. charlie: your pride in russia means that you would like to see russia play a bigger role in the world and this is just one example.
pres. putin: it is not the end in itself. i am proud of russia, that is true. we have something to be proud of. we have russian culture and russian history. we have grounds to believe in the future of our country. but we do not have any obsession with being a superpower in the international arena. we are involved in one thing, defending our fundamental interests. charlie: but you are in part a major power because of the nuclear weapons you have. you are a force to be reckoned with. pres. putin: [laughter]
i hope so. i definitely hope so. otherwise why do we have those weapons at all. we proceeded from the premise that nuclear weapons or other weapons are the means to defend our sovereignty and legitimate interests. it is not the means for aggressive behavior or implementing some imperialist ambitions. charlie: when you go to new york for the u.n., will you request a meeting with president obama? pres. putin: such meetings are planned beforehand. president obama, i believe, does
not have a second to spare. there are an enormous number of delegations from all over the world. charlie: a second to spare for the president of russia? pres. putin: that is his choice. we are always open to the highest contact with any level but if the president finds a few minutes to meet me, that will be great. if, due to circumstances he is not able to do that, nothing to worry about. charlie: come on. you would like to sit down with the president and say i have a plan for syria, let's work together. let's see what we can do on syria and other things. pres. putin: you know, the thing is that such serious matters are discussed -- the eyes are
finally dotted at the highest level between the presidents of are prepared by military agencies and intelligence services, it is a lot of work. so if the work is ready to complete there is a special point in meeting but if they are not at the final stage they can meet with president obama and talk to each other and shake hands but i believe i'm ready to engage in this contact always. charlie: leadership comes from the top down and if you are going there to make a big speech you want the president of the united states to be on board as much as he can. why don't you pick up the phone and, as you did after our conversation in st. petersburg, you telephoned the president. telephone the president again and say let's make sure we spent some time. the issues are critical and two of us can do better than one.
pres. putin: you are right, i did call president obama about these very issues. that is true. there is nothing extraordinary. let me repeat, any meeting is prepared as a rule by our staff but i am telling you, that does not depend on us. if the americans want a meeting we will have a meeting. charlie: you made no preparation because you deal with these things every day to see the president of the united states nor does he. it is a diplomatic nicety that you are suggesting, but i hear you. you are prepared to meet him. pres. putin: how many years have you been working as a journalist? charlie: more than i want to remember. [laughter]
pres. putin: it is difficult for me to give you advice as to what you are prepared for or not prepared for. why do you think you can give me advice of what i am ready for or not? that is not what is most important. what is most important is that russia and the president of russia and all my colleagues are ready to engage in these contacts at the highest level, at the government level. we are ready to go as far as our american colleagues are ready to go. so, and by the way, the u.n. platform was created to seek compromise to engage in negotiations. if we use this platform that would be good. charlie: let me ask you this, what do you think of president obama? what is your evaluation of him?
pres. putin: i don't think i am entitled to give any views regarding the president of the united states. that is up to the american people. we have good personal relations and we are quite frank with each other. our relations are businesslike. i believe that is sufficient for our functions. charlie: do you think his activities in foreign affairs reflect a weakness? pres. putin: i don't think so at all. i believe that in any country and in the united states more often than any other country, political factors are used for domestic political battles. in the u.s. the presidential campaign is coming up so they are playing the russian card or some other. all sorts of accusations are made against the current head of
charlie: let me ask you this, do you think he listens to you? pres. putin: i think that we listen to each other in a way, especially when it comes to something that doesn't go counter to our own ideas. but i think that we have a dialogue. we hear each other. charlie: do you think he considers russia -- you said you are not a superpower, that he considers russia an equal? that he considers you an equal, which is the way you want to be treated? pres. putin: [laughter] you ask him. he is your president.
how could i know what he thinks. let me repeat, we have a relationship on an equal footing, both in terms of interpersonal relations and our relation as people. we are respectful of each other and our professional contacts are in a good working level. how can i know what the president of united states, of france, the chancellor of germany, the president of japan or the chairman of the state council of china are thinking? i look at their actions. charlie: i know, of course, but you enjoy the work and you enjoy representing russia and you know, you have been an intelligence officer. intelligence officers know how to read other people, that is part of the job, yes? pres. putin: it used to be.
now i have a different job for quite some time. charlie: i was once told there is no such thing as a former kgb men. once a kgb man, always a kgb man. pres. putin: not a single stage of our lives passes without a trace. no matter what we are involved in or what we do. all of this knowledge that we acquire and all of the experience will always remain with us and we will carry it further. in a sense, yes, they are right. charlie: a cia operative once said to me is that you learn the capacity to be liked. because you have to charm people. you have to charm people, you have to, yes, seduce them. pres. putin: well, if the cia
told you then that's the way it is because they are not bad specialists. charlie: think out loud. this is important. how can the united states and russia cooperate in the interest of a better world. think out loud. pres. putin: we are always thinking about that. one of the areas of my our cooperation which is important to millions on the planet is our common joining of forces and our common efforts in countering terror. the other phenomenon is combating drug traffic.
charlie: like where? pres. putin: where? in all the regions of the world. now as to what you, yourself said, you mentioned that russia and the united states are the greatest nuclear powers. that places additional response ibility on our shoulders. we managed to work together along certain lines, especially when it comes to iran's nuclear program. in general, we have created positive results. charlie: how did that work? the president has often cited you for the assistance that you gave to reaching a final accord. what did your negotiators contribute?
your foreign secretary? pres. putin: as strange as that may seem, the interests of united states and russia do sometimes coincide. in this case, when i just told you that we have a part to particular responsibility incumbent upon us due to the number of wmds in the area, that is on us. russia was guided not only by those considerations but also by the fact that iran is our neighbor. it is our traditional partner. that is why we wanted the situation around iran to be normalized.
we believe that after normalization and the resolution of this problem, the security situation will strengthen. in that regard, our evaluation of the nuclear program coincides with america. charlie: as you know, the republicans are running for president. it is a big debate and they all are against the nuclear iran deal. what would you tell them? pres. putin: i have already said that. if you want me to repeat it i can. i am confident that the agreements correspond to the interests of international security and strengthens the area in the region. it puts definite barriers in the way of wmd proliferation, because the iaea will comprehensively monitor the situation. that normalizes the situation in general because that helps us to
construct normal, businesslike partners with all of the countries in the region. charlie: you have a popularity rating in russia that would make every politician in the world envious. why are you so popular? pres. putin: there is something that i have in common with every citizen of russia, the love of our motherland. charlie: many of us were moved by an emotional moment at the time of the world war ii memory because of the sacrifices russia had made. and you were seen with a picture
of your father with tears in your eyes. pres. putin: yes, my family suffered severe losses during the second world war. my relatives in general. that is true. in my father's family, there were five brothers. i think four of them died. on my mother's side the picture was pretty much the same. russia has suffered great losses. and of course we can't forget that. and we must not forget that. not to put blame on somebody, but to prevent anything like this from happening in the future. we must remember about this that we pay a great deal of respect to veterans, including u.s. veterans. they were present at the victory day parade on may 9 of this year. we member the sacrifices made by all the countries such as great britain and china. i believe that is our common
positive memory about the joint fight against nazism, and this will continue to be a good platform to overcome the difficulties we are facing today. charlie: that is what you want to rekindle? a sense of partnership with america against common enemies? pres. putin: not against common enemies, but in each other's interests. charlie: you are also popular, but forgive me, there are many people critical of russia. they say it is more autocratic and less democratic. they say that political opponents and journalists have been killed and imprisoned in russia. they say your power is unchallenged and that power and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
what do you say about those people who worry about the climate, the atmosphere in russia? pres. putin: there can be no democracy without implementation of the law and compliance with the law. everyone must comply with the law. no one must forget that. as for the deaths of important people, including journalists, those are things that happen all over the world. if they happen in our country we will do our best to find those and punish them. but the most important thing is that we continue to improve our political system. so every citizen can feel that they do influence the country and society so authorities will feel responsible with regard to
those people during election campaigns. charlie: as you well know, if you insist that justice be done, if you, because of your power -- it could go a long way to eliminate that perception. pres. putin: a lot can be done but not everyone succeeds with everything from the very start. how long did it take the democratic process to develop in the united states? since the very beginning of the creation of the united states. do you believe that everything is perfect now from the point of view of democracy in the united states? if everything was perfect there wouldn't be the problem of ferguson. there would be no other problems of a similar nature. there would be no abuse by the police. but our task is to see all these problems and to respond
properly. this is the same case in russia. charlie: so the people who killed nemtsov will be prosecuted to the fullest? pres. putin: yes. i said it right away that this is a shameful page for our modern history and criminals must be prosecuted and punished. we have had other examples of crimes of this kind. despite the fact that these investigations will continue for a long time, it concluded in due matter. charlie: you know that i admire russia very much. its culture and its music. it is a large country and many people, including stalin said, russia needs a strong, authoritative figure.
they worship, stalin said, that kind of figure. was stalin right? pres. putin: he was wrong. i don't remember him saying that so i cannot confirm those quotes. but russia needs just principles for state structure rather than dictators. russia needs these principles which flexibly respond to things inside and outside the country. that is what russia needs. charlie: there is a tradition of strong leadership here. of all of those people -- pres. putin: in most european countries, there is parliamentary democracy. japan has it and many countries have it. for some reason the structure of the u.s. is quite different.
it is a presidential republic. we also have such traditions and russia but we are not talking about some strong figure, although such a figure is needed in leadership. we need to find an explanation about who this strong man is. is it a dictator or simply a leader who acts within his duties by the law. in a principled way this is a different situation. a second class.
charlie: as you know, some have called you a czar. pres. putin: well, what of it? people call me different names. charlie: does the name fit? pres. putin: no, it doesn't fit me. we have a saying, call me a pot if you want, just don't put me in the oven. it is not important what you are called by well-wishers, friends or political opponents. what is important is what you yourself think about what you must do with your position in the country as the head of the russian state. charlie: are people in russia fearful of you?
good morning, this is trending business. here is what we are watching. what a quarter this has been. asian stocks rise in the final day of the three-month session but still heading for the worst performance since the financial crisis. toshiba announces a new line of credit and discusses its bookkeeping scandal with shareholders, investigating shareholder responsibility.
be's pledge. the japanese prime minister is guest of honor at bloomberg's headquarters. let us know what you think of the top story on twitter. here is the hashtag. ors comes by the last day rally. reporter: how much brighter picture in asia. asia still in in the red. trading day of the quarter. not a great one for investors. the asia-pacific index closing at its lowest level since 2012. but overnight,