Richard Beeston – “George Bush isn’t in charge, says Vladimir Putin”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4734894.ece

George Bush isn’t in charge, says Vladimir Putin

Richard Beeston | September 11, 2008

In a thinly veiled dig at George Bush, Vladimir Putin today suggested that the US President was not in charge of American affairs, saying that it was “the court that makes the king”.

Amid heightened tensions with the US in the wake of the war in Georgia, the Russian Prime Minister insisted that the US leader was a man of honour and integrity, but blamed members of the administration for the sharp deterioration of relations with Russia.

”I still hope we will maintain good relations, but it is the court that makes the king,” he told a group of foreign journalists in an interview at his residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

He nonetheless spoke fondly of his relationship with Mr Bush, saying, only half-jokingly: ”I treat President Bush better than some Americans would”.

At times Mr Putin displayed genuine anger, particularly when discussing the deployment of US navy warships just off the Russian Black Sea coast. Much of his criticism was aimed directly at the Bush administration which he accused of training and army the Georgian military and encouraging its leadership to launch last month’s assault on the breakaway province of South Ossetia.

“Should we have wiped the bloody snot off our face and bowed our head? Should we have waved our penknives?” he said in response to the mobilisation of Georgian tanks and troops.

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