Friday, December 20, 2013

RUSSIA - Putin's Change of Heart

"Putin announces amnesty for jailed oil tycoon, punk rock band Pussy Riot" (Part-1) PBS Newshour 12/19/2013


JUDY WOODRUFF (Newshour):  Russian President Vladimir Putin presided over his annual news conference today, and despite the marathon session with reporters, he held back the most news-making announcement until after it was over.

The tightly choreographed event attracted hundreds of Russian journalists, with some holding signs and even stuffed animals and dolls, hoping Putin would notice and call on them.  But the Russian leader saved his biggest headline until the four-hour-long news conference finally ended, announcing he will pardon the jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russian President (through interpreter):  He has already spent more than 10 years in jail.  It is a serious punishment.  He refers to circumstances of the humanitarian nature.  His mother is ill.  And I think that, bearing in mind those circumstances, it is possible to make that decision, and I will soon sign an order about his pardon.

"Do Putin's pardons represent public relations rather than real concessions?" (Part-2) PBS Newshour 12/19/2013

Humm... Lets see... 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia..... OK, a real change of heart.


SUMMARY:  Was Russian President Vladimir Putin's amnesty announcement for some high-profile dissidents mostly a public relations tactic?  To put Putin's move in perspective, Judy Woodruff talks to Angela Stent of Georgetown University and Dimitri Simes of the Center for the National Interest.

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