Below are links and excerpts from the raw transcripts both President George Bush and Vladimir Putin’s public comments leading up to tomorrow’s G8 Summit. Maybe the Kremlin’s press secretary should begin adding the “applause” indications to help heighten the drama.
We’re also applying that lesson to our relationships with Russia and China. (Applause.) The United States has strong working relationships with these countries. Our friendship with them is complex. In the areas where we share mutual interests, we work together. In other areas, we have strong disagreements. China’s leaders believe that they can continue to open the nation’s economy without opening its political system. We disagree. (Applause.) In Russia, reforms that were once promised to empower citizens have been derailed, with troubling implications for democratic development. Part of a good relationship is the ability to talk openly about our disagreements. So the United States will continue to build our relationships with these countries — and we will do it without abandoning our principles or our values. (Applause.) We appreciate that free societies take shape at different speeds in different places. One virtue of democracy is that it reflects local history and traditions. Yet there are fundamental elements that all democracies share — freedom of speech, religion, press, and assembly; rule of law enforced by independent courts; private property rights; and political parties that compete in free and fair elections. (Applause.) These rights and institutions are the foundation of human dignity, and as countries find their own path to freedom, they must find a loyal partner in the United States of America.
While most people quoted the “I’m the world’s only pure democrat” part, as well as the threat to aim Russian warheads at European cities, there were many other comments Putin made to reporters that didn’t make the cut.
Let us not be hypocritical about democratic freedoms and human rights. I already said that I have a copy of Amnesty International’s report including on the United States. There is probably no need to repeat this so as not to offend anyone. If you wish, I shall now report how the United States does in all this. We have an expression that is perhaps difficult to translate but it means that one can always have plenty to say about others. Amnesty International has concluded that the United States is now the principal violator of human rights and freedoms worldwide. I have the quote here, I can show you. And there is argumentation behind it. There are similar claims about Great Britain, France or the Federal Republic of Germany. The same could be said of Russia. But let us not forget that other countries in the G8 have not experienced the dramatic transformations that the Russian Federation has undergone. They have not experienced a civil war, which we, in fact, had in the Caucasus. And yet we have preserved many of the so-called common values even better than some other G8 countries. Despite serious conflicts in the Caucasus, we have not abandoned our moratorium on the death penalty. And, as we know, in some G8 countries this penalty is applied quite consistently and strictly enforced.