Putin Prefers To Be Involved

Shocking news of the day: Putin plans to stay in politics. And here I thought all those recent publicity stunts were just a prelude to an early retirement. He’s refusing to say, though, whether he’ll run in the 2012 presidential race. Ah, the suspense. From an AFP report:

Putin said he was not obsessed with the upcoming elections and had no “narcotic dependence” on political ratings.

However, he said: “I only have but two choices: either to watch from the bank how the waters are flowing away and how something is getting destroyed or lost — or to get involved. I prefer to be involved.”

Asked about his interest in the [presidential] elections, he said: “It interests me as much as… I was going to say ‘as much as anyone’, but really more than everyone else!”

The same article also quotes Putin’s response to accusations that public protests are being stifled in Russia:

“They need to obtain permission from the local authorities… If they go out without permission, they’ll take a cudgel to the head. That’s all there is to it.”