Yury Abisov (Berkut): Good afternoon.
Mr President, here’s what I’d like to say. Our squad was in Kiev when the Maidan took power from Yanukovych. They burned us, threw stones and opened fire at us. Dozens of fighters were killed, hundreds were wounded, but we had an order not to shed blood. After that we were betrayed.
I have a question. You have known Mr Yanukovych for a long time, [you knew him] when he was President. Has he always been such a wimp and a turncoat? Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: You know, there is a Russian saying: “Heavy lies the crown.” The burden of responsibility on the shoulders of a head of state, whether large or small, is great. In critical moments, one relies on his or her own personal experience and moral values.
As for Mr Yanukovych, he fulfilled his duty in the way he considered possible and appropriate [really???]. Certainly, I spoke with him many times during the crisis and after he arrived in the Russian Federation. We talked about the possibility of using force, among other things. There can be different attitudes to this, but the essence of his answer was that he thought of using force many times but he said that he did not have the heart to sign the order to use force against his citizens.
As far as the Berkut is concerned, you and your colleagues undoubtedly fulfilled your duty honestly, professionally and honourably. This evokes respect for you and all your soldiers. After all, what happened to you and the way your colleagues are treated now in Kiev will come back to bite the Ukrainian state. You can’t humiliate the soldiers who protect the state’s interests, or force them to their knees, or malign them [as Strelkov and his comrades?], or deprive them of medical assistance when they are in hospital. I know that Berkut officers who are in hospital do not receive proper treatment or even food.
Our numerous appeals to the Kiev authorities to allow us to take everyone in have gone unanswered. If a state treats people who honestly fulfil their duty like this, such a state can hardly count on others to behave similarly in the future [does this also apply to the Russian PWOs im Ukraine, Russian officers officially disowned by Russia?].
Actually, this is what we are seeing now. I think that eventually everyone will realise how professionally and honourably you executed your order, and they will thank you for it.
Kirill Kleymenov: Many of the callers point to historical allusions in the Ukrainian events. Valery Klimov from the Sverdlovsk Region described a concrete situation: “President of Chile Salvador Allende died fighting for his country, while the President of Ukraine fled his country. Would you fight to the bitter end for your country’s independence?”
Vladimir Putin: First, I don’t agree that Yanukovych fled. He had to leave, but he did not flee from Kiev; he was on a regional trip while the presidential administration and government buildings were taken over in Kiev in breach of a signed agreement.
When Yanukovych signed the agreement on February 21, which was guaranteed by three European foreign ministers from Poland, France and Germany, he believed that this agreement would be honoured. Under it, Yanukovych pledged not to use the army or other armed force against protesters and to pull the Interior Ministry units, including the Berkut, out of Kiev, while the opposition was to withdraw from the occupied administrative buildings, dismantle the barricades and disarm its fighters. Yanukovych agreed to hold early parliamentary elections, to return to the 2004 constitution and to hold presidential elections in December 2014. Had they wanted it, he would have agreed to hold presidential elections in a month or a month and a half, because he was ready to agree to anything. But as soon as he left Kiev and pulled the Interior Ministry units out of the city, the opposition renewed its attacks, seizing the presidential administration building, among other government buildings and accomplishing a coup d’état in the full and classical meaning of the word. No one can say why they did it, why they acted so unprofessionally and unwisely, and why [really? "no one can say why ...?] they pushed the country towards the current situation. There is no answer.
As for me, you know that the decisions we take in a critical situation depend on our experience and values. You know that I worked for the Soviet Union’s KGB, or, more precisely, foreign intelligence, where we were trained in a specific manner that boils down to absolute loyalty to people and the country [it was thee KGB that played the central and instrumental part in destroying the Soviet Union and unleashing the criminal privatization and the power of Russian mafia-like oligarchy]. http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/20796
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Back on April 17, 2014, Putin was asked a point-blank question about treason and cowardice of post-communist leaders
Back on April 17, 2014, a former Berkut policeman and then right after another person asked Putin about his views on the evident treason and cowardice of a leader (Yanukovich in this case). This is how Putin answered and handled the question--by largely dodging it: