He went on: "The world needs such a powerful country as the United States. And we also need it. But we don’t need them to constantly interfere in our affairs and tell us how to live and prevent Europe to build relations with us."
His remarks may seem a surprise given the events of the past year: In Syria, Ukraine and other fronts, Moscow has worked at times almost diametrically against the interests of Washington, with little evidence of harboring any "need" for the United States and a lot of bluster about resisting an American agenda.
Putin, of course, resents the rounds of sanctions placed on his government and allies by the United States and its European partners. He has been markedly at odds with President Obama in recent years. Perhaps he's looking forward to the prospect of a more like-minded figure sitting in the White House.
The affinity between Putin and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been well-documented, including by WorldViews. While many in Washington view the Russian leader as a dangerous demagogue, Trump has seen him as a strongman he can do business with.
"The overwhelming consensus among American political and national security leaders has held that Putin is a pariah who disregards human rights and has violated international norms in seeking to regain influence and territory in the former Soviet bloc," The Washington Post wrote in a recent report on Trump's financial ties to Russia.
That is not the conclusion drawn by Trump, who, while inveighing against all sorts of foreign governments — from Iran's theocratic regime to China's currency-manipulating elites — makes conspicuously warm gestures toward Moscow. "I believe an easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia — from a position of strength — is possible," Trump said in an April foreign policy speech.
Putin, meanwhile, indicated that he sought a "restoration" of relations with the United States. These are comments he is expected to repeat in a news interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, to be broadcast Sunday.
Putin's seeming acknowledgment of American supremacy Friday would please Trump, who constantly complains that the rest of the world no longer respects U.S. strength.
Moreover, the former reality TV star would perhaps also tacitly approve of some of Putin's other comments. The Russian leader argued against NATO's mooted expansion in Eastern Europe and bemoaned the United States' supposed "unilateral actions" on the international stage. This jibes with Trump's own dismissal of NATO's "outdated mission and structure," as well as his opposition to U.S. interventions in the Middle East.
And the Kremlin's embrace of both a muscular post-Soviet nationalism and staunch belief in the sovereignty of states (unless they happen to be Ukraine) would find common cause with Trump's broader distrust of the liberal international order.
"I am skeptical of international unions that tie us up and bring America down, and will never enter America into any agreement that reduces our ability to control our own affairs," Trump said in April.
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