Moscow, Sep 16 (UNI) It is as candid as candid can get. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has increasingly become outspoken in the aftermath of the Russia-Georgia conflict over South Ossetia.
''A recent meeting of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin with members of the Valdai International Discussion Club has confirmed major changes in his behaviour,'' prestigious Russian daily newspaper Vedomosti said.
''Mr Putin as President rarely used sharp words, for example about wasting someone in the loo, or about circumcision. At least he did not permit two such shocking phrases per function,'' it said.
''As Prime Minister, he has become much more sharp and outspoken and is speaking quite differently,'' the paper stressed, asking, ''Or is he simply saying what he is thinking now?'' Mr Putin's meeting with members of the Valdai International Discussion Club last week was awash with rough words.
He said about Russia's allegedly disproportionate use of force in the conflict in South Ossetia, ''Did you expect us to wipe our bleeding nose and bow our head down? What did you expect us to do, wield a stationery knife there? Did you expect us to fight with slingshots?'' The paper said,''He probably said more, but we will never know because the larger part of the meeting was held behind closed doors.'' ''It looks as if Mr Putin, after ceding his post to Mr Dmitry Medvedev, sees no reason for restraint. As President, he represented Russia and had to speak in a civilised manner. But the Prime Minister must work, not make nice speeches,'' it pointed out.
''In his new role, Mr Putin feels more like the national leader than ever before, something all the members of the Valdai Club have noticed. Moreover, he understands his leadership differently now,'' it said.
''He no longer represents the interests of Russians but has become father to them, and fathers punish their kids for bad behaviour and protect them from old enemies,'' Vedomosti said.
''This is probably why Mr Putin is twice as popular with Russians as Mr Medvedev, according to a recent poll by the Levada Centre,'' it noted.
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