"Today the state, using absolutely legal market mechanisms, is securing its interests. I consider this to be quite normal." As Russia moves toward greater centralization, Putin's remarks amounted to a restatement of his existing positions. They were also an explanation of views that are driving the nation in an autocratic direction. And they were notable at moments for their defiant tone, and even for the president's sharply personal lines of attack. Speaking of a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Texas, who had issued an injunction last week trying to block the auction of Yuganskneftegaz, the Yukos subsidiary, Putin used a manner surprisingly harsh for a head of state. "I am not even sure that the judge knows where Russia is," he said at an annual holiday-season press conference in the Kremlin.
"... SECURING THE INTERESTS OF THE STATE..." - These are chilling words (reinforced by many anti-reform/anti-libertarian deeds) spoken by a megalomaniac young enough to rule Russian with an iron fist for another two decades. SCARY.