Russian President Vladimir Putin says ‘Brexit’ is the choice made by the British nation and is a comprehensible one, as “no one wants to feed weak economies.” Russia has not and does not plan to interfere with the results of the referendum, he added.
“I think it’s comprehensible why this happened: first, no one wants to feed and subsidize poorer economies, to support other states, support entire nations,” the Russian president said at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Tashkent.
“Apparently the British people are not satisfied with the way problems are being solved in the security sphere, these problems have become more acute lately with the migration processes,” Putin said, suggesting the second reason for the British people to have voted ‘out.’
The Russian president’s comments come in reply to UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s claims that “Putin would be happy if the UK left the EU.”
The president says such claims were an ill-posed attempt to influence the general opinion of the British public.
“But as we see now, even claims like these have not had the effect desired by those who made them. No one has the right to make claims on Russia’s position, especially after the votes were counted. This is nothing but an example of a low level of political culture,” Putin said.
Russia analyst Martin McCauley believes that naming Russia and Vladimir Putin as part of the reason for the Brexit can be explained by the fact that the UK government is reluctant to face the truth and acknowledge its own failures in economic, social and political areas.
“They have to find a bad guy, they have to find a reason why they lost. It becomes a blame game and therefore Vladimir Putin is a bad guy in Europe, and therefore he is the first one you blame instead of looking at the reasons for the defeat,” McCauley told RT.
The Russian head of state noted that Moscow has never interfered with the British referendum and never made any statements on the matter.
“I believe we acted rather tactfully, watching the situation closely, but never interfering with the process. We’ve never even tried to affect it,” Putin added.
The president also said the British referendum will undoubtedly have consequences, but at the moment it is hard to tell whether these will be good or bad.
“For the UK, Europe and for [Russia] this referendum is sure to have consequences […] of a global sort. They are inescapable. There will be both positive and negative ones.
The markets will surely lose ground, they have done so already, but in the midterm everything will be restored, surely,” Putin predicted.
He added however, that the UK citizens’ choice resulted from the British authorities’ “arrogance and a shallow approach to solving pivotal issues.”
“[Brexit] will not lead to any sort of a global catastrophe. Certainly, we will monitor the situation and if need be adjust both our economic policy and our relations with European partners,” Putin continued.
He also said that Russia is ready to start a functional dialogue concerning mutual sanctions, and if the EU will make concessions, Russia will do the same.
“I don’t think [Brexit] will influence our relations with the EU concerning sanctions. We were not the ones who started the sanctions in the first place, we only answered the actions taken against our country,” he stated.
President Putin linked the results of the British referendum to the high concentration of power within the EU structure.
“The percentage of mandatory decisions made by the European Parliament is larger than that of mandatory decisions made by the High Council of the USSR concerning its member-republics. This means that the powers are highly concentrated within [the administrative body of the EU],” the Russian president said.
“Perhaps some are satisfied with this state of affairs, some do want to move along this road of dissolving the national borders, but some don’t. As the referendum results have shown, the majority of Britons don’t want to follow this path,” Putin added.
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