Peskov Putin
Peskov, som er et af ruslands liberales favoritmål til kritik, har været ved Præsidentens side år 2000, og er en af hans mest pålidelige assistenter - en bemærkelsesværdig karriere

Et langt personligt interview med Putins pressesekretær.

Transkription nedenunder:

Kommentar: Denne artikel er delvis oversat til dansk af fra: Meet one of Putin's most trusted aides - an in-depth interview with Dmitry Peskov (VIDEO)

Host: Some people call him "the Kremlin's mouthpiece," others "a public figure of Russian politics." He's a person who lives according to the President's schedule and who's entrusted to present his official position. How to learn to think like the President? What can he say himself and what can't he? Does he have time for his family? Let's ask Vladimir Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov.

Host: Hello!

- Hello!

Dmitry Peskov: "I sit on my perch and check it."

Host: How did he meet Vladimir Putin?

DP: "I was Putin's translator when he was Prime Minister."

We'll ask about Putin's contacts with Poroshenko.

DP: "There are meetings that we don't report."

And the American side.

DP: "It's difficult to move forward without reciprocity."


- Let me help you climb here. Hold on!

- Can such a busy schedule as yours go together with family life?

- Theoretically not, especially with the wife I have.

- We'll learn how many red pants he has in his wardrobe and how he spends weekends.

- We don't go anywhere on Sunday's evening. We all meet in the sauna.

Key Players with Nailya Asker-Zade

Presidential Deputy Chief of Staff and Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov.

Key Players with Nailya Asker-Zade

Host: Dmitry Peskov about himself.

- Do you tell lies?

- I don't.

Host: He's always available for comments. He personally knows many journalists from the Kremlin pool. It was under Dmitry Peskov that a unique form of communication emerged, a daily conference call with journalists over the phone. At the appointed time, the media representatives, around 30-40 people, call Peskov at the same time and can ask him any questions.

- Mr. Peskov, how do you communicate with the press? It's you alone. Does your daily communication with journalists have a system?

- First of all, the press service is huge and it works round the clock. They're in charge of monitoring everything, making digests for the head of the state. They prepare materials for both news agencies and internet resources several times a day. Quite a big pool accompanies the President from the logistics point of view. This pool doesn't have a magic carpet. And, let's say, doesn't appear after waving a magic stick. It's about a huge amount of organizational work, which many of my colleagues here are engaged in,

- Don't drop her!

- I won't!

- Will you climb here? Let me help you climb here. Hold on! Well, go on! Go on.

Host: People are used to seeing the presidential press secretary wearing a suit and a tie. But today is a rare day-off. He can let himself wear track pants and be in no hurry. This unique video shows Dmitry Peskov outside with his daughter Nadya and son Mik.

- Well, probably. Let's go, do you want to go there?

- Dad, catch her!

- What?

- No, there!

- Climb up but hold on! Nadya, careful with your head! I'll catch you here. Nadya, don't go with your head down.

- Legs first.

- Go on, I'll catch you.

- Mr. Peskov, what traditions do you have in your family? We know about one of them. According to Instagram, it's a sauna day together.

- Yes, we don't go anywhere on Sunday evenings usually. We all meet in the sauna. We take a steam-bath together. Just our family. It happens rarely that everyone is present. It happens rarely that we're all together. Because my youngest son and my oldest son don't live with us. But there are moments that we can all be together. These are the happiest and the shortest moments, unfortunately.

- According to Instagram, on weekends, you wear either red pants or shorts. Today, you have a colorful scarf. Is it in contrast to mundaneness?

- It's in contrast to mundaneness, in contrast to the fact that we don't have enough sun, in contrast to, well, you see.

- The snow melted.

- We don't have enough colors. I really like the sea, the sun, I really like bright colors. I think there should be a lot of it in life. When there isn't enough of it in real life, I want to compensate it with something to feel good.

Two years ago, this photo went viral. Later, Dmitry Peskov explained that he went to a carwash at night when there's no people.

- My wardrobe consists of home track pants...

- The red ones?

- The famous red ones. And suits.

- Do you have several of them?

- I do.

- Do you have a designated day off? Saturday, Sunday?

- Most often, it's Sunday. If there are no trips and events, Sunday is a day off. It happens that we work on Sundays. Because the President's schedule excludes any days off. Well, but I most often have a chance to rest on Sundays, but there are so many home and family issues that I have to spend half Sunday...

- Settling them?

- Settling them.

Dmitry Peskov about the President.

- What is that the President doesn't like the most?

- Lies and incompetence.

"- What is it? - It's hot water."

Host: The presidential press secretary's workday isn't standardized. Dmitry Peskov never knows when it'll start and end. We recorded this part of the interview one day before Putin's big press conference, late in the evening.

- It won't be the first time that you host Vladimir Putin's press conference. Are you nervous or not?

- Of course, how can I be not nervous? It's a very difficult event. Though, as I think, Putin is the one who's nervous more than anyone. Because, I guess, no president in the world talks that much with the press and in such a liberal mode as here. He's nervous more than anyone. And the organizers of the event, the technical ones, who I represent, don't sleep on the eve, as a rule.

- Don't you sleep at all? I wanted to ask how many hours you sleep before the conference.

- Few. A minimal amount.

- Are you nervous?

- Of course, I am.

- Are you afraid of unexpected situations?

- I'm afraid of unexpected situations, as the equipment can break down. It can happen at the most important moment, the sound can disappear, the microphone breaks down, something else happens.

- Does Dmitry Peskov come to rescue?

- No, you know, once I felt very uncomfortable, as I was afraid that some uncomfortable questions would be asked to the President.

- What happens then? Do you switch off the microphone?

- No, but with time I understood that there are no uncomfortable questions for the President.

- They can seem uncomfortable only to you?

- Right, they can be uncomfortable for me, but the President easily dissects any uncomfortable question. And, of course, each presidential press conference is a very special and unpredictable drama. The President is also a human being.

"- I lied to you, I'm not a journalist, I got here accidentally. I'm the Murmansk Fish Combinat Board Chairman. You practically...

- It's bad.

- I agree.

- You weren't accredited.

- I agree, it's bad.

- Thank you for telling."

Host: Dmitry Peskov always personally checks whether everything is ready for one of the main events of the year. The meeting takes place right here, in the hall.

- Let's go to your working place.

- Let's go. Here's my chair. It's been mine for many years.

- Is it comfortable?

- It's comfortable, it rotates. It rotates. As you know, the press secretary traditionally starts and hosts the press conference. But at some point, the President gets tired of the press secretary and takes charge of the events.

- The scariest moment.

- He does it in a quite unappealable manner, but what can I do?

"- Can we let our Georgian colleagues ask a question?

Vladimir Putin:

- Just a minute. Let's first let a man from Turkey speak, and then our Georgian colleagues, can we?"

- We talked about the chair, will it be the same next year?

- I don't know. I don't know.

- Where do you see yourself after March 2018?

- Somewhere on public service, I'm a public servant, I grew up in a family of public servants, and it'll be public service anyway. After having been in public service all life, it's impossible to see oneself in business or somewhere else, as I'll be non-compatible, like computers sometimes. I don't know, I haven't even thought about it yet.

Host: Sergey Peskov was Dmitry Peskov's father. He represented our country in the Middle East. He was Russia's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Pakistan and the Sultanate of Oman. So, the future presidential press secretary spent his school years in Arab countries. This photo is from 1974. The future presidential press secretary attended a New Year party in Egypt. This photo was taken during a film audition. But Peskov wasn't approved for the role of a Viking. His face was too kind.

The father's career, without a doubt, affected the son's choice. In 1989, he graduated from the Moscow State University's Institute of Asian and African Studies. Then, he worked at the Soviet at first, and then the Russian embassy in Turkey for several years. By the way, apart from English, which is traditional for a diplomat, Peskov speaks Turkish.

- The Turks have a very good proverb. It means that the mind has only one way. And out all the options of the events' development, the only one in life is the correct one. I think that from the philosophical point of view, especially during our current election campaign, there's only one way.

- Taking into account the rhetoric of the western media, as we can expect anything, as they can accuse us of falsifications and manipulations on the election, are you getting ready for it or not yet?

- We are, as it's quite predictable. As you know, both our President and our country, long before the election but already on its glide path, were massively attacked. They're organized, they're well-produced. We've repelled them and we'll repel them. To be honest, they're all so obvious that, as I think, more and more people in the world and in our country, of course, understand that these attacks are aimed at depriving Russia of a strong leader. Not many like such strong Russia that not only rose from its knees but also straightened its shoulders.

- There are security officials around Putin, liberals. What group are you from?

- You know, I'm a public servant. I'm a public servant currently working in the presidential administration as Putin's press secretary.

- What are your political views? For some time, you supported Zhirinovsky.

- Yes, it's true, I used to support the LDPR and Zhirinovsky, it's true.

- Did you join the party?

- I won't answer that.

- What are your political views today?

- I'm not related to politics. A public servant isn't a politician. Politicians are chosen by people.

- Do you know if Vladimir Putin is planning to spend the election day in Moscow?

- Traditionally, he votes in Moscow. I believe this time he will, too. That is, I don't know his plans yet. You know that the innovations in our election system allow voting from anywhere, but I don't know about President's plans to leave the capital on Election Day.

Host: Let's come back to the International Trade Center, where Dmitry Peskov speaks about technical peculiarities of big press conferences preparation.

- You come here when you check whether everything is fine. What do you do and check?

- First of all, I check where the President will sit and how it's all arranged.

- Do you try his seat?

- No, I don't.

- Are you scared of responsibility?

- Absolutely, absolutely. I think it's inappropriate, the President himself must do it. But I seat on my perch and check it. Everything is about details. Starting with how many pens and notebooks to prepare for the President...

- How many?

- A couple, because one of them will surely not write.

"Elena Glushakova:

- I have a question about the Ukrainian politician Saakashvili. What is his fate in the future of Ukraine, as you think?

Vladimir Putin:

- This man was the president of the independent Georgian state. He's running along squares and shouts, "I'm Ukrainian!" Don't they have real Ukrainians in Ukraine? And Ukraine stands it all. I feel so sorry for them, my heart bleeds."

- The Crimea situation allowed to consolidate the overwhelming majority of the population around the President. And it's a uniquely overwhelming majority of the population. And, of course, the fact that, despite having been at the top of power for 18 years, Putin will now run for president... I, as a Russian citizen, am sure that he'll win and I hope it'll be one more convincing victory. The fact that the population supports him that much is a record for world politics, and it's an unprecedented one.

Host: Last year, a record number of participants were accredited for the press conference. 1600 people. There were representatives of 10 foreign media among them. Western journalists were not only allowed to the conference but were allowed to speak.

Vladimir Putin: "You're interesting guys. Didn't you notice that your Congressmen, Senators, they look so good, they wear shirts and suits. They seem to be clever people. They put us together with North Korea and Iran."

- After the approbation of the foreign agents media law, how are you going to work with these journalists? I'm not talking just about the press conference. Our parliamentarians want to deprive them of the access to the Duma and the Federation Council.

- This is a responsive measure that followed what Americans did with RT. That's why such an uncompromising responsive reaction from our parliamentarians is understandable and can be explained.

- In the last two years, there were several informational attacks against you.

- Well, there were attacks, and there'll probably be more in some way. I developed some immunity and started treating them with humor.

Host: The Direct Line is one more format of President's commutation with people. The first broadcast took place December 24, 2001. That was a complicated and unique TV format. Nothing like it exists in the world. It's an opportunity for people to directly address the President, to ask a question or simply thank him.

"- I'm listening to you, good afternoon!

- Is it you?

- It is. I'm listening.

- Is it really you?

- Really.

- It was you before, wasn't it?

- It was.

- My God, thank you so much for everything."

The 15th Direct Line was held in 2017.

- Will this format be preserved or will there be something new?

- I don't know, it depends on the President, on his decision. If the President thinks that this format provides the best way for his communication with the people, I'm sure he'll decide to keep it.

- During the Direct Line, are questions prepared in advance or is there something improvised?

- No, they aren't prepared at all. There's the same preparation, we prepare references, it's not a secret. We involve a lot of ministries. The Government does a lot when providing information. I hope that the idea of the Direct Line will be kept, but its form will be improved.

- You've already said that information is prepared for the President and he relies on it. How much does he rely on it and are there any improvisations?

- There are improvisations, as we prepare the information we see necessary, but the President has different sources. He has the whole range and sometimes uses the information we weren't going to prepare.

- So, those hard-hitting phrases of his never come from you? Those anecdotes.

- No, of course, not. In this case, I'll repeat one more time, he uses a wider range of information sources.

- Well, he doesn't find these anecdotes in a newspaper either.

- He has friends that tell him anecdotes, he's a human being after all.

Vladimir Putin: "An anecdote about the Israeli Army. Well... A young soldier was asked what would he do if 20 terrorists attacked him. He said, "I'll take an Uzi and start shooting." "Good job! And if tanks attack you?" "I'll take a mine thrower and defend myself." "Good job! And if planes, tanks, and terrorists come all together?" He said, "General, Sir, am I fighting alone in our army?"

- Did you graduate from the Institute of Asian and African Studies?

- Yes.

- They also trained spies with good command of foreign languages in this Institute. Did you work as a spy, like our President? Did they offer you?

- No, they never offered me, but it's true that many of my colleagues later worked at what was called the KGB. Because they trained and are training unique Orientalists. Their programs are ones of the best in the world. In the world, especially in the East, you can proudly say that you're the IAAS graduate, and they treat you differently, with respect.

Host: In his diploma, Peskov has the specialties of a historian and an Orientalist, as well as an interpreter consultant. It was the knowledge of Turkish that helped him move up the career ladder. In 1999, during an OSCE summit in Istanbul, Peskov became former president's Boris Yeltsin's personal translator for several says. Then, it was also the knowledge of Turkish that played a role in getting to know Vladimir Putin.

- Have you ever translated from Turkish for our President?

- I have, I have even translated for Putin when he was Prime Minister, and Turkish Prime Minister of the time came with a visit, Bülent Ecevit, he's dead now. He was a brilliant Turkish politician. Back then, I was sent on a business trip from Ankara to Moscow to translate to the young Prime Minister Putin. It was unique. By the way, I remembered it when I came to Moscow and started working in the presidential administration.

- Was it your first meeting?

- Well, not quite. When the Chairman of the Government holds talks, he doesn't pay attention to the translator.

- Did you see him for the first time back then?

- I did.

- Did you think back then that once...

- No, I didn't. I didn't at all.

- That you'll work so closely.

- No, I didn't.

- Did you translate from Turkish for other presidents?

- Yes, I translated for Yeltsin. In fact, I translated from Turkish for all top officials. A couple of times I translated for Putin while working in the press service. It happened so.

- Was there no one else around?

- Once I offered my own services, once it happened accidentally.

Dmitry Peskov about himself.

- You're often called the Kremlin's mouthpiece, does it offend you?

- No, it doesn't.

Peskov has been working with Putin for 17 years. At first, he managed the work of journalists at the presidential administration, then at the government. He's spent the last 9 years working as the irreplaceable press secretary.

- Can such a busy schedule as yours go together with the family life?

- Theoretically not, especially with the wife I have. Because she has the same situation. Especially now, when she was directing her own show, her performance. We both have business trips. I come home at night, and she goes to work at night, as it's not that easy to find an ice rink in Moscow, it's complicated. It's complicated, we miss each other. On the other side, many people live like this. Almost everybody works a lot.

Host: Dmitry Peskov's wife is the famous ice dancer Tatyana Navka. She's a two-time World champion and an Olympic champion. They met in 2010. Nafka told that Dmitry Peskov didn't know she was an ice dancer. The wedding took place in the summer of 2015.

- Nadya, do you know who your father is?

- Yes.

- Who?

- Ruslan.

- Ruslan?

- And why Ruslan? Tell us. Because who is your mom?

- Ludmila.

- Your mom is Ludmila, like in Ruslan and Ludmila.

Host: Musical on Ice Ruslan and Ludmila. Ruslan and Ludmila is Tatyana Navka's New Year show. The ice dancer worked for almost half a year on this project. Endless rehearsals and trainings. Her friends, colleagues, and, of course, the dearest ones came to the opening. Dmitry Peskov, holding Nadya, patiently waited for the beginning of the show in the hall together with all guests. Tatyana Nafka left her makeup room to see her husband just for a minute. She was very nervous, but everything went perfectly.

- For Tatyana, sports is her job. Vladimir Putin is also actively engaged in sports. Swimming, hockey.

- Swimming, sports gym, hockey, he still does a bit of fighting. He trains every day.

- Being surrounded by such people, it's difficult to resist sports. How do you keep fit?

- I also do some sports, I try to do it regularly. I scold myself for not doing it every day like Putin.

- You probably don't have time.

- Well, he has even less time than us. Anyway, he does sports regularly. He's an example in this.

The Peskovs have a busy schedule. Three-year-old Nadya does gymnastics, studies Chinese and English.

- Well done! Now, in Chinese! How do you count with Lilya?

- Well done! Can I applaud you?

- Bravo!

- When you grow up, you want to be as big and clever as your dad, or as big and clever as your mom?

- As my mom.

- Why not as your dad?

- I'm a girl and a mom.

October 17 last year, Dmitry Peskov turned 50. His younger daughter prepared an unusual present for the anniversary. This is a video from the personal archive.

"I love my dad very much."

- Mr. Peskov, as we know, Tatyana gives you watches on big celebrations. Yes, including watches. If it's not a secret, what and when did you give her last time?

- Well, last time... What did I give her? I haven't given her anything for a long time.

- There should be an improvement.

- Right.

- She had an opening!

- Now, I have several days to think of a present for her. But I try to give her flowers regularly. It's good you reminded me of the present.

- There should be an improvement.

- Right.

- Are you planning more children?

- No, I have enough, I have many. In this sense, I made my contribution to the demographic problem settlement in our country. I think it's enough. The more the children grow up, the more problems appear, which need to be settled.

Host: Dmitry Peskov is father to many kids. He has five children. Three sons: Nikolai, Danny, and Mik, this shy guy in a black jacket, and two daughters: Elizaveta and Nadezhda.

- What kind of father is Mr. Peskov? Is he strict or liberal, on the contrary?

- He's quite strict. Of course, when there are situations in which he needs to be strict, he always shows his character.

- I'm not too strict, am I?

- Not too strict, but strict, anyway.

- Does he lecture you? For a reason or without one?

- Of course, for a reason. For a reason, we're fighting for good grades.

- Are you? But you probably have no time to come to the school.

- No, unfortunately. During the whole time, I was at the parents' meeting just once.

- It was in the second grade.

- Which grade in are you now?

- The 8th.

- You'll definitely come to the graduation, won't you?

- We'll see. We'll see what the grades will be. Time passes by extremely fast. In a bit of time, he'll pass the state exams, enter the university. I make him read a lot. What is the problem of today's youth? All these gadgets. And the lack of the desire to read.

- Do you call each other or send texts?

- Of course, I call my dad every evening when I have a chance. We text each other.

- He lives quite independently because when Mik leaves, I'm still asleep. And he is most often asleep when I come back from work. That's why we communicate over the phone. We see each other on the weekends.

- Do you go to the sauna together?

- Yes, he likes it a lot. When it's snowing, when we're lucky and it's snowing, we run out naked and jump into the snow. That feels good.

- So you see your dad on TV more often.

- Yes. It happens.

Host: We can see Peskov not only on Russian but also on Western TV channels. Especially after the Ukrainian coup, which the West supported, and the Donbass conflict. Now, Russia is trying to restore relations with its Eastern neighbor. One of the latest initiatives was to transfer military and other equipment from the Crimea to Ukraine.

- What else needs to be done for the Donbass situation not to get prolonged for decades?

- Only the Minsk Agreements. They are the only documents that we have and that were agreed upon. None of the countries or parties to the conflict or the guarantor countries ever said that the Minsk Agreements lost their force because in the current situation, it'd have meant a total disaster. As no one knows if we'll be able to agree on a new document. And of course, in this case, we don't even discuss the absence of alternatives to the fulfillment of the Minsk Agreements.

- When was the last time that Vladimir Putin spoke to Petr Poroshenko? Last year, there were meetings about which the press was informed some months later.

- Well, the President has a huge number of meetings and contacts which are not public and about which we don't inform, it's normal. When you see the President's busy working day, which consists of dozen different meetings, press conferences, statements, talks, and so on, it doesn't mean that his working day is limited to just that. It's much busier and consists of more things than you can see on TV. Indeed, there are meetings about which we don't inform the media.

- Including phone talks?

- There are different phone talks about which we don't make public statements either.

- Is it also about Donald Trump?

- As a rule, those few contacts with Donald Trump that took place during the last year were reflected in the respective releases.

Dmitry Peskov about his boss.

- Do you know the phrase "call on the carpet?"

- I do.

- Were you called?

- I was.

- Often?

- No, thank God.

- On what occasions?

- I won't say.

- Does the President raise his voice at you?

- I won't say either.

Host: Preparing a bilateral meeting with world leaders always takes much time and effort. It's especially difficult when the countries are practically in a state of a cold war. In November, during the APEC summit in Vietnam, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump talked to each other several times, even if just briefly. But the planned full-scale meeting of the two leaders never took place.

- If we're to talk about the meeting in Vietnam, it didn't take place the way it was initially planned. Was there some error correction?

- We were ready. We were initially ready.

- We were or they were? Or both?

- I can't speak for the White House. I can speak for us, we were ready, we wanted and needed to hold it. Because the current state of our bilateral relations demands contacts at the higher level. That's our two countries' interest, that will benefit the world's stability and security, and its atmosphere as a whole. The main thing here is Putin's words, I want to remind you of them. He said that Russia is ready to go as far in the relations with the US as the US is ready itself. Without any mutuality, it's difficult to go further.

- That is, there are no talks about a new meeting.

- No, there are none so far. We aren't planning an independent meeting. It's clear that Russia's President will have this or that opportunity to talk with the US President on the sidelines of the upcoming multilateral international events. But there are none coming soon. That is, it's a medium-term perspective.

- That is, in the second half of the year.

- Yes, in the second half of the year.

- Don't you think that if it weren't for internal factors in the US, our presidents could have good relations?

- I do. Moreover, we're sure it's true. Because, of course, let's say, we hardly have the right to assess what's going on in the US, in its internal politics, despite the accusations against our country, but, anyway, it's obvious that the internal situation is unfavorable for our country. At the same time, we must recognize the fact that in the most difficult situations, there are contacts, for example, on Syria through military contacts about the most sensitive questions. We all know that there have been and there are contacts between special services. It means that there's potential and it's big. We just need to drive the whole complex of bilateral relations out of the deadlock they are still in.

- Do relations between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump have perspectives?

- There are, and as much as I can say, their contacts are quite well-intentioned.

Host: Dmitry Peskov about the Russia-US relations.

- How would you characterize today's Russia-US relations in one word?

- Collapse.

- One more challenge that we're waiting for is the new US sanctions list. We've discussed different information. They say there are as many as 1,000 Russian names. Are you getting ready for this challenge?

- Who do you mean by "you?"

- The Kremlin.

- The Kremlin.

- It can't be that there are no discussions.

- First of all, we need to think of preventive measures for our economy. And, of course, both the Cabinet and the President, who's in constant dialog with the ministers, have long ago worked out all the preventive measures to protect ourselves from possible risks.

- Why is it happening this way? Vladimir Putin had good relations with many Western leaders. Berlusconi, Schröder, and even Bush Jr. What happened? Does he have no one to speak to? Or is it just impossible in new geopolitical conditions?

- You know, ancient Chinese used to say "I wish you lived when changes take place." It's like a horrible curse. Unfortunately, we're living in the time when changes are taking place in the whole frame of reference of international relations, international trade relations, and the international legal system. After several breaches of international law by various countries, including the US, such tectonic shifts take place. Leaders used to be more sovereign, they were the leaders that suited Putin more in the matter of freedom of actions, decisiveness, professionalism. And it was easier for him to make agreements with them. Now, it can be said that there are fewer such leaders.

- Who are they?

- It'd be incorrect to call names, but it's obvious that there are fewer of them. I think Putin is the most experienced, the most knowledgeable, the most talented world leader. And the most responsible as he bears responsibility for his words. There are few people in the world who can be compared to him.

Host: Dmitry Peskov about what's most important.

- Every day, you talk to the most influential person in the world. What do you feel when you think of it?

- That's luck, that's the luck of my whole life.