Pavel Zarubin: Mr President, hello.
Excuse me, can I have just a minute of your time, please? Right before the ceremony [for presenting the Hero of Labour medals and the Russian Federation National Awards], tragic news arrived on the passing of Silvio Berlusconi. You had special friendly ties with him. Can I ask you for a few words about his role in Russian-Italian relations and in global politics?
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Yes. He was indeed a politician of European, and it can be said, of global scale. There are few people like him in the international arena nowadays. He was a good friend of our people and did a lot to develop business-like and friendly relations between Russia and the European countries.
He initiated relations between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance. It was with his assistance and on his initiative that respective interaction mechanisms were created.
But he was primarily Italy’s politician, of course. He was an unusual person for a politician because he was very sincere and open-hearted. He also had a privilege that politicians of this scale lack – the privilege of saying what he meant.
I am very sorry. I want to express heartfelt sorrow and condolences to Italian people and all of Mr Berlusconi’s family and friends. It is a great loss not only for Italy but also for global politics.