Question: Did you sleep well before these elections?
Vladimir Putin: I usually do. Not because I'm indifferent to what is happening. On the contrary, because, I think, a person in my position should not attract the attention of voters in the wrong way, using certain pre-election tricks two months, two weeks, or especially two days before the election. It was necessary to show over four years that one knows the problems people face, is prepared to solve them, and that one is in fact doing this. And whether one has the right to continue the job will be clear from the election results.
Question: What do you think of the new electronic vote-counting system?
Vladimir Putin: I think it is effective. At least, it makes it possible to get the election results quickly, and in my opinion this is very important.
Question: Can it be said that elections have already become a stable democratic institution?
Vladimir Putin: I think that the problems we face today are linked to what happened in the past, because here the people and power were always very distant from each other. A feeling of participation in events taking place should of course come as the years go by. We remember the situation two or three years ago, when in municipal formations, i.e. in small villages and towns, elected officials whom everyone knew suddenly disappeared during the most difficult periods of the so-called ”winter maximum“, because they were hiding from difficulties. But they were elected to their positions. I must say that at any level, even at the highest level, abandoning one’s duties in difficult situations can always happen. And voters should of course understand the degree of responsibility when they cast their vote. I repeat: this requires a certain amount of time, and it seems to me that our country is no worse – in fact, I am certain of this – than other countries, and people have be aware of their responsibility when they cast their vote. And this is in fact the case.
Question: How do you feel about your rivals in these elections?
Vladimir Putin: I have always felt great respect for my rivals since the time when I was actively involved in sport. I was taught this by my sports instructors and trainers. If only because these people have done you the honour of fighting with you one on one, on the mat, as we used to say. In my opinion, all these people are worthy opponents, and we will know the result tomorrow, at least the preliminary result.
Question: What are your plans for today?
Vladimir Putin: We just mentioned sport, and quite recently, as you know, I met with our Olympic athletes, and some of them invited me to see how they train and live. Right now, I plan to visit our boxers, the Russian boxing team, who in my opinion, without any exaggeration, achieved an outstanding result – they won nine out of the 11 medals at the recent European championship. Russia hasn't seen a result like this for a long time. I am simply curious to see them training. So I'll go and watch them for an hour or so.
Question: And where will you be tonight? Are you going to stop by the headquarters?
Vladimir Putin: I'll be at home tonight. But I will also stop by the headquarters. Thank you.