August 12th, 2008
11:00 AM ET
11 years ago

McCain: Putin wants 'to restore the old Russian empire'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="McCain sharpened his criticism of Putin Tuesday."]
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (CNN) - John McCain is turning up the heat on Moscow, and accusing Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of wanting to “restore the old Russian empire.”

McCain’s comments came in an interview with Harrisburg public radio WITF, in which he hammered Putin for continuing to wield power since leaving the presidency behind earlier this year and installing his hand-picked successor, Dmitry Medvedev.

Watch: McCain says 'we are all Georgians'

“I don’t think there’s any doubt who is still by far the most powerful and influential person in Russia,” McCain said, arguing that Putin’s “personal control” of the military “indicates his position of power.”

“Of course we have to deal with Russia and we deal with Putin,” McCain said. “But it has to be on a very realistic basis. And not one that there’s any illusions about his ambitions.”

Watch: McCain condemns Russia

He then accused Putin of wanting to restore Russia to the days of czardom, when a monarchy exerted broad control over parts of Asia and eastern Europe.

“I think it’s very clear that Russian ambitions are to restore the old Russian Empire,” he said. “Not the Soviet Union, but the Russian Empire.”

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soundoff (315 Responses)
  1. rlp-politcal

    Tell McOld just say he wants a war.... this is the war they said they needed to win...

    we put up with this crap – I quess if one politican is serving your need you could give a dam about others

    August 12, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. RyanD.

    War-Monger McCain is at it again!

    Obama 08'

    August 12, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. Mike, TX

    I find it telling that McCain is using this opportunity to warn of the dangers of Russian imperialism while Obama vacations in Hawaii.

    Obama is the poster child of a "Not Ready for Prime Time" leader.

    August 12, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Geez, McWarmonger. What the he– are you trying to do? Start world war three?

    You have no diplomacy, no sense !!!!!!

    Shut up !!!!!!! You are NOT the president. You are an elitist presumptuous old demented fool. Get off the stage.

    August 12, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |


    So McCain, let’s get this straight (talk), we shouldn’t have voted for and entered into an unwarranted war but it was ok that you and Bush did?

    August 12, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. Independent-Latina-for-OBAMA

    Lord have mercy! THE OLD RUSSIAN EMPIRE??????? THE CZARS?
    Or Lenin???????? RIDICULOUS!

    This shows how McCain is our past, and Sen. Obama our future. Let's move on, America!

    Really, the Bush/Cheney/McCain people, DO NOT have a leg to stand on! They have lost all power to influence and lost the MORAL HIGH-GROUND WHEN .........WE.......INVADED.........A SOVEREIGN NATION......... IRAQ!

    August 12, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. ProudToBeDemocrat

    How does Mccain know Putin ambitions to restore the old Russian Empire, I tell you this guy is a warmonger God forbid he is elected president he will wadge a war with any country he does not like. I hope any pray that will never happen. My advice to my fellow Americans is vote democrat vote for Obama time for change.

    August 12, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. James From Chicago

    McCain Is absolutly right.. We need to beware of Russia. I agree with
    McCain they are not to be trusted.

    August 12, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. The Truth

    gotta call them out early and call them out hard.

    August 12, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. Adrian Veidt

    Sounds like John McWar is looking for opportunities!

    How many wars will this man start? What will satisfy his bloodlust? He wants 100 years in Iraq, can't wait to invade Iran and now wants Russia as well.

    August 12, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. Joe Kiloz

    As someone with roots from this region of the world, who escaped this tyranny, I applaud Mr. McCain for his analysis and approach.

    The West has remained quiet and turned its head the other way time after time, despite seeing Mr. Putin lead this country to its old anarchical ways.

    Lets not forget the Russians are diametrically opposed to everything we stand for, and have no qualms of supporting our enemies materially including conducting operations in our own soil.

    We support the people of Russia, but not its government nor Mr. Putin.

    August 12, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. Dan, TX

    Next Obama will be saying that Putin wants to restore the old Russia Empire. Let's get our own oil and bring back our empire. Oh I forgot, Nancy won't let us vote while she is enjoying her 5 week vacation. Talk about out of touch......

    August 12, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. RSR

    The cold war never ended...the Russians just put a different 'face' on it.
    America is slowly being destroyed from within. Obama will surely speed this up!!!

    August 12, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. Craig

    Johnny Mac wants to play Bolshevik to Putins Mongol hoard. Go for it Mac, and don't come back.

    August 12, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    "the old Russian empire"...and mccain's thinking, 'finally, an event from MY generation that i can actually remember, those czars were real bad guys...'

    mccain is just slobbering with excitement over the possibility of more war, and doing whatever he can to keep it fueled. dont buy their "john mccain is good on foreign policy" line of BS, folks, this guy would get us into serious trouble all over the world.

    and voting him in shows the world something, not just that we are a TOTALLY STUPID country, but that we want this war-mongering creep to represent us in worldwide matters-a guy who doesnt even know the BORDERS of the countries in the middle east, i mean come on, people, THAT IS INEXCUSABLE!!!

    August 12, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. Tony

    John McCain is delusional! He needs to be put in a home.

    August 12, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. Chris

    I bet you McCain can't wait for another War! He wants to put his finger on the button soooo bad!

    Forget healthcare! Forget the economy! Forget America – the real John McCain!

    August 12, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Jeniffer

    Well, Bush is trying to install his hand-picked successor, McCain.

    August 12, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. People make no sense

    Liars at work again: McLiar and company.

    While the administration yesterday recalled the days of Soviet empire, the Russians suggested that invaders and occupiers of Iraq lacked the moral authority to offer criticism. In remarks broadcast on state television, Putin, now Russia's premier, decried Western "cynicism" for defending what he said was Georgian aggression against separatist enclaves in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. "They, of course, had to hang Saddam Hussein for destroying several Shiite villages," he said of the United States.

    Judgement you can believe in.

    August 12, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. Andrew in OR

    Wow thats not looking for a war...I hope his voters are willing to volunteer.

    August 12, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Debby

    I agree after this Georgian invasion it seems Putin is pulling the strings again behind the scenes.

    August 12, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  22. Windy/Canada

    All you silly america should be quite bcuz you nation nolonger has the moral justification to tell other nation what to do in time like this.You destroyed Iraq,devided Sebia and recognise a part of it as independent nation.What do you expect of other nations?

    August 12, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. Alex

    this guys makes his conclusions way too fast... "pressing the red button" 2 mins later, oh wait I was wrong

    August 12, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. Sexy Jesus

    Yay – more fear and war!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 12, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. Typical White Person

    Here come the Obamabots yelling "McWar", etc. instead of asking themselves if he might just be right. Will they bother to think about what Putin did in the last election in Russia? No, they will just make hateful remarks about McCains age and his military record.

    August 12, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
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