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.”

Filed under: John McCain • Popular Posts
soundoff (315 Responses)
  1. kennywest

    Would anyone disagree that we need an intelligent leader. When I say this no matter what side your on, does McCain come to mind?

    August 12, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. Kathy

    Does he realize that they aren't communist any more? Does he realize that they are a democratic country? Does he even know his name or when he soils himself? McGramps is really a pot calling a kettle black on this one!

    August 12, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. McCain's Motivation

    1950's Cold War Mentality going on here. This man's only hope of getting into the white house is by waving a flag of fear and security threats. This would be what his entire term serving as president would be like.

    August 12, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. jen

    War = Viagra in McWars mind...

    August 12, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. An observer on Aruba

    The "I told you so" theory from McCain does not work for me. It's because of mismanagement from the Bush administration of the relationship with the Russians that makes it all messy.

    McCain is the first to scream from the rooftops that the Russian can't be trusted. Here is where I see a bright future for Obama. I believe that Obama can alter the mind-set of the Russians and try to make everybody work together as much as possible with respect of who you are.

    Americans are the first to say "Together we are strong!", but are generally not the first in row to act on it. Here is where Obama comes in to motivate people to do so.

    I think McCain must accept that the United States of America is NOT so strong anymore as it use to be, and have to lower his tone a bit.

    The "I don't know so we bomb them" or "I don't understand thus I bomb" mentality will kill us all.

    August 12, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. Gene

    So... Anyone know housing prices in Australia? Because if McCain gets elected... I'm moving as far away as possible from this continent. Sorry... I have no intention of being part of WW3 with McCain at the helm.

    August 12, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. a southern bell for OBAMA











    August 12, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. Ted

    The Soviet Union has been plotting for years on a way to restore their glory days of Russian control. Glad McCain sees this for what it really is.

    Our next President will have to deal with this issue. We have enough enemies at the moment – we don't another one – especially one from the Cold War mentality.

    August 12, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. Obama supporter:White, 60 year old woman

    McCain, who helped America lose its moral authority to criticize others when he advocated for and supported the invasion of Iraq and when the outrageous condemnation of its allies when they blasted them as not joining them in this invasion that the US supported, helped and armed Suddam Hussein, is using the Georgia incident to appeal to neocons and fear mongers.

    The countries leading the diplomatic effort are France and Finland, two countries that the US has constantly belittled. This man will not be able to garner any more real support and respect from former friends and allies than Bush has. His campaign has belittled the support these allies demonstrated by Obama's positive reception in Europe.

    Georgia, a country supported and armed by the US, started this incursion. If the US and its right wing proponents think they can "go it alone" one only has to look at the Iraq war to see that it can't. McCain has an old world view and the angry, America is always right that the world views as dangerous.

    Of the two candidates running for president, it is Obama who demonstrates the level headed ability to lead in diplomacy, re earn respect, and hepl America earn a voice that people will listen to. As it is right now, people around the world view the Republicans and their gov't as among the most dangerous in the world.

    August 12, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. eugene from new york city

    the kettle calling the pot black . The US can not afford a war with russia thats not going to happen we invaded iraq killed saddam and still didn't get the oil? did i miss something here Mcwar. FEAR FEAR FEAR made us go into iraq we need to mind our business

    August 12, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Ted van Tol

    Dear indenpent voter,

    Stay in the past when the rest of your country goes
    into the future with Barack Obama. YOUR next President.

    August 12, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. LLMTruth

    See, I told you guys that McBrainless' attitude was not conducive to anything constructive. Instead of using prudence in an extremely delicate situation, this clowns looks to incite Russia. I don't know what he is expecting to accomplish with these remarks. In my opinion it further proves that he does not have the temperament to lead this nation.

    McBrianless' saber rattling is not going to make Russia succumb to his imagined authority. What does he think Russia is going to do, pack up and leave so McIdiot won’t think we're trying to re-establish our lost empire? How utterly stupid. What kind of administration would McBrainless have? With nonsense like think coming out of his mouth, just exactly how effective does he think he'll be?

    See, this buffoon has no idea how to lead on the world stage. All this posturing is only for the American electorate, that' s it. It shows how inept his administration will be. He doesn't even consider possible repercussion of statements like this. This, chuckles the clown, is definitely unfit to be President. Being president requires commonsense and keen insight on how to deal with international problems, not waving a big stick.

    Besides, if Russia wanted to they could say the thing about us for invading a nation unjustifiable.

    McBrainless is an absolute idiot, being advised by equally stupid people. Saber rattling is not the answer, McWizard.

    Good Lord......

    August 12, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. Lesley

    Putin wants to restore the old Russian empire, and McCain wants to return to the Cold War against Russia. They sound like birds of a feather, both wanting to regress to past dark ages. A very good reason not to vote for McCain. Let's move forward and not backward. We need a visionary in the WH, not a narrow-minded politician remembering past glories.

    August 12, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. Finally ...

    ... leadership. BO, this is how you respond when a country strong arms the defenseless. You stand up for them. ... But, I guess you wouldn't care about that since you sat through a hearing describing how helpless babies were thrown into a linen closet to die yet chose to stick your head in the sand and decry the Unborn Infant Protection Act as a ploy to overturn Roe v. Wade.

    Barack Obama: Helping Make Darwinism a Reality

    Sanity '08

    August 12, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. Joe Regis

    I nominate for a nobel peace price those working to promote peace and not wars.

    Pelosi, Medvedev, Sarkosi must be candidate for a nobel peace price.

    August 12, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. thegoreyears

    Independent Voter - talking to them won't work?

    It has so far, moron.

    August 12, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. JC

    Russia has been attempting to to maintain its "empire" since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Just look at the way they coerced and forced a few of the old Soviet Republics into being part of a CIS dominated by Russia. Instead of mindlessly blasting anything that is not said by the Obama camp, you may actually want to educate yourselves in that region. That region is rich in oil and gas reserves, has a history of terrorist activities (Chechyans for example), and is seeing a rise in Islamic fundamentalism (Central Asia).

    It would be nice to live in an idealistic world where everyone gets along and everyone does the right thing. Unfortunately, that world doesn't exist because of states like Russia and Iran.

    August 12, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. Pepou

    Unfortunately for McConfused the situation in Georgia is a great deal more complicated that he thinks. And it will need the kind of diplomacy that the poor old guy is unable to provide.

    August 12, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. Tommy

    McCain is old enough to remember everything about the Russian Empire! Too funny! Somebody get the cobwebs off this guy.

    August 12, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    and McBush is a continuation of the rotten Bush administration... so he has nothing to talk about

    August 12, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. BK

    That's it McCain. Get us into a war with Russia. That's what we need.
    This man is such an idiot 🙁

    August 12, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Val from MA

    SEN. MCCAIN is a TRUE LEADER our country needs at these very troubling times. We cannot trust Sen. Obama to depend on others as to what to say and how to act in situations like this Russia-Georgia conflict. Obama is too soft and too inexperienced to be our president.

    McCain 08!

    August 12, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. Joan, Ontario

    Is Mr. McCain starting his own "axis of evil? People can bluster all they want but all of the clever analysts last night said that there really isn't anything any country can do to stop this right now beyond dipomacy and sanctions. You can't go in there with troops because they are all tied up in Iraq.

    August 12, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. MJ

    With Obama in the white house it will probably happen. This is why we need strong leadership and not just feel good talk.

    August 12, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. DD, New York

    McCain is right. Why did Obama wait for McCain to say something first regarding Russia invading Georgia ? Just like the democratic primaries when Hillary would answer first, Obama just adopted/incorporated her answers into his. This truly troubles me and I don't think Obama would be an effective president.

    August 12, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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