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. ree

    Just because Sen. McCain is being forceful, he wants war. Well, I rather have him be forceful then Obama wanting to just talk.

    To Barbara: if you think Obama is only going to tax rich people and not you, come to NY I have a bridge to sell you.

    I think you Obama supporters are scared. This is going to be a close race and not the landslide you think it is. If he is so popular how come he is not ahead by more?

    August 12, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Millie

    If "The Maverick" is elected President it probably won't take long for him to send our boys over to Georgia to settle this little conflict...even if it takes 100 years!
    OBAMA in 2008!

    August 12, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. karen-phoenix

    McCain will have us at war with in 1 month if he becomes president. He will go to war with anyone. Look up "project for a new American century". Go Obama

    August 12, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Linda K.

    Why would any thinking patriotic American vote for a candidate who wants more war? Aren't two wars enough? Do you want a draft to take away our sons and daughters? Do you want more of our children coming home in body bags? Do you really enjoy the thought of killing people who don't speak English?

    Throughout my life the US and Russia have maintained a steady, and sometimes uncomfortable, balance. I was eight years old when I knew what nuclear war meant and how close we have sometimes come to that. Do you enjoy the "thrill" of possible annihilation? I sure don't.

    Senator Obama is intelligent and balanced. He wants a safe world for our children and grandchildren. I want that too.

    CNN, please print this!

    August 12, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Sarah, Northern Colorado


    This is going to be great. The Bushies want to keep us in a constant state of war. Real estate in Canada will go up.

    August 12, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. arc, Lugano CH

    Sarge in Florida August 12th, 2008 12:09 pm ET
    Hey grandpa don't screw with the Russians. They will kick the living crap out of you.

    Florida Sarge, I like your refreshing style..and delivery....well said, mate.

    GWB should have seen this all in the making when he looked into Putin's eyes and got a sense of his 'soul'.

    August 12, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. Concern Citizen

    Hey Barak fans... do you think your guy can stand up this kind of pressure... oh yeah barak!!!... better talk & talk, its always the refuge of the ignorant.... and you can always ask for opinion, thats what you are good at anyway... hide all the negative things about your candidacy because you cant defend them and come up with one against MaC or just afraid to face the brutal facts.... Employ lots of advisors that your supporters are gonna pay for, this may help you come up with better ideas...

    August 12, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Sharon Kitchen

    ah yes.......fear.........the "old"ways aren't dead......they are ALIVE..........
    If McWar gets his way our militery will be all over the world in all the hot spots and the draft will be on again......yes......that's why in his new...adds he is wanting all the young to join........yeppy.......war.....I seem to rember a song starting with the 69's,70's....I guess I better drag out that record......Oh....did he ask pres. bush's permission??????? For you see, bush's g.father....Prescott Bush was in the $ for Hitler......Of course it was taken from them....something about trading with the enemy.......You see, an article published can be this one was.......many artlicles on this McBush up on this...afterall,it does deal with foreign affairs......oh well.......time will tell.

    August 12, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. Tanya

    Relax everyone, it really doesn't matter what McCain, or anyone else in the west, says.
    Putin already built his empire! He has more power then Czar.

    August 12, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. rafael

    here we can see what USA can do and what can!t do
    Rusia/china can!t be touch by USA,those two country do what ever they want and the USA can only talk crap,Rusia is only showing their power
    same as USA did in iraq,USA when come to China/Rusia can only see and shout,no more no less.

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

    US to the rest of the world: "Do as we say not as we do" how fitting don't you think McWar!!!!

    August 12, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. Mike, TX

    US to the rest of the world: "Do as we say not as we do" how fitting don't you think McWar!!!!

    August 12, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. Pat

    McSame is a real piece of work. The man who was in constant step with President Bush when he led the surprise "Shock and Awe" attack on Iraq now claims that Russia should be subjected to World Opinion!
    America was the subject of World Opinion at that time and still. Negative World Opinion. I guess McSame has conveniently forgotten that the Bush Administration played a lead hand in the Georgia Battle now ongoing! And I guess he's also forgotten that it and has been America's greed for Power and Oil Revenues that has inflamed many battles in many Nations over the last several decades.

    This the same man who claims he will keep the Iraq war going for a hundred years if that's what it takes to bring success is now calling for a cease fire between Russia and Georgia! If he wasn't so pathetically hypocritical he might make me smile !

    August 12, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. Paul Dobro

    Why does the main stream media ignore John McCain quoting wikipedia word for word in his speech?

    Remember, war is good for the militery industrial complex and business is good. Too bad our grand kids will be paying for these wars for hundreds of years!

    August 12, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. check and checkmate

    simmer down buddy, remember they are our friends now so keep the blood pressure at a managable level. We don't have to like everything our allies do but we need each other.

    McCain/Ridge 08

    Hillary 12

    August 12, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. David Goldman for OBAMA











    August 12, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Eduardo Gonzalez (Latinos for McCain)

    Barack Obama = MEDIOCRITY

    We can not allow that mediocrity rules us in our nation. Barack Obama is the mediocrity itself. Barack Obama only speaks on behalf of his followers and democrat party. He will speak for all the mediocrity in the country and he will comfort them. Obama is and will be their saint protector, their champion and he will bless them saying: mediocrities of our nation, I absolve you.

    August 12, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. True

    "I LOVE WAR" McCain is at it again and it looks like he found himself a new enemy.

    August 12, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. Eduardo Gonzalez (Latinos for McCain)

    The Republicans say: We have George W. Bush, Stevie Wonder, Bop Hope and Johnny Cash.
    And the Democrats say: We have Obama, no wonder, no hope and no cash !!!

    August 12, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. How does CNN determine who gets posted?

    I thought Iran was the most pressing concern of the US? Then it was Iran. Now it's Russia!? Who's next?

    August 12, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. J. Dean, a Republican from Juno Beach, FL

    Here we go again, Old Man John McCain is on the wrong side one more time.
    Old Man John McCain's comment about Russia, similar to his other foreign and internaional affairs, such as, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, Sudan are ridiculous, naive and amaturistic.
    The current Russian action against Georgia was and is proper and a correct action. The villain, in this case, was and is the president of georgia, namely President Mikheil Saakashvili. Therefore, as the Russian said, Saakashvilli must go. He is a dangerous president for his country and for the entire region. Old man John McCain supporting such a dangerous ruler reflect very bad gudgement from naive McCain or from any other government that supports such a bad president.
    Similar to villain Saddam Hussein, Mikheil Saakashvili must go before he creates disaster for his country and for NATO or for us, THE GOOD AMERICANS.
    The Old Man, John McCain isliving in a fantasy world. McCain needs to be educated about foreign policy, good gudgement, international business and especially about MODERN TECHNOLOGY

    August 12, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. Kevin

    Republicans WANT war, all the time. That's the only way they can get votes.

    August 12, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. Belle

    Too funny folks,
    One could argue that Obama is ALSO a war-pro candidate!

    After his lukewarm remarks Friday, he COPIED McCain on Saturday!

    And Richardson? What dream world is he living in having the audacity to say that under Obama, this would never happen! Just because Russia and China are in the global economic policy does NOT mean their quest for power is not absolute.

    Russia acheived its' show a force that ANY former country of the Soviet Union had better tread carefully...

    President Bush said he looked into Putin's eyes and saw a man he could trust. McCain said he saw KGB. Obama, well he just looks....

    August 12, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. Rob

    @ Fred, Las Vegas, NV

    finally someone who makes a point. thank you, thank you for not cussing, pointing finger to any war mongers, etc etc.


    Semper Fi

    August 12, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  25. How does CNN determine who gets posted?

    My bad. China's on the list too.

    August 12, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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