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Putin on Trump victory: Russia is ready to restore relations with US

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Russia is ready and looks forward to restoring bilateral relations with the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, commenting on the news of Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election.

“We heard [Trump’s] campaign rhetoric while still a candidate for the US presidency, which was focused on restoring the relations between Russia and the United States,” President Putin said, speaking at the presentation ceremony of foreign ambassadors’ letters of credentials in Moscow.

“We understand and are aware that it will be a difficult path in the light of the degradation in which, unfortunately, the relationship between Russia and the US are at the moment,” he added.

Earlier today, in a message to Donald Trump the Russian President expressed confidence that the dialogue between Moscow and Washington, in keeping with each other’s views, meets the interests of both Russia and the US.

The Russian leader noted in the message that he hopes to address some “burning issues that are currently on the international agenda, and search for effective responses to the challenges of the global security,” RIA Novosti reported.

On top of it, Putin has expressed confidence that “building a constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington, based on principles of equality, mutual respect and each other’s positions, meets the interests of the peoples of our countries and of the entire international community.”

Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin has also expressed hope that Trump’s victory in the presidential election will help pave the way for a more constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington.

“The current US-Russian relations cannot be called friendly. Hopefully, with the new US president a more constructive dialogue will be possible between our countries,” he said.

“The Russian Parliament will welcome and support any steps in this direction,” Volodin added on Wednesday.

A member of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, Senator Aleksey Pushkov, has meanwhile noted that Hillary Clinton’s stake on the conflict with Russia has eventually done her a terrible disservice.

“[Playing the] ‘Russian card’ and portraying Putin as a bad guy did not help Clinton. On the contrary, staking on the conflict with Moscow has only caused fear, doing her a disservice,” he tweeted.

According to many observers, US-Russia relations are now at their lowest point since the Cold War. Putin has repeatedly noted that the worsening of Russia’s relations with the US “was not our choice,” however.

For things to improve between Moscow and Washington, the US should first and foremost start acting like an equal partner and respect Russia’s interests rather than try to dictate terms, Putin said last month.

“We are concerned with the deterioration of Russian-American relations, but that was not our choice, we never wanted that. On the contrary, we want to have friendly relations with the US, a great country and a leading economy,” Putin said at an economic forum in Moscow.

The US will have to negotiate with Russia on finding solutions to international issues as no state is now able to act alone, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last week, adding that problems in bilateral relations began to mount long before the Ukrainian crisis broke out in 2014.

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Protests over Putin’s plans to hike retirement age

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Russia protest over pension age

Moscow, Sep 22 (IANS) Members and supporters of Russia’s Communist Party took to the streets of the capital on Saturday to protest unpopular pension reforms planned by President Vladimir Putin.

Putin took measures to soften his proposed hike in retirement age in August by limiting the increase for women to 60 — up from 55 — instead of the initial suggestion of 63, Efe news reported.

But the change of plan has so far failed to quell protests against it. He stood by plans to raise men’s retirement age from 60 to 65.

Protesters held signs emblazoned with slogans such as “Putin Lies”. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov also spoke at the rally.

The changes have been given a preliminary green-light by the State Duma, Russia’s lower parliament, but have provoked widespread outrage. An opinion poll showed that about 90 per cent of Russians were against increasing the retirement age.

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Ready to boost anti-terror cooperation with Iran: Putin

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Vladimir Putin

Moscow, Sep 23 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, over a deadly terrorist attack and reaffirmed readiness to intensify counter-terror cooperation, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

“We are outraged by this bloody crime. Hopefully, everyone involved will be held liable,” Putin said in his telegram to Rouhani, which was published by the Kremlin, Xinhua news agency.

At least 24 people were killed in a terror attack in a military parade in the southern Iranian Ahvaz city on Saturday, official IRNA news agency reported.

This incident is another proof of the need for “uncompromising war on any manifestations of terrorism,” Putin said.

“I would like to confirm our readiness to further enhance cooperation with our Iranian partners in the fight against this evil,” he said.

The President offered condolences to the relatives and friends of those killed in the attack and wished a speedy recovery to those injured, according to the Kremlin.

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BJP MLA Manvendra Singh quits party, says ‘Kamal Ka Phool, Badi Bhool’

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jaswant-singh manvendra-singh

Jaipur, Sep 22 : Former Union minister Jaswant Singh’s son and BJP MLA from Sheo constituency in Rajasthan, Manvendra Singh, on Saturday announced his decision to severe ties with the party.

He made the announcement while addressing a mammoth “Swabhimaan Rally” in Pachpadra of Barmer district.

The differences between Manvendra and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) surfaced in 2014 when his father Jaswant Singh was denied ticket from Barmer parliamentary seat, from where the party fielded Colonel Sonaram. Jaswant Singh still contested as an Independent and lost the election.

On Saturday, amid thousands of supporters, he raised a slogan “Kamal Ka Phool, Badi Bhool” in the rally. He said that he had been maintaining silence for the last four-and-a-half years obeying senior leaders of the party. “But, now I have lost all my patience.”

He also sought opinion on his decision from the people attending the rally, to which the crowd responded saying “BJP Chhodo” in unison.

The rally was attended by many senior leaders from the Rajput community.

Speaking on the occasion, he said: “My fight for self-respect will spread to the entire state and its impact will also echo at the central level. Pachpadra is the starting point of this storm and its impact will also reach Jaipur.”

However, Manvendra has not yet disclosed the course his political career will take from here on, but announced that he will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, speculations are rife that he would join the Congress party soon.

When contacted, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (RPCC) President Sachin Pilot told IANS that he would not make any comments on the matter now.

However, he said that the list of BJP leaders leaving the party is getting longer which shows that all is not well with the party.

“Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje should introspect on this issue,” he added.

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