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Post summit, Putin restates commitment to democracy

"WE are not going to invent any kind of special Russian democracy. We are going to observe the fundamental principles that are already established," Russian President Vladimir Putin said after his meeting with US President George W Bush in Bratislava February 24.

According to Putin, Russia made a choice for democracy 14 years ago, without outside pressure. "There can be no return to what we had before. Any kind of movement towards totalitarianism would be impossible today," he said.

But he seemed to defend his country's perceived strong hand. "Democracy should not be accompanied by the lapse of the state or the impoverishment of the people."

Putin said that, for Russia, democracy is about the possibility of making democratic laws and giving the state the power to enforce them.

By Beata Balogová and Julie Garrison Frederick, Spectator staff

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