Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday reportedly said that the worst mistake he’s made in the last 15 years was in trusting the West.
Putin spoke with a Germany-based academic during a televised discussion in southern Russia. The academic asked about what mistakes Moscow may have made when dealing with the West, and Putin responded, “We trusted you too much. You interpreted our trust as weakness and you exploited that.”
Reuters reported that Putin appeared visibly angry at times when talking about post-Soviet leadership.
“Unfortunately, our Western partners, having divided the USSR’s geopolitical legacy, were certain of their own incontestable righteousness having declared themselves the victors of the ‘Cold War,'” Putin said, according to Reuters. “They started to openly interfere in the sovereign affairs of countries and to export democracy in the same way as in their time the Soviet leadership tried to export the socialist revolution to the whole world.”
Putin said the U.S. betrayed Russia in the 1990s. He said Moscow gave Washington unprecedented access to its secret nuclear facilities.