Vladimir Putin has claimed he never has bad days, quite simply because “I am not a woman.”
He cited his reasoning as being based on women’s “natural cycles”, adding: “I am not trying to insult anyone. That’s just the nature of things.”
The Russian President made his remarks during a series of conversations with film director Oliver Stone, due to air next week on Showtime.
During a discussion about gay rights, Putin said of a homosexual man: “I prefer not to go in the shower with him. Why provoke him? But you know, I’m a judo master.”
Stone, a controversial figure who has interviewed Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and produced a documentary backing Putin’s version of events in the Ukraine, has received criticism for his ingratiating interview style.
“You have a lot of discipline, sir,” he says at one point. “You are an excellent CEO. Russia is your company,” he says at another. Besides office sit-downs, Putin is interviewed driving a car, walking through horse stables at his home and after he played in a hockey game. When Putin makes a claim about a letter he received from the CIA and Stone asks him to produce it, the Russian president replies, “My words are enough.”
One critic, Marlow Stern in The Daily Beast, called the programme a “wildly irresponsible love letter” to Putin.
Stone has responded to criticism for not pushing Putin hard enough. “I’m not a journalist,” he said. “I’m a filmmaker and I was taking a different approach.”
“I pushed him where I felt he should be pushed,” Stone said. “At a certain point, you know that that person is not going to change his approach. He’s a leader. He thinks things through and he’s made his point. I can’t think of anything more that I could have said or done.”
Stone, who watched Megyn Kelly interview Putin on NBC concluded “he [Putin] knew his stuff and she didn’t.” He opined: “I think she was attractive and she asked hardball questions, but she wasn’t in position to debate or counter him, because she didn’t know a lot of things,” he said.
NBC News President Noah Oppenheim shot back that “no one here is interested in Oliver Stone’s unsolicited thoughts on Megyn Kelly’s appearance or his ill-informed opinion of her journalism.”
“But so long as we’re offering each other professional feedback, please let him know I don’t think he’s made a decent movie since the early ‘90s,” he said.
Putin was combative when asked in the NBC interview about hacking in the US presidential election and relations between Russia and President Donald Trump’s team.
As an example of where he believed Kelly was mistaken, Stone said the claim that 17 US intelligence agencies had concluded the Russians were behind election year hacking and used as a preface for a question had been “walked back.” It was a reference to testimony from James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, about a hacking report by three specific agencies. The independent organisation Politifact has produced a report that backs Kelly, however, because Clapper had earlier said that all 17 intelligence agencies he had supervised agreed about Russia’s involvement.