Russia’s President Vladimir Putin corrected Fareed Zakaria’s mistranslated comments of the former KGB operative's own statements about Donald Trump during an interview that aired Sunday on left-wing CNN.
In December of last year, Putin described Trump with a Russian word that best translates to an non-disparaging use of "flamboyant," "colorful," or "lively."
“You made some comments about the American Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump You called him brilliant, outstanding, talented," said Zakaria in prefacing his question. "These comments were reported around the world. I was wondering, what in him led you to that judgment, and do you still hold that judgment?”
“You personally are very famous in our country," replied Putin. "You are not only famous as a journalist in one of the biggest TV stations, but as an intellectual. Why do you always change the meaning of what I said? Because at the moment you speak as a journalist, not as an analyst. Why are you juggling with what I said?”
Below is a video of the original comments made by Putin, with accurate subtitles (Editor’s note: the subtitle translation was verified with two persons fluent in both Russian and English).
The Washington Post’s resident “fact-checker,” Glenn Kessler spoke with his Russian-speaking colleague Andrew Roth, who clarified the mistranslation of Putin’s description of Trump. The Hill, for example, went with a mistranslation initially propagated by Russian nongovernmental news agency Interfax.
Trump made a point to accept the mistranslation months ago.
Welcoming what he described as Trump’s desire to “restore full-fledged Russian-American relations,” Putin rhetorically asked, “What can there be bad about it? Don’t you welcome it? We all welcome it.”
Despite operating an English-language propaganda operation largely targeting Americans on behalf of the Kremlin, Putin stated that he had no desires of interfering in American politics.
Pushing conventional anti-American sentiment popular among his supporters, Putin then implied that America's elections are at least occasionally undemocratically determined.
Watch all segments of the interview here.
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