In an interview with multi-national journalists at the G-8 summit, "President" Putin continued to lie brazenly about the contents of the Russian Constitution:
THE TIMES: Today the British media are mainly interested in two issues concerning Russia. The first is the Litvinenko case. And the second is BP and Shell’s experience in Russia. I would like to ask you two questions. First, are there circumstances in which Russia would agree to Britain’s request to extradite Lugovoi? And the second question. In light of BP and Shell’s experience in Russia, should British companies invest in Russia?That is a brazen lie. It is simply false that the Russian Constitution prevents the extradition of Andrei Lugovoi for trial in Britain. It doesn't. All that is required is for the Duma to pass a law authorizing the extradition, and the Duma, as everyone knows, is the gutless rubber stamp of the "president." All he would have to do is give the order for a law to be passed, and it would be instantly accomplished. Moreover, there is a strong argument that passing a law isn't even necessary, since Russia has already signed a foreign extradition treaty and the constitution clearly allows for extradition in that case.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Are there circumstances in which Russia would extradite Lugovoi? There are. The Constitution of the Russian Federation would have to change. That is the first thing.
Putin then went on to deliver an outrageous insult against British law enforcement:
And now about the request itself. I have very mixed feelings about this request. If the people who sent this request did not know that the Russian Constitution prohibits the extradition of Russian citizens to foreign countries then their level of competency must certainly be questioned. In general the heads of such high-ranking law enforcement agencies should know this. And if they do not know this then their place is not in law enforcement agencies but somewhere else. In parliament, for example, or in journalism. But on the other hand, if they did know this but made the request anyways, then it is just a publicity stunt. In other words, you can look at the problem from any way but in all cases you see stupidity. I do not see any positive aspects to what was done. If they did not know then they are incompetent and we have doubts about what they have been doing there. And if they did know and did it anyway then that is pure politics. Both options are bad. One last point. I think that after the British government allowed a significant number of criminals, thieves and terrorists to gather in Britain they created an environment which endangers the lives and health of British citizens. And all responsibility for this lies with the British side.So not only did Putin lie about the Constitution, he accused the British of being morons for not believing his lie, and then went further, accusing them of general incompetence in allowing lawlessness in Britain. This from the man who presided over the Beslan and Dubrovka attacks, whose nation has the fifth highest murder rate in the whole world, more than five times higher than the rate of murder in Britain!
To say that Putin's statements are not those of a statesman, much less a president, but rather those of a crude thug, is besides the point. Putin's crazed utterances are provoking the West into a new cold war. He seems to believe that by attacking the U.S. and Britain, he can split Europe into two camps and that the France/Germany side will join Russia. This is delusional neo-Soviet egomania at its very most pathetic. Putin was raised in a culture that taught him Soviets were so much cleverer than Westerners that they could tell them any sort of ridiculous lie and be believed, so much braver than Westerners that they could hurl any sort of insult and achieve dominance. Those inculcated with this propaganda are so insensible to reason that the fall of the USSR does not alter their vehemence one iota. This malignant little troll is dooming the people of Russia to centuries more hardship and suffering, potentially to the final destruction of Russia as a nation.
And the Russian people have no one to blame but themselves.