«On the topic of Sunday's presidential "elections" in Chechnya, Steve Lee Myers, of the New York Times, asked how, in the light of mass arrests, the disqualification of one opponent, the Kremlin-sponsored withdrawal of another, and a state of martial law in Chechnya, elections there could be fair.
Mr Putin waffled a little, and then replied that these moves were "more an issue of pre-election tactics. There is no violation of any legislation, democracy, nothing like this. But this is a matter of tactics employed in the pre-election campaign."
It nicely complemented his earlier remark that elections are an "unavoidable cost of democracy" that should "always exist".»