Vladimir Putin: 'Georgia? We couldn't just let Russia get a bloody nose'

Whether prime Minister or President, the man holding forth across the vast dining table was unmistakably Vladimir Putin. Wagging his finger and occasionally clenching his fist, the man who many believe retains the real power in Russia denied that the world was entering a new Cold War, rejected claims that he wanted to restore the Soviet empire and insisted that a fresh arms race in Europe was avoidable.

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