Vladimir Putin meets me in the VIP room at the Shotlandskaya Kletka restaurant in Moscow.
Before we order our food, I ask Putin about Syria's offer to hand over its chemical weapons.
"In 2002," says Putin, "Saddam Hussein allowed the weapons inspectors to carry out a thorough inspection.
"The inspectors found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction. But Bush went ahead with his invasion anyway.
"It may be the same this time with Syria," continues Putin,"but, on the other hand, more of the American public, politicians and military now know that the American government is run by mafia gangsters. That is an important change since 2002."
Forrest Hills, home of the Mafiya.
"What about Russia's Mafiya?" I inquire.
"Most of them now life in New York and London," explains Putin.
The USA wants to control the Oil
"Today it is little Syria being invaded by the forces of the bullying USA."
The Munich Crisis.
Perhaps anticipating my next question, Putin says: "Czechoslovakia is no longer communist.
"It is the USA that now has military bases in the Czech Republic.
"The USA also has military bases in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, former Yugoslavia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan."
I suggest that the American Empire has some similarities with the Russian Empire.
"We have a free trade zone, not an empire," says Putin. "Our free trade zone consists of Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia."
And what about the Russian apartment bombings of 1999, which Berezovsky blamed on the Russian secret service the FSB?
Putin explains: "Paul J. Murphy, a former US counterterrorism official, says that Ibn Al-Khattab was responsible for the apartment bombings.
"He commanded the terrorists in Chechnya."
"Professor Peter Reddaway and Dr Robert Bruce Ware say that the liberation army are the most likely culprits.
Our salmon arrives.
I list some of Russia's problems, such as corruption and poor social services.
Putin agrees that there are problems, as in the UK and USA.
"I am often having to intervene, whether it's in certain towns or certain factories," says Putin.
I mention the street protests in Russia.
"These have been the work of the CIA," relates Putin. "The CIA-front known as USAID stirred up the protests. We kicked USAID out of Russia."
(The above has no link to the Financial Times.)
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