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Russian President Vladimir Putin denies ever calling Donald Trump ‘brilliant’ – though says the Republican is ‘bright’

  • Vladimir Putin talked to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and charged that he was mistranslated and never called Donald Trump ‘brilliant’ 
  • What Putin said, the Russian president said, was that the presumptive Republican nominee is ‘bright’ 
  • In Putin’s original statement he used a Russian word that can be translated into bright – but is closer to the English definition of colorful

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied calling presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump ‘brilliant,’ charging that he was mistranslated.

Putin was answering questions posed to him by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria at the 20th International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The journalist was reading from a report that said Putin had called the businessman ‘brilliant,’ ‘outstanding’ and ‘talented,’ and asked the Russian president what led him to that judgement and if he still felt that way about Trump.  


Putin, speaking Russian that was being translated into English, said there was no such high praise.

He directed his remarks first at Zakaria.

 ‘You, personally, are very famous in our country. You’re not only famous as a journalist at one of the biggest TV stations, but as an intellectual. Why do you always change the meaning of what I said?’ Putin said through a female translator.

‘Because at the moment you speak as a journalist, not as an analyst. Why are you juggling with what I said?’ Putin continued.

‘I only said that he was a bright person. Isn’t he bright? He is,’ Putin said. ‘I did not say anything else about him.’ 

Zakaria was pointing to remarks that Trump made in December 2015.

The word Putin used, according to the Guardian, was ‘yarkii,’ which can mean ‘bright’ or ‘brilliant,’ but not in the intellectual sense.

Rather it can be translated



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