Former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov hopes that Russia's incumbent President Vladimir Putin will cede power peacefully through elections, as the country's economy is heading for a recession.
Mikhail Kasyanov
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

"That is my goal as a politician, to build the exit strategy for Russia and for Mr. Putin through constitutional instruments. It means elections, parliamentary and presidential," he said in an interview with BNS in Vilnius on Friday.

The next parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia are scheduled for 2016 and 2018 respectively.

Kasyanov says he's in favor of the existing Western sanctions against Moscow as they are aimed at changing the existing faulty policy. He called Putin's economic policy "capitalism for friends".

"The model that Mr. Putin has built up – the capitalism for friend – has brought Russia to what we have now: a dramatic devaluation of the national currency, inflation, corruption, etc. Moreover, lower oil prices and sanctions are accelerating all these problems," he said.

Kasyanov, who was Russia's prime minister in 2000-2004, said Putin has not undertaken any reforms over the last decade as "the risk of losing power is not acceptable for Putin".

Asked by BNS whether the West could try to improve relations with Putin by asking for his assistance in fighting Islamists, Kasyanov said the Putin regime was not a partner but "a creator of problems".

"I don't think the Putin regime could be considered now as a partner in tackling all international problems," he said.

In a separate interview to a group of Lithuanian journalists, Kasyanov warned the European Union against softening the existing sanctions against Russia.

"The EU is doing it right. There's the only wrong thing and it's the constant calls that perhaps the sanctions should be softened, perhaps we hurried up. Such statements cause damage as they water down the position formed several months ago. If you made the decision, there were reasons for the sanctions, separate, individual, not against the country and its people, you need to stick to them until the reasons behind them are not dealt with. Statements about the softening do damage to the EU position. The EU must be strong, and those statements show that it's weak," Kasyanov said.

In his opinion, the risk of war is low at the moment but it may grow if the West is lenient towards Putin.

BNS
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