#7 - JRL 7031
Russia's Putin discusses strategic defence with visiting academic
Source: Channel One TV, Moscow, in Russian 1200 gmt 23 Jan 03
[Presenter] President Putin today met the famous scientist, Roald Sagdeyev, a Russian academic who has been living in the USA for several years now. He came to his homeland to celebrate his 70th birthday, and today he told Putin about his trip to the city of his childhood, Kazan. They also talked about Sagdeyev's participation in the construction of the International Space Station.
[Putin, with interpreter translating into English for Mrs Sagdeyev in the background] If you manage to achieve success in such a sensitive area, such an important area - from the point of view of the economy, from the point of view of the state's prestige, even from the military point of view - to achieve success in solving all these problems, and if we manage to achieve coordinated work on these problems, then, naturally, one would want to work on other problems just as effectively.
[Sagdeyev] Right now our space sector is on the verge of being able to go beyond the limits of the space station and start doing interesting things with the West, with the Americans, with France. You know about [President Jacques] Chirac's initiative. I have always spoken against the Strategic Defence Initiative. But at the moment life is such that I think one needs to search for ways of cooperating on anti-missile defence. As the Americans have begun such work, we should also find an important role for Russia. There are interesting ideas as to how space can help in the antiterrorist campaign.
[Putin] You know, we do not reject possible joint work on anti-missile defence. We have our own opinion on how necessary it is and how effective it is. But, from the point of view of organizing work, we do not object to considering individual aspects of this problem together. Our specialists are in contact with each other. We have our own vision of how to approach this work. And I should say directly - one of the main conditions is that all of the work should be somehow centralized, consolidated in one centre, from which certain impulses should flow. So that it is not squandered, I will tell you openly, so that it is not taken from us for free, our technology, our developments, you know, so that in this very important and essential field linked directly to the country's defence we could know and forecast the development of events and be fully-fledged participants in the process.
[Sagdeyev] This is very important, because sometimes one comes across our specialists, our negotiators somehow following in the wake of the American point of view. But in the space sector, in many areas in technology we are in advance of what we see there.
[Presenter] Sagdeyev left Russia in 1990, not for political reasons, but for purely personal ones. He was getting married to the granddaughter of former US President Eisenhower, Susan. He had no problem getting work in the USA, as he was known the world over as the head of the unique space project Vega. Now a professor at Maryland University, he currently works as a consultant for NASA. But he would happily take part in some kind of large international project.