President Vladimir Putin, in a
thinly veiled criticism of the United States, portrayed Russia
on Thursday as a force for peace and morality that had no desire
to be a global superpower.
"We do not aspire to be called some kind of superpower,
understanding that as a claim to world or regional hegemony,"
Putin said in an annual address to parliamentarians and senior
"We do not infringe on anyone's interests, we do not force
our patronage on anyone, or try to teach anyone how to live," he
said, using phrases that echo his previous criticisms of the
, he said, would strive to be a leader which defended
international law and respected national sovereignty and the
independence of nations.
"This is absolutely understandable for a state like Russia
with its great history and culture," he said.