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PUTIN PRAISES TRUMP’S FRESH VISION…
“A straightforward person, a frank person.”
PUTIN: Patriotic Russians may have staged cyber attacks on own initiative…
“Shifting away from his previous blanket denials of Russian involvement in cyberattacks last year to help the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia denied any state role on Thursday but said that “patriotically minded” private Russian hackers could have been involved.
Mr. Putin’s comments, made during a meeting with Russian and foreign news agencies in St. Petersburg, were a departure from the Kremlin’s previous position: that Russia had played no role whatsoever in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and that, after Mr. Trump’s victory, the country had become the victim of anti-Russia hysteria among crestfallen Democrats.
Raising the possibility of attacks by what he portrayed as free-spirited Russian patriots, Mr. Putin said that hackers “are like artists” who choose their targets depending how they feel “when they wake up in the morning.”
“If they are patriotically minded, they start making their contributions — which are right, from their point of view — to the fight against those who say bad things about Russia,” he added.
His remarks echoed ones by Mr. Trump, who has dismissed accusations of Russian meddling and said that the person responsible for the attack on the Democratic National Committee “could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”