Ahead of his visit to Milan and the Vatican, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a big interview to Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, minor protests occurred in Moscow against insufficient funding for science and education, and the ruble continued on a weakening trend.

Video by Pavel Gazdyuk

Putin’s interview

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a big interview to Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera ahead of his visit to Milan and Vatican. The interview came out days after yet another confrontational round between Russia and the EU, in which 89 European politicians were blacklisted from entering Russia.

In his interview, Putin offered his logic behind Kremlin’s policy towards the West. In particular, he stressed that there is no need to fear Russia. He said that, “Only an insane person and only in a dream can one imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO countries.”

Moscow protests

About 35 hundred people rallied in Moscow on June 6 to protest insufficient funding for science and education in Russia and to call for reforms. The protests occurred after the non-profit Dynasty Foundation was labeled as a foreign agent according to a newly introduced law. As a result, the foundation, whose main goal was to finance research and education in Russia, lost its funding from Russian telecommunications magnate Dmitry Zimin. The existence of Dynasty Foundation is now in question. Its board of directors meets this week to discuss the NGO’s future.

Weakening ruble

The Russian ruble fell to a two-month low during the last week as the Bank of Russia said it would keep buying foreign exchange to build reserves. The ruble has lost about ten percent since the end of May. Experts are saying that the worst fighting in Ukraine in three months also put pressure on the currency.