Russian president Vladimir Putin said his country has no interest in becoming a superpower. The role, he said, is just not worth it.
The country has become a major player on the global stage, despite once being dismissed by US president Barack Obama as a “regional power” in 2014. But lately Russia has also been throttled by ongoing conflicts and low oil prices.
In a Jan. 5 interview with German newspaper Bild, Putin responded to Obama’s comment: “We do not claim the role of a superpower. This role is very costly and it is meaningless.”
The interview took place days after US-Russia relations deteriorated to a new low, with Russia listing the US as a threat to its national security, Quartz’s Hanna Kozlowska reported.
Russia’s economy, added Putin, is fifth in the world in terms of volume and sixth in terms of purchasing power parity. Although it may have have lost some of its footing lately, he said he was confident in his country’s global standing.
Russia has been weakened by falling oil prices over the last year, which trimmed its economic output in 2015 by 3.8%, Reuters reported. Its economy also shrank under the weight of Western sanctions that year, which contracted output by an additional 1.5%.