Speak softly and carry a small stick

I think that Obama as president of the biggest democracy in the world has to speak about that and he did in his speech today. I think it was absolutely clear for everbody. I don’t think that Putin will be very excited after his speech…[When he discussed] rule of law, free speech and free elections, it is absolutely clear to Putin and Medvedev and everyone in Moscow what he is talking about.

Yes, it was quite cautious, I agree. But I think this is the good way. If you come to another country like a boss, like a teacher: “Guys, you did terrible here, now I explain to you how to do, how to run the country, how to move forward because I am a great American president and I know how to proceed,” I think that such a strategy is not good.

But if you say very frankly and friendly: “Guys, remember, the authoritarian style is the wrong way. Not just for the state but for you,” it looks more promising.

That is Boris Nemtsov, former deputy PM of Russian turned anti-Putin campaigner, interviewed by Josh Keating at FP.