Putin is 'self-centred', says Dalai Lama

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech before the show dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Tyva's joining Russia, at the Khuresh stadium in the city of Kyzyl on Sept 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech before the show dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Tyva's joining Russia, at the Khuresh stadium in the city of Kyzyl on Sept 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama criticised Russia's President Vladimir Putin as "self-centred" in a German newspaper interview Sunday, saying Mr Putin seems to want to "rebuild the Berlin Wall".

"His attitude is: 'I, I, I'," the Dalai Lama said, pointing out that Mr Putin had served as Russian president, then prime minister and then president again.

"That's a bit too much," he told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. "This is very self-centred."

The Buddhist leader also had more criticism for Russia, now in the worst standoff with the West since the Cold War, than for China, which has ruled Tibet since its 1950 invasion.

"China and Russia, these are two very different cases," said the Dalai Lama, voicing hope that "the modern world supports China becoming a democratic country".

"China wants to be part of the global political system and will be ready to accept the international rules in the long run," he said in the interview conducted in English.

"I don't have the impression that this accounts for Russia and President Putin, as well, at the moment.

"We had become accustomed (to the fact) that the Berlin Wall has fallen," he said, alluding to the shattering of the Communist bloc begun 25 years ago.

Now President Putin seems to want to rebuild it. But he is hurting his own country by doing this. Isolation is suicide for Russia."