Russian President Vladimir Putin has said in an interview he has no intention of remaining Russia's president for the rest of his life, since a lifetime president would be harmful to the country.
Speaking in an exclusive interview the Russian news agency TASS published on November 23, Putin ruled out a lifetime presidency as "not right for the country, harmful, and something I don't need."
"It doesn't make sense for me to cling to anything. There is no point anymore. I have everything from the point of view of serving my fatherland," Putin said.
Putin said constitutionally he can run for the presidency again in 2018 but did not say if he planned to seek another term.
Addressing the issue of worsening ties with the West, Putin said Russia did not wish to see a new "Iron Curtain."
"We simply do not want such a contest," Putin said.
Putin said Russia was not and would not be isolated, and dismissed talk of "catastrophic consequences" for the Russian economy due to Western sanctions and the drastic reduction in the price of oil, one of Russia's key exports, on world markets.
He said the Western sanctions against Russian individuals and businesses over Ukraine were an attempt to punish his friends and were "driven by a desire to cause a split in the elite and then, perhaps, in society." But Russian society remained consolidated behind him, Putin said.
Putin acknowledged that not all Russians support him, which he said was fine as long as their criticism was constructive and they didn't violate the law. But Putin pointed out that his government would crush anyone who tried to undermine the state, describing them as "bacteria."
"They sit inside you, these bacilli, these bacteria, they are there all of the time," Putin said. "But when an organism is strong, you can always keep back the flu because of your immune system."
In a rare glimpse into his secretive family life, Putin said he meets his daughters – Maria, 29, and Yekaterina, 28, -- only "once or twice a month" because of his "packed work schedule."
Putin said his daughters live in Moscow.
The interview was recorded during Putin's trip to the Russian city of Vladivostok on November 13.
With reporting by TASS, AP, and AFP