Magnitogorsk, July 15 – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has confessed that he was feeling quite bitter about a phrase once spoken, that was fated to become one of the most resounding political aphorisms in Russia.
"We will be chasing the terrorists everywhere. If it's airport - okay let it be airport. Beg your pardon, we will get them in the toilet, we'll waste them in an outhouse at long last," Putin, the then prime minister, said in September 1999.
Russia's prime minister again, Putin recalled this comment 12 years after, as he was talking with employees of the Magnitogorsk steel mill.
"Do you remember me blurting something about this outhouse business … I was somewhere on a visit [in Astana]. I returned to St. Petersburg absolutely upset. A friend asked me what was up. I said I had blurted something unpleasant, out of place. Too bad. I should not have been wagging my tongue like that being a high-level person," Putin said recalling dramatic moments in his political career.
"A taxi driver has just told me a guy has appeared up their in the government talking the right way," the friend replied.
The phrase spoken about terrorists, slightly abridged - we'll waste them in an outhouse - remains the most recognizable comment ever spoken by modern Russian politicians, although Putin himself would use sharp and clipped remarks quite often afterwards. His reply to a foreign reporter at a press conference in Brussels in 2002 caused broad resonance. "If you want so much to become a radical Islamist and are even ready to be circumcised, please come to Moscow. We are a multi-confessional nation. We have specialists dealing with this problem, too. Let him come and get circumcised, so he'll have nothing growing back," Putin said.