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Ahead of an upcoming meeting with Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin told NBC News on Friday that the current president is "radically different" than his predecessor.

Why it matters: Trump faced accusations of cozying up to Putin while in office while Biden has pledged to take a hard-line approach against the Kremlin.

What he's saying: "Well even now, I believe that former U.S. president Mr. Trump is an extraordinary individual, talented individual, otherwise he would not have become U.S. President," Putin told NBC's Keir Simmons.

  • "He is a colorful individual. You may like him or not. And, but he didn't come from the U.S. establishment, he had not been part of big time politics before, and some like it some don’t like it but that is a fact."
  • Biden, on the other hand, knows how to play the game, Putin said. He "is radically different from Trump because President Biden is a career man. He has spent virtually his entire adulthood in politics."
  • "It is my great hope that yes, there are some advantages, some disadvantages, but there will not be any impulse-based movements, on behalf of the sitting U.S. president," Putin added.

Both Trump and Biden have called Putin a "killer" amid allegations of Putin's assassination orders. Asked if he is indeed a "killer," the Russian president hedged.

  • "Over my tenure, I've gotten used to attacks from all kinds of angles and from all kinds of areas under all kinds of pretext, and reasons and of different caliber and fierceness and none of it surprises me," Putin said, calling the accusation "Hollywood macho."
  • He bristled when Simmons named some Putin opponents who have been killed in recent years.
  • "Look, you know, I don't want to come across as being rude, but this looks like some kind of indigestion except that it's verbal indigestion. You've mentioned many individuals who indeed suffered and perished at different points in time for various reasons, at the hands of different individuals," he said.

Go deeper

Sep 17, 2021 - World

Apple, Google delete Navalny app as Russians go to polls

Alexei Navalny's Smart Voting app is seen on a phone in Moscow. Photo: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP

Apple and Google have deleted jailed Kremlin opposition leader Alexei Navalny's tactical voting app from their app stores, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The tech companies removed the opposition-led Smart Voting app on the same day Russians head to the polls to elect a new parliament amid the largest crackdown of Kremlin critics in years.

Swing voters' split feelings about Afghanistan

An Afghanistan flag waves in front of the U.S. Capitol on Aug. 28. Photo: Liz Lynch/Getty Images

Some swing voters say they're deeply disappointed with the execution of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Yes, but: They don't believe former President Trump would have handled it better than President Biden, and the issue is far less important to them than getting the pandemic under control.

Kate Marino, author of Markets
37 mins ago - Economy & Business

Omicron outbreaks were bad for business in January

Data: New York Federal Reserve Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

Emerging anecdotal evidence shows just how hard the recent rise in COVID-19 cases hit businesses in early January — but that hasn't hurt some business leaders’ longer-term views on their companies' prospects.

Why it matters: Increasingly, the economic recovery has come in fits and starts that move in tandem with new peaks in cases. Look no further than the thousands of cancelled flights and shuttered Broadway theaters in the wake of the Omicron variant's spread over the last few months.