Putin Reveals His Reading List, Greatest Fault

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin offered a rare glimpse of the private man behind the public image, discussing the pressures of his job and even what he sees as his greatest shortcoming.

"I have an excessive workload, I get tired, that is true," he said. "Sometimes it is difficult to fall asleep, it is difficult to unwind from the emotional tension."

Even so, he said he "really loves" his job because "if something goes right, I see that people get to live a little better life." Retirement is "difficult to imagine," but Putin, who earned a law degree at Leningrad State University before entering the security service, said he might research state law.

Asked his main fault, Putin responded that he regarded himself as being "too trusting" -- a striking response from a former KGB colonel who worked in East Germany.

Putin later headed the FSB before then-President Boris Yeltsin appointed him to the government, and he has been criticized for stifling press freedom and cracking down more harshly on critics of the government than proponents of racial or religious hatred.

The leaders he respects were both known as "the Great" and sought to strengthen the Russian Empire and turn it into a modern European state.

"Peter I and Catherine II, in my opinion, did the most for development of the Russian state," said Putin, who is currently reading the 12-volume "History of the Russian State" by 19th-century author Nikolai Karamzin.

But he declined to say how he would like to be remembered. "History will decide by itself," he said.

The best advice Vladimir Putin says he ever got was from his late mother, Maria: "Don't ask for anything and don't complain about anything."

That may help explain the prime minister's affinity for the 1948 movie adaptation of Charles Dickens's novel "Oliver Twist," which Putin said was the most recent movie he watched. "Serious cinema," he said.