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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Says He Wields Ax Himself

When Vladimir Putin fires someone, he prefers to confront the soon-to-be-former employee "face to face" to see what he has to say for himself.

"If you have to fire someone, you have to be civil about it," Putin said in a column that will appear in an issue of Russky Pioner magazine that goes on sale Friday. "Unlike former, Soviet, leaders, I always do it in person."

In his first op-ed as a public official, Putin speaks about the difficulties of dismissing staff and the importance of personal contact with subordinates. As president, Putin fired two prime ministers: Mikhail Kasyanov, who entered the opposition, and Mikhail Fradkov.

Putin said while it sometimes seems that an employee "needs to be banished with a broom," the decision is made more difficult by "a complicated political struggle" behind the scenes. Internal conflicts in the workplace must be handled quickly and decisively, he said.

"I can honestly say, for example, that if I hadn't intervened in several situations when I was president, the government in Russia would have ceased to exist a long time ago," Putin said.

The prime minister, who has repeatedly spoken about the shortage of qualified managers and workers in Russia, lamented the futility of shifting people around from one position to another.

"It is absolutely obvious to me that nothing good will come of disbanding and collecting people over and over again out of a desire to demonstrate your power," he said.

Putin, who said in February 2008 that he had worked "like a galley slave" during his eight years as president, said leaders at all levels must accept their responsibilities. "They can't delegate to someone and relax," he said.

Putin's personal touch extends to birthday wishes, he said.

"I know that calling someone on his birthday when he's with his family to congratulate him leaves an imprint on his soul."