MOSCOW (REUTERS) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is a clever man and will quickly understand his new responsibilities, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with NTV TV.
Putin has spoken previously of his hope that Trump will help restore U.S.-Russia relations, and analysts said he was unlikely to want to dial up anti-Western rhetoric before Trump's inauguration in January.
"Trump was an entrepreneur and a businessman. He is already a statesman, he is the head of the United States of America, one of the world's leading countries," NTV quoted Putin as saying in the interview on www.ntv.ru on Sunday.
"Because he achieved success in business, it suggests that he is a clever man. And if (he is) a clever man, then he will fully and quite quickly understand another level of responsibility. We assume that he will be acting from these positions," Putin said.
Putin's comments appeared to address criticism from Trump's opponents who say his unconventional actions since the election - including railing at the cast of a Broadway show and early-morning invective on Twitter - show Trump is out of his depth.
China lodged a diplomatic protest on Saturday after Trump spoke by phone with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, the first by a U.S. president-elect or president since Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of "one China".
Speaking about Russia's relations with the West, Putin said attempts to create a unipolar world had failed: "The situation is changing. I think it is not a secret to anyone, everyone sees it, that many of our partners already prefer to stick to principles of international law, because the world's balance is being gradually restored."
Putin said when building relationships with other countries, Russia would respect their interests.
(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Janet Lawrence)