MOSCOW, October 22. The position of Russia on issues of strategic security, settlement of the Syrian issue and other key international problems outlined by President Vladimir Putin, speaking at the final plenary session of XII annual meeting of the International discussion club “Valdai”, which takes place in Sochi.
During the event, which lasted a total of nearly three hours, he answered the participants ‘ questions, and revealed some details of his talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad.
From uncontrolled competition to the arms race
Addressing the participants of the meeting, Putin noted that “all States always have and will have their sometimes divergent interests, and the development of world history was always accompanied by competition powers and their unions”.
“In my opinion, it’s completely natural. Importantly, this competition was constructed within certain political, legal, moral norms and rules. Otherwise, the rivalry, the clash of interests is fraught with acute crises and dramatic failures”, – said the Russian leader.
The Russian head of state noted that over the past quarter century, the threshold of use of force in international relations has decreased significantly, while the generation of political leaders of the 1950 – 1980s years were related to use of military force as something exceptional.
An extremely dangerous prospect called the Russian leader “the probable sunset of the system of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction”, which may result developed in the United States the concept of a first strike with high-precision non-nuclear weapons.
USA a fraud
Putin stressed that because of the actions of the United States “destroyed the Foundation of modern international security” – the anti-ballistic missile Treaty /ABM/.
The Russian head of state reminded that as a reason for global missile defense system the United States used the threat of Iran’s nuclear program. Now, however, Iran’s nuclear issue is resolved, so there is no reason to build missile defense system, Putin said. Nevertheless, the U.S. continues its programme.
“Recently conducted the first test of the US ABM in Europe. What does it mean? This means that when we argue with our American partners, were right. Us and the world, tried once again to mislead, and to say quite simpler cheated,” he said.
According to the President of the Russian Federation, “it’s not a hypothetical nuclear threat, and never was, the case in an attempt to destroy the strategic balance to change the balance of power in their favor, so to not just dominate, but to have the opportunity to dictate their will to all – and its geopolitical competitors, and I think their allies”.
“This is an extremely dangerous scenario, harmful to all, including, in my opinion, the United States,” – said the Russian leader. He explained that “the deterrent factor of nuclear weapons has been losing its value, some even had the illusion that while the global conflict again achievable the actual victory of one side without any irreversible, unacceptable, as experts say, the consequences for the winner, if the winner actually will be.”
The Russian head of state expressed disagreement with the statement of former U.S. Ambassador Jack Matlock, if the us missile defense system does not threaten Russia and is created only to support jobs in the United States. Putin stressed that the U.S. missile defense threatened Russia’s nuclear potential, and generally “changing the philosophy of world security”.
Not allies, but vassals
Another notable manifestation of the desire of the United States to establish an exclusive domination in the world Putin called the trade and sanctions war, who in fact used as a means of unfair competition, including in relation to the partners. “I will allow myself to ask: so ally do?”, – asked the Russian leader to the audience, Recalling the multi-billion dollar fines, which had to pay European and Japanese banks and companies. And he replied: “No. Do the vassals who dared to act on their own. Punish them for bad behavior”.
The President warned against the formation of economic blocs by establishing dominance of one of the strongest player. According to him, the formation of such structures “is almost for the purpose of conspiracy”. “The task is clear – to reformat the world economy to extract greater rents from its domination and spreading of their own standards of economic, trade and technical regulation. The formation of economic blocs by imposing their conditions to be the strongest player, of course, will not make the world a safer place”, – said Putin.
The head of state noted that Russia such approach does not adhere to. “During the formation of the EEU are trying to build relationships with our partners, including to work within the framework of the Chinese initiative of the silk road. We are absolutely on an equal basis working within the framework of BRICS, APEC, “twenty”, – he stressed.
To divide terrorists into moderate and immoderate not
The situation in Syria and the middle East is expected to become one of the Central themes of the speech of the head of the Russian state. Putin emphasized that to reach a settlement, it is first necessary to “liberate Syria and Iraq from terrorists and not allow them to move their activity to other regions”.
He also called on the international community to understand that in the case with the “Islamic state” “we are dealing, essentially, with the enemy of civilization, humanity and world culture”.
“No need to play with words and to divide terrorists into moderate and immoderate,” he said. He also cautioned other countries against attempts of “double dealing” and use terrorists for their own purposes.
“It is impossible to succeed in the fight against terrorists, if some of them to use as a battering RAM to overthrow undesirable regimes. Then from nowhere these terrorists not escape. It is only an illusion that will be able to cope with them, to marginalise, to come to an agreement”, – said the Russian leader.
He criticized the American program of support to the Syrian armed opposition by dropping from the air weapons and ammunition and expressed the hope that the US will fail to convey to the opponents of the Syrian government man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS).
After the victory over terrorism – a political settlement
If the US goal in Syria is the departure of President Bashar al-Assad, Russia’s goal – the fight against terrorism, and Damascus in these efforts, said the Russian leader.
He noted that the Russian military operation in Syria is “completely legitimate” and is pursuing “a single goal – to promote the establishment of peace”.
This “military victory for the militants will not solve all problems, but it will create conditions for the main – for a start the political process with the participation of all healthy, Patriotic forces of the Syrian society,” the President said. In his opinion, “that the Syrians must decide their fate when very correct, respectful support from the international community”.
This attitude should be reflected including in assisting the Syrians large-scale economic and financial support. “Obviously, Syria will need massive financial, economic, humanitarian assistance to heal the wounds of war. We need to define the format in which we would conduct this work with the involvement of donor countries and international financial institutions”, – said Putin.
Answering questions from the audience, the Russian leader also said that his talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad impression: Assad is ready for a constructive dialogue with the opposition to achieve a comprehensive political settlement. Moreover, confided to Putin, Assad even said that they would positively respond if the Russian Federation will support the armed opposition in Syria willing to fight against ISIS.
He also expressed the view that the division of Syria into separate territories will only exacerbate the conflict and make it endless.
According to Putin, because of Russia’s actions in Syria, the threat of terrorist attacks against Russia, “was neither more nor less.” “Better to fight terrorists in Syria, than to wait for them in the Russian Federation,” the President added. He noted that the Russian military in Syria to protect not only the interests of the Syrian people, but also – primarily – the interests of Russia.
Kiev does not fulfill the Minsk agreements
Answering questions of participants of the discussion, the Russian head of state noted that without the participation of Europe and the USA to resolve the situation in Eastern Ukraine is unlikely.
The leaders of France and Germany, Putin said, support the current Kiev authorities, but at the same time, they objectively assess the situation and “understand that the picture is not black and white.”
“Without the participation of Europe and without the United States to resolve the situation is unlikely. It is useless to endlessly accuse Russia in that it does not perform or does not urge the authorities of the unrecognized republics in the South-East of Ukraine to fulfill the Minsk agreements, if the key provisions of the Minsk agreements are not fulfilled by the Ukrainian authorities. They and the Kiev authorities have not fulfilled,” – said Putin.
“Democracy promotion” to the borders of Russia
Summing up the discussion after his speech, the Russian leader noted that Russia is not against “democracy promotion” to its borders, but opposes the substitution of concepts.
“What you have under the democracy (in appearance – editor’s note): the expansion of NATO to our borders? Is that a democracy? NATO is a military bloc. Our concern is not the promotion of democracy to our borders, we are concerned about the promotion of the military infrastructure of NATO to our borders,” Putin said.
He also noted that Russia, unlike many Western countries, it is not trying to teach democracy and to impose their own standards, however, is not going to accept attempts by external imposition of standards. As an example, he cited the situation in Ukraine, where twice – 2004 and 2014 – a change of government happened in an unconstitutional way. “Russia’s position is not that we are struggling with the choice of the Ukrainian people – we accept any choice, it really is a brotherly country to us, brotherly people, I generally do not make difference between Russians and Ukrainians. But we are against this form of regime change (coup – ed.), it is generally bad wherever he was in the world, and in the post-Soviet space is absolutely unacceptable”, – said Putin.
He also expressed regret that the Western partners of Russia is clearly visible desire to recognize the correct only his own point of view, and other views that differ from their own, to declare outright propaganda.
The meeting was attended by over 130 experts and political scientists from 30 countries. The 12th meeting of the participants of the Great Valdai opened in Sochi on 19 October. Putin has already attended previous meetings, including meeting 2014, which took place in Sochi and was dedicated to the new rules of world order. As in 2013, then President a few hours answered questions of the participants.
Club “Valdai” was created in September 2004. Its name he received at the venue of the first conference in Veliky Novgorod, near lake Valdai. The club unites leading foreign political scientists and experts, specialized on research in the field of the Russian economy and cultural-humanitarian spheres. The club meetings are held annually in different regions of Russia. During the 11 years existence of the club was attended by over 900 representatives of the international scientific community from 62 countries.