SOCHI, January 11. The expansion of NATO to the East was the reason that in world politics there are still relationships peculiar to the “cold war”. The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin said in an interview with German newspaper Bild.
Putin recalled the words of a famous German politician of the second half of the twentieth century Egon Bar, held in different years to the posts of Minister for special Affairs and the Minister for economic cooperation of Germany, about the relationship between Europe, the USA, NATO and USSR. “He was a very smart man. He had seen this (the non-proliferation of NATO to Central Europe and further East) is a deep meaning, was convinced that we need to change the format completely, get away from the “cold war”, – Putin said. “And we did nothing”, – he stated.
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In an interview with Putin shared with the journalist extracts from conversations of the Soviet leadership with German politicians in 1990 that has never been published before. “This work talks of German politicians (Vice Chancellor of Germany Hans-Dietrich) Genscher, (German Chancellor Helmut) Kohl, (former Minister for economic cooperation of Germany Egon) Bar with the Soviet leadership: (Mikhail) Gorbachev, Lord (Valentine) Talinum, which, in my opinion, at the time headed the international Department of the Central Committee – said the head of state. – It’s never been made public”. According to Putin, a Bar at the meeting warned: “If the unification of Germany does not make decisive steps to overcome the division of Europe into hostile blocs, the development may take a very unfavorable nature, which condemns the Soviet Union in the international isolation”. The Russian leader noted that the Bar on the proposed concrete steps, including he talked about the need to create in Central Europe a new Union. “It (Europe) is not to move in NATO. The whole of Central Europe, including East Germany or without, would have to join a separate Union and the Soviet Union, and the United States,” said Putin.
“What happened actually? Happened that from which warned Mr. Bar – stated the President. He warned that it is impossible to develop a military structure to the East, the North Atlantic bloc. We need to create something in common that unites all of Europe. None of this happened, and happened the exact opposite occurred, against which he warned that the infrastructure of NATO began to develop to the East, and the extension”.
“We did everything wrong, from the first steps, we overcame the division of Europe, – said the Russian leader. 25 years ago the Berlin wall fell, but the division of Europe was overcome, the invisible walls were just moved to the East.” According to him, this created the preconditions for future recriminations, misunderstandings and crises.
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Remembered the head of state and the words American and European politicians, asserts that countries have the right to choose their own way of ensuring their safety. “Yes, we know about it. It’s true, – said Putin. But it is also true that other countries have the right to decide to expand their own organization and not to expand, to act as they consider appropriate from the point of view of universal international security. And leading members of NATO could say: no, we’re glad you want to join us, but we are not going to expand our organization, we see differently the future of Europe”.
According to the President, over the last 2025 years, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union, disappeared when the second center of power in the world, “a desire to gain full pleasure from his sole stay on top of the world of fame, power and prosperity”. “And I had no desire to have to apply either to international law or to the Charter of the United Nations, he stated. Where they interfere, immediately declared that the UN is obsolete”.
The desire of the West to “reign”
Putin also noted that the expansion of NATO to the East was caused by the desire of the West to “reign”, which led to the current crises in the world. This view was expressed by the President, answering a question, whether, in his opinion, the Alliance to refuse to accept in its membership countries of Eastern Europe.
“Of course,” said Putin. “What is it in the Charter (Alliance) says that NATO is obliged to accept all who would want to? No,” said the President of the Russian Federation. He stressed that with political will, the Alliance could do in the matter of accepting new countries as you like.
“I didn’t just (refuse extensions – note). Wanted to reign. Sat on this throne. And what’s next? Now we are discussing the crisis”, – concluded Putin.
He added that if, instead, in the early 1990s in the West decided to do as suggested “smart old German, Mr. Egon Bar” (1922 – 2015; the politician of Germany – approx.) – namely, “would create something new, unifying Europe, and crises like these.” According to Putin, “there would be other situation”, and emerging problems in it, perhaps, “had not acquired such acuteness”.
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Putin also said that Russia was trying to warn NATO against erroneous actions in Libya and Iraq, but it did not listen and accused him of anti-Western position.
“We are strongly opposed to what happened, say, in Iraq, in Libya, in some other countries. We said don’t do that, don’t need to get in and do not make mistakes,” he said. “We are no one listened! On the contrary, believed that we occupy some anti-Western, hostile to the West position,” the President said. “And now, when you have hundreds of thousands, a million refugees, do you think our position was anti-Western or Pro-Western?” – Putin suggested to the journalist to answer the question.
The President mentioned missile defense system that develops in Europe under the pretext of countering an Iranian nuclear threat. Putin reminded of the words of the American leader Barack Obama, said in 2009 that if the nuclear threat of Iran would cease to exist, then there is no incentive to create a missile defense system will not.
“The agreement with Iran was signed, is now considered the issues of lifting sanctions, all this is placed under the control of the IAEA, first the uranium is shipped to Russia for processing, – stated the President of Russia. – And the missile defense system continues to evolve”. Putin recalled that the relevant bilateral agreement the U.S. signed with Turkey, Romania, Poland, Spain.