BERLIN, March 12 (Itar-Tass) – Russia in recent years has turned into a more “serious, important partner for Europe than it was in the mid-1990s, when it was a country with a weak economy, collapsed social sphere, that has not yet overcome the consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union,” chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the State Duma lower house of parliament Alexei Pushkov said on Monday. He was speaking at a meeting of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). He is in the German capital on a working visit.
According to the parliamentarian, “we can now speak of a more stable Russia,” which at the same time has “its own set of serious problems.” “But it is also obvious that Russia has largely restored its influence,” he said, adding that the idea of ··Russia as only a regional power is outdated. “Russia does not at all claim the global role claimed by the Soviet Union,” but “it is also obvious that in today’s multi-polar world it is one of the poles of this world and its significance is much greater than the significance of a purely regional country,” Pushkov explained.
“Russia and Europe are brought together by the similarity of the historical type, because we belong to the same continent,” and “we feel like in the global world many nations have a keener sense of their Europeanness in the conditions of a globalised world,” he continued. “Russia sees itself as a European country,” the head of the Duma committee stressed.
In his view, “there is no need to talk about Russia’s departure to Asia, its departure from European orientation,” because, for example, “Russians in Vladivostok feel European, although they live on the far edge of Asia.” It should be understood that “Europe is different – that united in the European Union, as well as Europe that is not within it.”
In the view of Alexei Pushkov, “we have developed a unified cultural space.” There is no “iron curtain” at present, which is confirmed by the extensive human contacts, virtually unimpeded flow of ideas across borders.” “This is evidenced by the fact that more and more people from Europe come to Russia and from Russia – to Europe,” he said. Moreover, the presence of Europeans in Russia “has long not been limited to Moscow and St. Petersburg – it is a much broader process,” the chairman of the Duma Committee on International Affairs concluded.