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Putin: Russia is not going to attack anyone

October 27, 2016, 18:20 UTC+3
Vladimir Putin stresses Russia does not aim at global domination or expansion
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Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

©  Mikhail Metzel/TASS

SOCHI, October 27. /TASS/. Russia has no intention of attacking anyone, it is ridiculous, foolish and unthinkable, Russian President Vladimir Putin said speaking at a meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club on Thursday.

"The truth is, however, that Russia is not going to attack anyone, that’s ridiculous. I read your analytical materials prepared not only by those present but also by analysts in the US and Europe. However, it is just unthinkable, silly and unrealistic. In Europe alone, the combined population of NATO countries stands at 300 million, in the US the total population is, probably, 600 million, while in Russia - 146 million. It is just funny to talk about this," Putin said.

Contradictions are growing

According to the Russian president, contradictions stemming from redistribution of political power are growing.

"Regrettably, next to nothing has changed for the better in the past months. To be frank, nothing has changed. Contradictions stemming from redistribution of economic power and political influence are only growing," Putin said.

Hence, according to the Russian leader, the burden of mutual mistrust is limiting possibilities to stand to real challenges and real threats facing the world community. "As a matter of fact, the entire globalization project has turned to be in a crisis and voices in Europe are speaking (and we know and hear it well) about the failure of the policy of mulicultiralism," Putin said, adding that this situation is a consequence of a wrong, hasty and somewhat arrogant choice made by Europe’s political elites some twenty-five years ago.

"Back then, at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, there was a chance not only to spur globalization processes but to give them a qualitatively new, harmonious and sustainable character," the Russian leader said. He drew attention to the fact that the countries that claimed to be the winners in the Cold War began to reshape the global political and economic order in their own interests.

These states, in his words, embarked on a path of "globalization and security for themselves only, but not for all." But not all agreed on that.

Some could not resist that any longer whereas others were not yet ready, so, no wonder the system of international relations has been feverish and the global economy is failing to recover from the crisis, Putin added.

Geopolitical tensions

Putin said an acute issue of global geopolitical tensions should be eased but not "at the expense of our funeral."

"We are all in demand for easing geopolitical tensions, but not at the expense of our funeral," Putin said.

"If the price for easing geopolitical tensions is our funeral then it would be unsuitable for everyone, including those doubting the effectiveness of the work of the current authorities and those striving for serious changes," Putin said.

Putin believes Russia will be developing along the pathway of evolution, while revolutions inflict hazard.

"We need an evolutionary process and I do hope we'll be moving on along the road of evolution," he said.

He stressed the essentiality of unstopped development in politics and the economy, as stagnation begins in their absence. "As a rule, revolutions bring nothing but hazards," he believes.

Putin dismissed the revolutionary path of development as an incorrect and detrimental one.

Globalization issue

It is possible to overcome any challenges and threats only together

The Russian president stressed globalization should be for all but not only for the select few.

"Obviously, the global community must focus on really topical problems facing the entire humankind, the solution of which will make the world a safer and more stable place and the system of international relations equal and fair," Putin said.

He said such an approach will make it possible to "make the globalization for the select few turn into globalization for all."

"I am confident that it is possible to overcome any challenges and threats only together," Putin stressed.

The Russian leader said he is confident that global problems must be addressed "on a solid basis of international law and the United Nations Charter." "Today, only the United Nations continues to be a structure that has no equal in terms of representation and universality. It is a unique venue for an equal dialogue, the United Nations universal rules are necessary to involve as many as possible countries into the process of economic and humanitarian integration, to guarantee their political responsibility and ensure coordination of actions," Putin said, adding that that each state should be granted sovereignty and its own development model.

"We have no doubts: sovereignty is a central notion in the entire system of international relations. Respect to sovereignty is a guarantee of peace and stability both at a national and the international levels," the Russian president stressed.

Putin expects world to become balanced, multipolar

Putin expressed hope that the world will become more balanced and multipolar in the future.

"I hope that the change of the real balance of forces in the world will be followed by the political-diplomatic and legislative backup of these changes for the better," Putin said.

"The world will become more balanced and multipolar," he added.

Putin said everyone had had great expectations from the ‘warming’ of Russia’s relations with the West as the main ideological obstacle was gone.

"Everyone thought that a new life will begin. But it turned out that there are more deep-routed things than ideological contradictions, the so-called national and geopolitical interests," Putin said.

Sabre rattling with nuclear weapons

Putin considers "sabre rattling" with nuclear weapons to be impossible. "Sabre rattling with nuclear weapons is the last thing to do. It is bad rhetoric and I do not welcome it," he said.

"But we should proceed from realities and from the fact that nuclear weapons is a deterrent and a factor of preserving global peace and security," the Russian head of state stressed.

The Russian head of state said that nuclear weapons could not be considered to be a factor of potential aggression because "that would mean an end to our civilization."

The president stressed the need of observing the regime of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and its means of delivery as well as developing a responsible attitude of all nuclear powers to their status.

"Russia will stick exactly to these approaches despite any statements, which perhaps may sound somewhere in the course of polemic discussions," the Russian head of state stressed.

Putin recalled that the US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty forced Russia to improve its strike systems. "In that way, we triggered the arms race in this sphere. The most important thing for everybody is to demonstrate a serious and responsible approach. Russia is going to act this way," Putin concluded.

Global propaganda tools

The president said he regrets that Moscow does not possess such global propaganda techniques as Washington does.

"I would like to have such a propaganda machine in Russia. But, unfortunately, I don’t. We have no such global media as CNN, BBC and some others. We have no such opportunities so far," Putin said.

The president also cited the lack of strategies and ideologies of the future.

"This creates the atmosphere of uncertainty, which affects public moods," he said, adding that most people are afraid of the future and see no opportunity to change anything.

Putin said that most countries formally have attributes of democracy but most people have no real influence on the authorities.

"As a result, referendums and elections more frequently bring surprises to governments. People vote in a different way than they were advised by respected official media and recommended by the so-called system parties," he said.

Such outcomes were earlier explained with "abnormal contingence", Putin said, adding that it was followed by statements that "the society does not understand power holders."

"And sometimes it results in hysteria and claims that this is a consequence of foreign, usually, Russian propaganda," Putin said.

Global leadership at present should be in seeing real problems and promoting unity of efforts

Global leadership

 The president noted that global leadership at present should be in seeing real problems and promoting unity of efforts of countries in solving them.

"There are many countries in the world capable of relying upon the millennial history like Russia, and we learned to value our identity, freedom and independence; at the same time, we do not aim at global domination, expansion of some kind or confrontation with anyone," the president said.

"The real leadership now is not in inventing ephemeral threats and trying to subdue others by speculating on them, but in seeing real problems and promoting unity of efforts of countries to solve them," Putin said. "This is exactly how Russia understands its role in global affairs at present," he added.

"Priorities are obvious, without which the safe future of our planet cannot be thought of - above all, these are equal and indivisible security for all states," the Russian leader said. "We can speak of economic progress, solution of social, humanitarian and other key problems only by halting armed conflicts and securing peaceful development of all countries," Putin said.

The president stresses Russia does not aim at global domination or expansion and advocates equal and indivisible security for all.

The priorities, without which safe future of our planet is unthinkable, are obvious, I will not say anything new. That’s, above all, equal and indivisible security," the president said.

The Russian leader stressed that Russia had learned to appreciate its identity, freedom and independence. "However, we seek neither global dominance nor expansion nor confrontation," he said, adding that true leadership is not about inventing ephemeral threats and trying to force all others into submission. According to Putin, true leadership means seeing real problems and helping various countries to join forces to tackle these issues. That’s how Russia sees its role in the world affairs, Putin noted.

He emphasized that it would be possible to talk about economic progress, efforts to address humanitarian, social and other key issues only after stopping armed conflicts and ensuring peaceful development of all countries.

Russian military threat is a ‘profitable business’

Putin said that the stamping of a mythical Russian military threat was "a profitable business"

"Fabricated, mythical threats like the so-called Russian military threat are constantly stamped. This is, indeed, a profitable business to seek new budgets in countries and press allies to fit the interests of one superpower, expand NATO and bring the alliance’s infrastructure, combat units and military hardware to our borders," Putin said.

The president went on to say that Russia sees no real adjustment to new conditions in NATO.

"Structures that were established back in the time of the Cold War and that have obviously grown obsolete, such as NATO, are seeing no real adjustment to the new conditions, despite all the talk about the necessity to do that," Putin said.

According to the Russia leader, there have been attempts to turn such a major mechanism of European and trans-Atlantic security as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) into an instrument to serve somebody’s foreign policy interests. Hence, this instrument is just spinning its wheels.

The president said NATO has turned down the idea of switching on transponders onboard warplanes flying over the Baltic Sea, like Russia is doing.

The Russian leader reminded that this initiative had been advanced by Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto and Russia raised that issue at a Russia-NATO meeting.

"Our NATO partners have turned down this initiative. Moreover, they said they turn down Putin’s initiative. Putin has nothing to do with it. As a matter of fact, they have turned down the initiative of Mr. Niinisto," Putin stressed.

According to the Russian president, a possible use of switched-on transponders in warplanes is not an easy step for Russia as well, as it is linked with both technical and purely military aspects. "But I did issue a relevant order to the defense ministry: to look for such a possibility without harming our security. And our defense ministry has found such a possibility but our NATO partners do not want to do that. So, please, refer all your questions there, to Brussels, to the NATO headquarters," the Russian leader said.

He said the use of switched-on transponders in flights over the Baltic Sea would be a real step towards better security in the region. He noted however that "the number of flights performed by our planes is much less than that of NATO countries."

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto came out with an initiative to oblige warplanes switch on transponders while flying over the Baltic Sea in early July 2015, when the Russian president was paying a visit to Finland. Later in that month, Russia’s military representatives referred a number of trust-building initiatives in a written form to a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council.

International law system

According to Putin, the world needs an international law system that would guarantee against any abuses by force.

"An international law system is needed that would be respected by all the countries and it is necessary to return to the Charter of the United Nations Organization," Putin cited a line from a report by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, noting that he shared this position.

"We think that national interests are to be realized in dialogue with all international players, respecting their interests and using generally recognized rules which are called the international law," Putin said.

When asked to speak about the formula of Russia’s national interests, Putin said, "What is good for Russians and the peoples of Russia is what constitutes Russia’s national interests."

The matter is not in "promoting these national interests at any cost, the matter is in how to do that," Putin stressed.

According to the Russian president, countries have started to treat neglectfully the UN Charter, ousting it while adopting very important decisions, pretending that this is already unimportant and has become outdated.

"Then, when the world is confronted with acute problems, those who are guilty of breaching the UN Charter, sharply start to call for fulfilling the Charter’s basic provisions," Putin said.

"It is necessary from the very beginning that everyone should understand this and respect the UN Charter. A reliable international law system is needed that would be a guarantee against any abuses by force," the Russian president said.

"It is essential to get back to what is written down in the UN Charter, because there is no other universal organization like the United Nations in the whole world. Should we abandon it now, we will start along the sure road to chaos. There is no universal alternative in the modern world," Putin said.

He believes that the world situation has changed a great deal and the UN Security Council needs reform. That can be done while preserving the effectiveness of the organization on the basis of a wide consensus. The reforms are to be acceptable to an overwhelming majority of the international community, Putin said.

The Russian leader stressed the need for returning to the common understanding of the principles and rules of international law, produced on the basis of the UN Charter. Putin recalled that the UN had been established right after World War II, in the context of a certain lineup of forces.

"After the breakup of the Soviet Union the United States decided that nothing would have to be coordinated with anybody, that there was nobody to agree fundamental issues with," he stated. The air strikes against Belgrade became possible, Putin said, adding that in fact they were a savage act. He recalled that all that happened in defiance of the UN Charter and there had been no permission to conduct the operation in Yugoslavia. Nor had the UN been asked for consent to military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

Interference in elections

Putin said interference in the electoral system of any country by other countries, including cyber-attacks, was totally inadmissible.

"I think that's totally inadmissible, he said.

On the whole, Putin is confident that "interference in the political processes of any country by other countries are inadmissible regardless of the methods the attackers choose whether these are cyber-attacks or whether they involve other instruments or client organizations within one or another country.

As an example of this, he referred to a state coup attempt in Turkey this summer.

"Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan believe the coup attempt was undertaken by the milieus raised on the ideas and with assistance from an organization reporting to a certain Gulen who lives in the U.S. for ten years," Putin said.

"This is inadmissible and cyber-attacks are inadmissible likewise," he said.

Along with it, Putin said it was impossible to avoid mutual influence on one another, including in cyberspace.

Cybersecurity

Putin said  that countries need to be reaching mutual agreements to avoid the threat of cyberattacks, which exert outside pressure on domestic affairs and policies.

"How can we avoid such instances in case they emerge again?" Putin said. "There is no other way, but to enter agreements and work out certain regulations."

The Russian president said that such regulations "must be unified, accepted at state levels and might be always subjected to inspections."

The Russian president said, however, that the world was currently facing an issue regarding "the freedom of Internet and other related issues."

"We do know that in many countries, including these speaking for the freedom of Internet, render to taking steps limiting the access and it is connected with interests of the majority of citizens," the Russian president said adding that "it particularly concerns crimes, which can be prepared and be perpetrated in cyber sphere."

Putin said that for instance, such crimes imply "attempts to break into banking systems, illegal transfers of money."

"It also goes for suicides, crimes against children and et cetera," the Russian president said.

Putin reiterated that global efforts needed to prevent such crimes saying in particular that "we are capable of adopting relevant regulations at above-the-national scale at the level of relations between countries.’.

World economy

The president expects the trend towards regionalization of the world economy will continue.

The system of international relations remains feverish

"It is absolutely evident that economic cooperation must be mutually advantageous and be based on general universal principles, so that each state could become a full-fledged participant in the global economic life," Putin said. 

"In the mid-term prospect, the tendency towards regionalization of the global economy will apparently continue, but regional trade agreements should complement, develop, and not substitute universal norms and rules," the president said.

"The rules of the game must be such that we see the developing economies having a chance to at least catch up with whom we are calling the developed economics," he said. It is necessary to level the pace of economic development, to give a boost to the lagging behind countries and regions in order to make the products of economic growth and technological development accessible for all, he explained. Putin said this will help do away with poverty - one of the gravest problems of the present day.

Putin said these are the underlying principles of the Eurasian Economic Union, and talks are also underway with Chinese partners. "We expect that this will make it possible to create big economic partnership, which in the future may turn into one of the centers for shaping a broad integration contour in Eurasia," Putin said.

He also drew attention to a need for taking care of the environment as well as settling climatic problems. Putin believes these tasks will come to the forefront in the coming decades. He also listed global health care among these tasks.

The global economy is unable to get out of the current systemic crisis and the political and economic principles continue to be reshuffled, Putin stressed.

"The system of international relations remains feverish. The global economy is unable to get out of the systemic crisis. The principles and rules in politics and the economy continue to be reshuffled. Quite often dogmas that until recently had been regarded as fundamentally true are turned inside out," Putin said.

These days, he said, whenever the powers that be find some standards or rules beneficial, they force everybody else to obey them. However, if at a certain point the very same standards begin to pose obstructions, they are at once sent into the dustbin as outdated and new rules are established.

As an example of that strategy Putin mentioned the missile and bombing strikes against Belgrade and Iraq, then against Libya and Afghanistan. The operation began without a corresponding resolution by the UN Security Council. Some superpowers, the Russian leader said, in their attempts to change the strategic balance of force in their favor have torn down the international legal regime that prohibited the deployment of new missile defense systems. They have created and armed international terrorist groups, whose cruelty is now pushing millions of migrants out of the unsafe areas.

Whole countries are being plunged into chaos. The principles of free trade are trampled on and sanctions are used to exert political pressures.

"We can see the freedom of trade being sacrificed and so-called sanctions being used for exerting political pressures. In bypass of the World Trade Organizations attempts are being made to form closed economic alliances living by harsh rules and putting up firm barriers alliances where domestic transnational corporations will be the main beneficiaries," Putin said.

Contradictions in Asia

Putin said he considered Asia as a multipolar community and hoped that the leaders of the Asian continent would be able to find compromises.

"Asia is not unipolar and we clearly see and understand this. Life is generally complex and has multiple forms. It is entirely interwoven with contradictions and it is only important that these contradictions should be solved in a civilized manner," Putin said.

"It seems to me that the leaders of Asian countries today have enough common sense to achieve precisely this regime of work with each other," Putin noted.

"We’re ready to work in such a regime with all," the Russian leader added.

Moscow "is intensifying the development of relations with Asian countries not because our relations with Europe or the United States have strained," Putin said.

"This is simply because what is happening today is dictated by life itself, by the need to expand our contacts, increase these contacts," the Russian leader stressed.

According to Putin, "the growth and the significance of Asian countries are expanding."

"They will grow further and, what’s more, at quite a high rate," Putin said.

In Putin’s opinion, "for Russia with a considerable part of its territories located in Asia, it would be absurd not to use its geographical advantage and not to develop relations with its neighbors."

Putin cited China and India as the examples of developing relations with Asian partners.

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