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MOSCOW, October 28. /TASS/. Moscow will rebuff attempts to put up a new Iron Curtain, Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the upper house of Russian parliament said in an exclusive interview with TASS.
“We are not fencing ourselves off, are not calling for a breakup of political, cultural, inter-parliamentary or other ties with the West and are not intensifying military presence outside our territory,” she said in connection with the current downturn in relations between Russia and Western countries in the wake of sanctions that the latter have imposed on Moscow. “And we oppose the return of the Iron Curtain and will rebuff the attempts to put it up,” she said.
Matviyenko recalled that this was not the first-ever downhill slide in relations between Russia and the West but the standoff would end one day all the same.
She also said Russia had drawn lessons from the arms race of the 1960’s and the 1970’s, adding, “A confrontation is not on the agenda. But reasonable deterrence is.”
“The program of rearmament of the Armed Forces in the years 2011 through to 2020 costs our budget some twenty trillion rubles,” Matviyenko said. “That’s very sizable expenditure but it’s vital."
She said NATO was building up its presence along Russian borders.
“Russia’s leadership would have acted irresponsibly if it had not taken adequate steps to support national security (given the situation as it is,” Matviyenko said. “We tied up our response to the results of analysis of military threats and the forecasts for Russia’s economic development. Estimations show that the task is feasible without overburdening the economy, winding up social programs or tightening the belts in general.