MOSCOW, June 22. /TASS/. The United States wants Russia to cease to exist as a country, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview with the Kommersant daily published Monday.
"We possess enormous riches," Patrushev said. "Americans believe that we hold them illegally and undeservingly, because, in their view, we don’t use them the way we should."
He recalled words of US Ex-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that neither the Far East, nor Siberia belongs to Russia.
Patrushev said the United States influences Europe, imposing on it a sanctions policy against Russia and non-acceptance of Crimea’s reunification with the Russian Federation.
"Don't they [Europeans] agree with it [legality of Crimea’s reunification]? They certainly will not say that in public, but in reality, it’s true. The West realizes that all that happened in Crimea was legitimate, that there was a referendum there etc. They actually have no particular objections on Crimea," he said.
"And I think it will all settle down with time," Patrushev said.
He cited another example of US pressure on Europe.
"There have been repeated cases when some of Europeans asked to come to us, and we said, come here at a certain date, but then a written answer came that they were not happy with the time or something else. Unofficially, they explained that the Americans pressured them, telling them that it is not the right time to maintain contacts now," Patrushev said.
He said the reason for the situation is that the Americans are strong and the Europeans "lack willpower." "The US is striving to dominate the world. This goal is written in their doctrines. And it copes with the task: it dominates despite the fact that the world is changing," he said.
Crimea's reunification with Russia
The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.
Despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession from Ukraine was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, the West and Kiev have refused to recognize the legality of Crimea’s reunification with Russia.
Crimea had joined the Russian Empire in 1783, when it was conquered by Russian Empress Catherine the Great.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of newly independent Ukraine and remained in that capacity until March 2014, when it reunified with Russia after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.
According to the Crimean and Ukrainian statistics bodies, as of early 2014, Crimea had a population of 1,959,000 people; Sevastopol has a population of 384,000 people.
Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems has been actively underway since Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation.