On Tuesday, newspapers comment on Vladimir Putin’s another election program article, published in the Moskovskie Novosti /Moscow News/ daily on Monday. This time, it was devoted to foreign policy.
Prime Minister and a presidential candidate Vladimir Putin presented a program article on foreign policy, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. He condemned the attempts of outside forces to dominate Russia, but at the same time spoke for cooperation, including searching for a compromise in anti-missile defence. The article resembles Putin’s famous speech in Munich, which he delivered five years earlier – on February 10, 2007. Though with consideration of new factors in the global situation, including the Arab Spring.
The newspaper quotes Deputy President of the Centre for Political Technologies Alexei Makarkin, who does not exclude toughening of legislation regarding non-governmental organisations in Russia. “I belive, this is the reaction to the Arab Spring and thus the understanding that the West in this situation may be playing a bigger role and may be overthrowing regimes, including by means of the resource of civil organisations. In this case, it is a reaction to certain challenges,” the political scientist said.
Chancellor of Russia’s Academy of the Foreign Ministry Evgeny Bazhanov told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that the article complies with the concept of Russia’s foreign policy, which was adopted in 2008. The article highlights first of all the aspects of its being open, independent; it focuses on international cooperation and non-use of force. At the same time, the article considers the new circumstances in the situation. For example, vital is Putin’s stressing the necessity to base on the UN as an organisation, which settles problems of assuring peace. The latest events have revealed the importance on non-admission of interference in home affairs of other countries, the expert said.
“The main, the key aspect in Putin’s article is that Russia is an independent centre of force, which focuses on its own national interests; Russia is one of a few states on the planet, which is able to have its sovereign foreign and home policies,” Argumenty i Fakty /Arguments and Facts/ weekly quotes Vyacheslav Nikonov, President of the Politika /Politics/ Fund.
“One of the biggest problems of Russian diplomacy and its foreign policy is that Russia lacks instruments of ‘soft power’, while the West has those,” Moskovsky Komsomolets quotes Russia and the CIS program director at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), Alexander Rahr, as saying. “Russia should learn to establish such instruments. It is cultural, religious, political influence, this provides allies, influence via ideas. This is practically missing now, thus I believe this phrase is addressed against the West, which has a lot of such means of influence. I think this is the most important challenge the country is facing. Because Russia considers itself a great country, an independent player in the international arena, but for that it should have in the XXI century instruments of ‘soft force’.”