Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov summed up the foreign political results of the previous year and dwelt on a new version of the Russian Foreign Policy Concept at a big press conference on Wednesday. The Russian Foreign Policy Concept will be made public, as soon as President Vladimir Putin signs it. In particular, Lavrov noted that “the resetting cannot last forever.” Russia will use “the soft power” in the settlement of the foreign political problems.
A new reading of the Russian Foreign Policy Concept, which the Russian Foreign Ministry had drafted, was submitted in the Russian presidential administration in the end of November 2012, the Kommersant daily recalled. The newspaper noted that the concept is on the table of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but he did not sign it yet. A source in the Kremlin said that this fact is linked with “a closer attention of the president to the fundamental foreign political document.” “It cannot be ruled out that several clauses will have to be toughened a little bit, because, for instance, the struggle against the interference in our domestic affairs should be brought on a new level,” the Kommersant source said.
The experts noted that the recent events in the relations with the United States, primarily the enactment of the Magnitsky law in the US, could have affected the Russian presidential position. Sergei Lavrov also confirmed this indirectly on Wednesday. “A new irritating factor of the Magnitsky law was added to the irritating factor of the missile defence. The human tragedy was used cynically to “punish” Russia and interfere in the trial, which our judicial system is conducting and which is not over yet,” Lavrov stated. “The US lawmakers assumed the role of judges in the issues, which concern our Russian domestic life,” he remarked.
Speaking on Russian retaliatory actions, particularly the so-called anti-Magnitsky law, Sergei Lavrov noted that the Russian authorities “had to react in some way.” “This was not our choice. We were forced to act this way, as there are concrete laws in the relations between the countries and such actions cannot be left without any response,” the diplomat explained. He warned that Russia will “combat firmly the attempts to interfere in our affairs and teach us lessons, moreover, our “lecturers” are not perfect in many aspects.” “We hope that a new US administration, which Barack Obama is forming, will draw conclusions from a regretful experience and will act in the way as we agreed upon on the basis of mutual respect, equal rights, mutual profit and without any attempts to interfere in the domestic affairs of each other,” the minister said in conclusion.
Sergei Lavrov’s harsh statement towards the US “shows Putin’s new foreign political doctrine,” director of the Moscow Carnegie Centre Dmitry Trenin said. “Each presidential term of Putin brings a new foreign policy. Contrary to first two terms of Putin today this policy has a much stronger domestic political thrust. The new Russian foreign policy is becoming more isolationistic towards the West,” the expert told the Kommersant daily.
Lavrov noted the resetting in Russian-US relations cannot last forever, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily noted. “If this is a computer term, everybody should realize that the eternal resetting is a system failure: it hanged up,” the minister said. Meanwhile, he acknowledged that the US administration promoted successfully new approaches, thanks to that the atmosphere “at all levels of Russian-US cooperation” has improved.
Russia expects a response from the US to an invitation to Barack Obama to visit Russia. The amassed problems could have been made less acute at the top level. “New irritating factors, including the Magnitsky law, were added to the irritating factor of the missile defence,” Lavrov noted. “Today we witness a new spiral of deterioration over the court verdict on the Schneerson collection. The court verdict has nothing in common with justice,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, the minister noted that Russia can seek for a trial against the Hasids, who did not bring back several books from the Schneerson collection to the Russian State Library. They received the books for a couple of months ten years ago as a gesture of goodwill, but they had not returned the books yet.
The minister did not conceal that Russia intends to use the power in the settlement of international problems, but a specific power, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily noted. Lavrov noted that a broader use of the so-called “soft power” will make the Russian foreign policy more practically efficient. At the same time the Russian Foreign Ministry intends to continue “more vigorous cooperation with the structures of the civil society.” The Russian Foreign Ministry intends to hold regular meetings with the non-governmental organizations, the expert community within the scientific board under the foreign minister, the Russian council for international affairs, the foundation for the support and protection of the rights of compatriots abroad, the Russian foreign minister added.