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Modifying Russia according to Western patterns impossible — Russian Railways ex-CEO

Yakunin said he was confident that "no place for Russia in the West as an equal member of the world community had ever been planned"
Vladimir Yakunin  TASS/Mikhail Pochuev
Vladimir Yakunin
© TASS/Mikhail Pochuev

ST.PETERSBURG, September 1. /TASS/. Changing Russia in accordance with Western patterns was impossible, former head of the Russian Railways joint-stock company and chairman of the Guardian Council of the Centre of National Glory of Russia Vladimir Yakunin said on Tuesday lecturing at the Russian State Pedagogical University in St.Petersburg describing the liberal reforms of the 1990s.

"The neo-liberal reforms in Russia were carried out with massive support from the West, and today it’s clear that modifying Russia, the Russian society in accordance with Western patterns was impossible," Yakunin said.

According to him, "the attempts to integrate into the Western centrist model are absolutely unacceptable to Russia. He noted that "following reforms, Russia lagged far behind the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), [the largest republic within the Soviet Union]."

Yakunin said he was confident that "no place for Russia in the West as an equal member of the world community had ever been planned, these are the illusions the organizers of the so-called perestroika (restructuring) got infected with at the time." "The ‘raw materials empire’ or the ‘energy super power’ theory emerged. These are illusions as well, as it only seems that the manufacturer may determine the price. In reality, there is a global beneficiary who has all control levers at his disposal," he noted.

According to Yakunin, in this context, Crimea’s return to Russia was "not just the incorporation of the territory but the declaration of an attempt to revive the country’s civilizational identity."

Crimea’s integration with Russia to take some time 

"Crimea’s integration with Russia is a historical process, which takes some time," Yakunin told the students of the Russian State Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg where he gave a lecture.

"The problem of Crimean Tatars still exists. It has not disappeared anywhere. The peninsula is still isolated from Russia’s infrastructure. We should not idealize bureaucrats responsible for the integration either. But politically, it was the will expressed by Crimean inhabitants. No matter how hard the West is trying to misinterpret these events, nothing will come of it," Yakunin stressed.

According to Yakunin, Crimea’s economic integration with Russia is slower than its political integration. "It is not an easy thing to integrate Crimea with Russia economically. But the economic integration is taking place," Yakunin said.

On March 11, 2014, the Supreme Council of Crimea and the City Council of Sevastopol adopted a declaration of independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol amidst the general political crisis and regime change in Ukraine.

On March 16, 2014, the authorities in Crimea and Sevastopol held a referendum on the peninsula’s reunification with Russia in which 80% of eligible voters took part: 96.7% of the voters in Crimea and 95.6% in Sevastopol voted for reunification with Russia.

On March 18, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty on reunification of the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol with Russia. The Russian Federal Assembly (parliament) ratified the treaty on March 21.

Despite the convincing referendum results, Ukraine refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.