Putin slams the West for imperial ambitions
There is no reason for a new Cold War between Russia and the West, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin believes.
Russia and the United States had already settled their ideological contradictions, but geopolitical differences could remain, Putin said at a meeting with the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi today. “We do not have any underlying basis for mutual hostility, but on the contrary, we have many common problems,” he stressed.
Asked why Russia had failed to build partner relations with the West, Putin said: “And why didn’t the West create stable relations with Russia? Efforts are needed from both sides.” The United States and Western Europe should respect the interests of their partners if they want to build equal relations, according to the Russian Prime Minister.
“God forbid to meddle in a conflict on American soil, this is ‘the Holy of Holies’, but it is normal to send warships to some 10km away from where we are,” Putin said. He also pointed to the heterogeneity of the West. “Is it a monolithic structure? This monolith had been created during the Cold War, and it was designed against the USSR. But that danger no longer exists,” the premier stressed.
He also criticized the West’s double standard approach to Kosovo and South Ossetia. “It is wrong to insist on the right to self-determination in Kosovo’s case and on the territorial integrity in Georgia’s case,” Putin said, adding that Russia had asked the international community not to set a precedent in Kosovo. “But they did as they saw fit for their geopolitical interests, our American partners in the first place,” he remarked.
It is necessary to agree on the rules of the game. “If we agree on common rules, this will be an important element of global stability,” the Prime Minister underlined. Not a single nation should be allowed to “behave like a Roman emperor,” according to Putin. “It is necessary to respect the interests of one’s partners. We are offering this approach, and we are ready to follow it,” he concluded.
At the same time, he said Russia had no desire to infringe on the sovereignty of the former Soviet republics, noting that the initiative to disintegrate the Soviet Union came from Russia.
“We have made this decision, and we have no desire and no grounds to violate the sovereignty of the former Soviet republics,” Putin stated.
Even after Europe recognized Kosovo’s independence, Russia did not begin raising the issue of South Ossetia and Abkhazia’s right to self-determination, the Prime Minister added.
[Source: RosBusinessConsulting, Moscow, 11Sep08]
The Question of South Ossetia
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