Russia is not planning to contest with Western countries or erect a new “Iron Curtain,” but the country will struggle for its geopolitical interests and develop its agenda, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Andrei Vandenko, the author of the TASS project Top Officials.
“We don’t need to contest. We simply don’t need to contest,” he said. “We simply need to calmly implement our agenda,” the president believes.
Putin is calm about the attempts to pressure Russia from outside. “As soon as Russia rises to its feet, gets stronger and claims its right to defend its interests outside its territory, the attitude to the state and its leaders changes in the twinkle of an eye,” he said.
He recalled how it was with Russia’s first president, Boris Yeltsin. “In the first stages, the world approved everything. The West received everything he did with unequivocal cheers. But as soon as he spoke up in defense of Yugoslavia, he immediately turned into a drinker and a carrier of all vices in the mind of the Westerners,” Putin reminded.
“It’s an open secret, of course, that Yeltsin loved to give himself a damp. And was there anyone who did not know about it before? Everyone knew it, but it did not hinder his contacts with the world,” he added.
“And as soon as the moment came to defend Russia’s interests in the Balkans and he stated it openly, he turned almost into an enemy of the West,” the president stated.
According to Putin, today the similar situation is around Ukraine. “It is assumed that Russia has interests there but our right to defend them and the people living in those territories is denied,” he said.
“We are told, why are you pressing forward with the idea of the Russian world all the time, what if people don’t want to live in it? No one is pressing forward with it, which doesn’t mean however that it does not exist,” Putin added.
“But when Russia begins to speak about it and to defend people and its own interests, it turns into a bad guy at once,” the president said.
“And do you think it’s the East of Ukraine that really matters? Does the problem lurk in our position on eastern Ukraine or Crimea? Not at all. Were it this particular pretext, any other would be found. And this has always been so,” he said.
The president is confident that “we shouldn’t fan any passions over it on our side.”
“One should understand: that’s how the world is functioning. It implies the struggle for geopolitical interests and, consequently, the nation’s significance, as well as the ability to generate a new economy, to resolve social problems, and to improve living standards,” Putin explained.
“The struggle for geopolitical interests leads to the situation when a country either becomes stronger, resolving its financial, defense, economic and subsequently social issues more effectively, or slides into the category of third-, fifth-rate countries, losing a possibility to safeguard the interests of its people,” he stated.
The president also said that Russia is not planning to fence itself off from the rest of the world and build new fences. “We are not and will be not,” he said. “We realize the malignity of the ‘iron curtain’ for us,” Putin said.
“There were periods in the history of other countries, which tried to isolate themselves from the rest of the world and paid very dearly for that, practically by degradation and collapse. Undoubtedly we are not taking this path. And nobody is going to build a wall around us. It is impossible!” the president assured.
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