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Monday, 7 July 2014

Putin speech to Russian diplomats: 'The time of U.S. world domination has ended'

Eurasia Daily Monitor

This week in Moscow President Vladimir Putin made a major foreign policy statement, while speaking to a worldwide gathering of Russian ambassadors and permanent diplomatic representatives. According to Putin, the West did not give Moscow a choice, but to move to annex Crimea last March to defend Russians and Russian-speakers "that consider themselves part of the wider Russian world" ("Ruskiy Mir"). Putin insisted that NATO planned to swiftly move its forces into Sevastopol and radically change the balance of power in the region, depriving Russia of everything it had been fighting for since the times of Tsar Peter the Great.

According to Putin, the present crisis in Ukraine is a manifestation of the core Western policy of "deterring Russia" that continued despite the end of the Cold war. Putin announced Moscow would continue to defend the rights of Russian "compatriots" living abroad "using political, economic and self-defense humanitarian operations." He declared that the time of U.S. world domination has ended and Russia will be reintegrating the Eurasian landmass [former USSR], while promoting better relations with Europe, "which is our natural partner." The Russian foreign ministry was ordered to work on preparing "a joint space of economic and humanitarian cooperation from Lisbon to Vladivostok," based on absolute noninterference in internal political matters and excluding the U.S. Putin accused Washington of blackmailing Paris to stop the delivery of the French-built Mistral helicopter-carrying assault ships to the Russian Navy (kremlin.ru, July 1). The first Mistral is planned for delivery this year and it could be stationed in Sevastopol (Rossyskaya Gazeta, June 25).

Putin's speech was controversial: while accusing the West of ignoring international law and interfering in others' affairs by promoting so called "democracy," Putin strongly asserted Russia's right to intervene in other nations internal affairs "to defend Russian compatriots abroad." The Kremlin rejects the West ideologically, politically and militarily, but Putin's speech did not spell out fully the practical part of the Russian foreign policy agenda (gazeta.ru, July1).



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