News / Europe

After Vote, Putin Promises to Stand Up to West

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks during a massive rally in his support at Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, February. 23, 2012.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks during a massive rally in his support at Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, February. 23, 2012.

Under Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Russia has found common ground with Washington - on shipping war supplies to Afghanistan, halting the sale of anti-aircraft missiles to Iran and joining the World Trade Organization.

With Prime Minister Vladimir Putin leading all polls prior to Sunday’s presidential vote, though, the question of how Russia’s foreign policy would change under his return to the presidency is coming into focus.

In a 7,500-word foreign policy essay released Monday, the prime minister is promising a Russia with sharper elbows that vigorously pushes back against the West and forces it to take Moscow’s views into account.

Writing that "Russia is only treated with respect when it is strong and stands firm on its own two feet," he says "the only way to ensure global security is by doing it together with Russia, not by trying to ‘demote’ it, weaken it geopolitically, or undermine its defensive potential."

If Putin wins the presidential election on Sunday, he would rule Russia, the world’s largest country, through 2018.

Viktor Kremenyuk, a deputy director of the Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies, predicts that Kremlin cooperation with the West would be on a case by case basis.

"If you want [the Kremlin] to cooperate, you should think about something, about carrots and sticks, you know, some system of encouragement, which so far we didn't see at all," he says, explaining that some Russian have lingering doubts about dealing with the West.

"Russians still are very suspicious," he says. "They don't believe that the West is really taking Russia seriously and is ready to cooperate with Russia on an equal basis."

On Washington and the Middle East

Talking tough to Washington in his essay, Putin complains of "regular U.S. attempts to engage in ‘political engineering,’ including in regions that are traditionally important to us and during Russian elections."

As a young KGB agent in the early 1980s, Putin’s job was to monitor foreigners and dissidents in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). Thirty years later, he is attacking foreign funded non-governmental groups, writing that "pseudo-NGOs and other agencies that try to destabilize other countries with outside support are unacceptable."

He is also promising to fight Washington’s anti-Iranian missile defense plan, saying it would destabilize the nuclear-missile balance between Russia and the United States. He interprets the Arab Spring as a Western bid for influence and markets, while Libya, he says, is the West’s gain and Russia’s loss.

On Syria, he promises to hold the line.

Arguing against possession of nuclear weapons by two of Russia’s southern neighbors, Iran and North Korea, he simultaneously warns the West against exerting pressure on North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong-un, and says an attack on Iran’s nuclear program would be "truly catastrophic."

Explaining that some foreign leaders seek nuclear weapons to protect themselves from Western intervention, he writes of their reasoning: "If I have an A-bomb in my pocket, nobody will touch me because it’s more trouble than it’s worth."

Strong ties with Beijing

Putin’s only warm words are for China.

Stressing the political and diplomatic cooperation between Moscow and Beijing, he seems to be reassuring voters that the nation’s eastern back is covered. He praises China’s economic expansion, saying it gives Russia "a chance to catch the Chinese wind in the sails of our economy."

According to Alexander Lukin, director of East Asian Studies at Moscow State University, Russia wants to expand trade and investment with China.

"As Mr. Putin said, we need to use Chinese prosperity and growth for our own sake, for our own purposes," he says. "Because ... that China is growing is a fact, [and] one cannot change it. So you have to take it as reality."

But from the United Nations to NATO to the Arab League, it looks as if the world can increasingly expect a Russia that pushes back.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid