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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More