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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube 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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid