Valday and the world: how Putin tried to convince Western politicians

Valday and the world: how Putin tried to convince Western politicians

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The President of Russia Vladimir Putin at the Valdai club

Photo: Dmitry Azarov/Kommersant

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Speaking at the Valdai club Vladimir Putin called for a return to the UN Charter as the cornerstone of international relations and condemned the West for “flirting with terrorists”

Expert Quartet

October 27 in Sochi ended with the 13th annual meeting of the International discussion club “Valdai”. The theme of the conference was announced as “the Future starts today: outlines of tomorrow”, and her final event traditionally was the plenary meeting with participation of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Participants of the panel discussion in addition to Putin were made by the former President of Finland Tarja Halonen, former President of Austria Heinz Fischer and the former head of South Africa Thabo Mbeki. The moderator of the discussion was Professor of Harvard University Timothy Colton.

On the eve of the scientific Director of the club “Valdai” Fyodor Lukyanov published an article which said: forum 2016 thematically completes the trilogy “past — present — future”. If in 2014 the meeting of the “Valdai” speech was an attempt to build a new world order at the end of the cold war, in 2015 the subject of ongoing war and increasing instability, and this time the debate came on the prospects and ways out of the international situation, which does not suit anyone.

An ode to peace

His speech (which lasted less than half an hour) Putin began to answer the comment post Colton about the time when the Russian leader to sit for a memoir: “Dear moderator [session] wished me to safely retire, I wish. When the time comes, it [is] very right, you need to do,” — said Putin. The head of state noted that he has not yet retired, and is “current leader of the big powers,” he must be “restrained, not show in their expressions too aggressive”. “I actually don’t think it’s my style,” — said Putin.
All subsequent President’s speech was couched in equally emphasized peaceful style.

On the eve of the final day of the forum, the Agency Bloomberg published an article about the possible beginning of the cold war between Russia and the West. Respondents Agency Russian and Western experts drew attention to the harsh rhetoric, Moscow and Washington, and on the need for new “rules of conduct” for Russia and the West in the military sphere. Debating in absentia with these experts, Vladimir Putin said: “Always stamped the threat of fictional, mythical, such as the notorious Russian military threat. <…> Of course, very nice, and sometimes profitable to pretend to be defenders of civilization from some new barbarians. However, the fact that Russia is to attack anyone not going. And it’s funny. Unthinkable just silly and unrealistic. In Europe alone, 300 million — and all NATO members. The total population of NATO countries — 600 million people, in Russia — 146 million is Just ridiculous to even talk about it, but it’s still used to achieve their political goals.”

Key statements of Vladimir Putin made at the recent meetings of the “Valdai” — a review of RBC.

Rejected Vladimir Putin and the accusations that Russia is interfering in the US presidential election: “I now want to ask you to ask this question: does anyone seriously think that Russia can somehow influence the choice of the American people? America, which is a banana country? America is a great power. If I’m wrong — correct me, please.”

In parallel, Putin traditionally criticized the actions of Western countries, without naming any of them by name. It is the West, feel the winner in the cold war, began to “facelift world order for themselves.” In the process, according to Putin, he is caught in their own double standards, and Western elites finally lost touch with its citizens that resulted in a series of victories of populists in elections and referendums. As in last year, Putin condemned the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in 2002.

In the end the West in the eyes of the Russian President now looks disorganized and unstable — precisely at the moment when the unity of the world is necessary to solve social and political problems. “People are scared that terrorism has become commonplace. The weapon can be any improvised means”, — said Putin. At the same time, some countries, he said, continue to supply terrorists to his own detriment: “the Terrorists are smarter, stronger and smarter than us. Flirting with them, you will always lose.”

When we are United

The equality of States in all spheres is a key element of an ideal future world order, Putin said. Having criticized the “selective globalization” where some countries are “always win and others always lose,” Putin urged to “pull the lagging regions that the benefits of economic progress available to all”. “We see sacrifice freedom of trade and use so-called sanctions for political pressure. To bypass the world trade organization are trying to foster closed economic alliances with strict rules and barriers, where the main beneficiaries of their transnational corporations”.

Turning to the topic of discussion — the future of world order — Putin said that the priority is not the creation of any new international organizations, and the successful use of existing ones. First of all we are talking about restoring the unquestionable authority of the UN, which, according to the President, is “a unique platform for concerted action of all countries while preserving their sovereignty.”

A striking example of such cooperation Nations, in Putin’s opinion, may become a collective action to rebuild the economy in the middle East — a kind of “Marshall plan” for the Arab countries.

The formulation of clear “rules of the game” in intergovernmental relations, Putin mentioned in a plenary discussion after his speech. That is, in his opinion, it is possible to avoid interference in the internal Affairs of States (for example, he called the July coup in Turkey). The statement of the President occurred during a session of questions and answers, which lasted more than two hours.

Without exception, all questions from the audience were asked Russian President. The scientists were mainly interested in topics outside the agenda of the discussion: relations with Ukraine, the military campaign in Syria, the socio-economic situation in Russia. “To rattle nuclear weapons — the last thing. I do not welcome it”, — said Putin to the last question on the phrase of the Russian TV host Dmitry Kiselyov on Russia’s ability “to turn the United States into radioactive ash”.

At the end was a question: why Putin meets every year with the “Valdai”. He explained why it is necessary: “listen to experts and to convey their point of view.”

With the participation of Alexander Ratnikova