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Monday, November 24, 2014

PUTIN: We're Stronger Than Everybody - Foreign sanctions only unite Russian society


Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his belief that Russia is the strongest nation, which will lead to — in his eyes — a positive end in Crimea, according to an interview with a Russian news agency.

During the interview, Putin stated that everything will "end well" in Crimea because "it's just that we're stronger [than] everybody."

"We're stronger," he said, "because we're right. When the Russian feels that he's right, he's unstoppable. I'm saying this sincerely, not just to pontificate," he added.

Right now, there is an ongoing conflict in the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine — areas that have had predominantly ethnic Russian populations since the days of the Soviet Union.

Back in March 2014, Russia   annexed Crimea , which was previously a part of Ukraine. Since then, there has been conflict between the pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government — most notably in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Certain inhabitants of the region want to join Russia, while others want to remain in Ukraine.
But the Russian government has its own plan for Ukraine: "federalization."

"Each region [in Ukraine] would have control of its economy, taxes, culture, language, education, and 'external economic and cultural connections with neighboring countries or regions,'" Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has previously stated about the "federalization" plan, according  to  The Guardian .

This would give greater autonomy to the southern and eastern parts of Ukraine — where the conflict is currently going on. In simple terms, these regions would be directly associated with Russia, rather than with Ukraine.

Noted American political scientist Ian Bremmer  recently stated  that "the Kremlin is moving towards making Crimea and the Southeast Ukraine a single place" and "there's very little the Ukrainians can do" because their "military will remain badly outgunned, and the local populations in the region remain fairly anti-Kiev."

Although some people have expressed their beliefs that Putin is just winging it right now in Ukraine, Putin stated in the interview that the current situation — including the actions in Crimea and afterwards — "is a strategic decision."

"I have developed a certain style over the years. I never make arbitrary decisions — the ones whose outcomes I cannot see," Putin said. "It's like when you're [driving] on the road: if you're not sure, don't pass [the car next to you]... You have to be absolutely clear that there's no upcoming traffic — that you're truly in control of the situation."

"Those who are trying to compete with us, are on the wrong side of the road. We're on the right side of the road, and we're on cruise control," Putin stated about the current situation.

Russian President Valdimir Putin strongly criticized the international sanctions against his government, saying they only serve to unite Russian society against the West.

"The Americans made a systemic mistake by believing that I have personal business interests because of ties to people they put on their sanctions list," he said.

The Russian President insisted that his leadership is not influenced by any businesses interests.

"We have to a significant extent put an end to the so-called Oligarchy," he said.

The US and the European Union have blacklisted dozens of Russian businessmen and officials, because of the crisis in Ukraine.

Some of them, like banker Yuri Kovalchuk and businessman Arkady Rotenberg, were accused of having close business ties to Putin.

Putin said that these sanctions were based on wrong information and that he won‘t renounce his friends.

"Look, they are friends of Putin, they need to be punished and then they will revolt and there will be mutiny. But nothing of the sort is happening," he said.

Putin also criticized western governments, accusing them of seeing Russia only as a partner when it suited them.

"As soon as Russia rises and declares it has the right to defend its foreign interests, relations with it and its leaders immediately change," he said.

As an example he pointed to Boris Yeltsin, whom he succeeded as president in 2000.

"First the West praised whatever Yeltsin did. As soon as he spoke up in defence of Yugoslavia, he suddenly turned into an alcoholic in western eyes."

Putin also rejected any notion that Russia should return to being a monarchy. "For good or bad, this period is over," he said.

The interview was held on November 14, but only published in full on Sunday.

On Saturday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed that the sanctions were aimed at ousting the current government in Russia.



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