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#Putin Accuses U.S. of Trying to Build World Order Around Its Interests


Russia's President Vladimir Putin (Vasily Maximov / Pool / Reuters)

Reuters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. on Friday of endangering global security by imposing a “unilateral diktat” on the rest of the world and shifted blame for the Ukraine crisis onto the West.

In a 40-minute diatribe against the West that was reminiscent of the Cold War and underlined the depth of the rift between Moscow and the West, Putin also denied trying to rebuild the Soviet empire at the expense of Russia’s neighbors.

“We did not start this,” Putin told an informal group of experts on Russia that includes many Western specialists critical of him, warning that Washington was trying to “remake the whole world” based on its own interests.

“Statements that Russia is trying to reinstate some sort of empire, that it is encroaching on the sovereignty of its neighbors, are groundless,” the former KGB agent declared in a speech delivered standing at a podium, without a smile, in a ski resort in mountains above the Black Sea city of Sochi.

Listing a series of conflicts in which he faulted U.S. actions, including Libya, Syria and Iraq, Putin asked whether Washington’s policies had strengthened peace and democracy.

“No,” he declared. “The unilateral diktat and the imposing of schemes [on others] have exactly the opposite effect.”

Putin, 62, has stepped up anti-Western rhetoric since returning to the Kremlin as president in 2012, helping push up his popularity ratings since the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March.

Even so, the speech was one of the most hostile Putin has delivered against the West and it appeared partly intended to show Russian voters he will stand up to the rest of the world and defend their interests.

The criticisms of a world order dominated by Washington, more than two decades after the Cold War, recalled a 2007 speech in Munich in which Putin shocked the West by lambasting Washington’s “unipolar” world view. The speech prompted many Western leaders to reassess their view of Putin.

Shifting the Blame

The annual meetings of what is known as the Valdai Club have rarely featured such open, direct and tough language in their debates on Russian policy.

Critics say the meetings have become a showcase for Kremlin policy, with the session attended by Putin shown live on state television and little discussion of Russia’s record on human rights and democracy, which is criticized in the West.

Putin rejected criticism over the Ukraine crisis, in which Moscow has sided with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, and threw the West’s criticisms of Moscow back in its face.

Repeating accusations that Western governments helped pro-Western groups stage a coup d’etat that ousted a pro-Moscow president in Kiev in February, Putin said: “No one wanted to listen to us, and no one wanted to talk to us.”

“Instead of a difficult but, I underline, civilized dialogue they brought about a state coup. They pushed the country into chaos, economic and social collapse, and civil war with huge losses,” he said.

Dismissing U.S. and European Union sanctions imposed on Moscow as a mistake, he said: “Russia will not be posturing, get offended, ask someone for anything. Russia is self-sufficient.”

He made only passing references to the decline of Russia’s $2 trillion economy, which is in danger of sliding into recession as its currency tumbles along with the price of oil, its main export item.

But he said in a question and answer session after his speech that Russia would not burn though its gold and foreign currency reserves thoughtlessly to prop up the economy.

Putin has increasingly sought to shift blame for the economic crisis onto global problems, the sanctions and the oil price. He and other Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, have also used increasingly tough language to blame the West for the Ukraine crisis.

A cease-fire has been in force in Ukraine since Sept. 5, but it has been violated daily and the West says Moscow continues to have troops and weapons in east Ukraine. Russia denies this.


The Moscow Times.

#Putin unleashes fury at #US ‘follies’


Financial Times - logo

Neil Buckley reporting,

Russian president Vladimir Putin on Friday accused the US of undermining the post-Cold War world order, warning that without efforts to establish a new system of global governance the world could collapse into anarchy and chaos.

In one of his most anti-US speeches in 15 years as Russia’s most powerful politician, Mr Putin insisted allegations that its annexation of Crimea showed that it was trying to rebuild the Soviet empire were “groundless”. Russia had no intention of encroaching on the sovereignty of its neighbours, he insisted.

Instead, the Russian leader blamed the US for triggering both Crimea’s breakaway from Ukraine and thousands of deaths in the war in the east of the country, by backing what Mr Putin called an armed coup against former president Viktor Yanukovich in February.

“We didn’t start this,” Mr Putin said. Citing a string of US-led military interventions from Kosovo to Libya, he insisted the US had declared itself victor when the Cold War ended and “decided to … reshape the world to suit their own needs and interests”.

“This is the way the nouveaux riches behave when they suddenly end up with a great fortune – in this case, in the shape of world leadership and domination. Instead of managing their wealth wisely … I think they have committed many follies,” he told a conference of foreign academics and journalists at an Olympic ski venue near Sochi.

The speech was one of Mr Putin’s most important foreign policy statements since he surprised the west in Munich in 2007 by accusing the US of “overstepping its boundaries in every way” and creating new dividing lines in Europe.

Some commentators speculated that it reflected Moscow’s fury after US President Barack Obama recently ranked Russia alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as Isis, and the Ebola virus among the top three global threats. But his tone surprised even supporters.

“Very tough about the US, first time so [tough],” tweeted Margarita Simonyan, editor in chief of the ardently pro-Kremlin RT television channel. “Our answer to B Obama.”

Mr Putin signalled he believed the US and Russia should draw a line under recent events and sit down with other big economies to redesign the system of global governance along “multipolar” lines.

While he conceded this could be a lengthy and gruelling task, Mr Putin warned the alternative could be serious conflicts involving major countries. He also evoked the danger of a new Cold War-type stand-off, saying existing arms control treaties risked being violated.

Any effort to bring the two countries together for talks, however, could be complicated by the west’s insistence that Russia’s annexation of Crimea is an illegal occupation, and by Moscow’s anger over resulting EU and US sanctions.

Mr Putin said the sanctions undermined world trade rules and globalisation, but said Russia was a strong country that could weather the measures, and would not “beg” to get them lifted.

The Russian president suggested the UN could be “adapted to new realities”, while regional “pillars” of a new system, such as Russia’s own planned Eurasian Union of ex-Soviet states, could help enhance security.

But he insisted such moves were only necessary since the US had ridden roughshod over existing rules – for example when it invaded Iraq without UN Security Council backing.

“If the existing system of international relations, international law and the checks and balances … got in the way of [US] aims, this system was declared worthless, outdated and in need of immediate demolition,” he said.

The strength of Mr Putin’s language also took US listeners aback. Addressing a question to the president after his speech, Toby Gati, a former White House official under President Bill Clinton, said she “did not recognise” as her own country the one the Russian president claimed to be describing.


Financial Times.

#Femen protesters target Vladimir #Putin before his meeting with Ukraine leader


Ukrainian-Femen-protestersUkrainian Femen protesters prepare to pour buckets of ‘blood’ on themselves before Vladimir Putin’s arrival in Milan. Photograph: Luca Bruno/AP

Lizzy Davies in Milan,

The Ukrainian feminist protest group Femen has staged a two-woman demonstration against Vladimir Putin in Milan, where he is expected to attend a summit of world leaders on Thursday.

The protesters stood in front of Milan’s cathedral and poured buckets of red wine, which they said represented the blood of Ukrainian people, over their bare chests.

The message “Stop ignoring Ukrainian bloodshed” was written on one woman’s torso, while the other made direct reference to the two-day summit of more than 50 European and Asian leaders: “ASEM allies of Putin,” read the message on Femen leader Inna Shevchenko’s chest.

“We believe that welcoming a killer, a person who is killing a whole nation right now – and this Ukrainian blood is right here, is on us – and shaking his hand, is ignoring the big torture, the big killing and the war in Ukraine that is started and supported by Putin,” she told AFPTV.

Although its main purpose is economic, the ASEM summit looks set to be dominated by the security situation in eastern Ukraine, where a fragile ceasefire struck last month has been repeatedly violated. An ongoing dispute over Russian gas supplies to Ukraine is becoming increasingly urgent as winter approaches.

Putin and the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, are scheduled to meet at a breakfast on Friday morning. The Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, will also host David Cameron, Angela Merkel, François Hollande and the EU’s top officials.

It is possible that Putin and Poroshenko may also meet face-to-face in a separate bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the summit. Poroshenko has been quoted as saying the whole world had “high expectations” of his talks with Putin.


The Guardian.

Vladimir #Putin ‘not welcome’ at #G20 summit in Brisbane, says Bill Shorten


Opposition leader says Russian president is ‘thumbing his nose’ at the rest of the world over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17.

Shorten said Putin knew more about the plane tragedy than he had let on so far.Shorten said Putin knew more about the plane tragedy than he had let on so far. Photograph: Alexey Druginyn / Ria Novosti / EPA

Gay Alcorn and agencies

Australia should not welcome Vladimir Putin to the G20 summit because the Russian leader is “thumbing his nose” at the rest of the world over the shooting down of MH17, the opposition leader Bill Shorten says.

The government has confirmed the Russian president will attend the summit in Brisbane in November.

Shorten said there was plenty of evidence pointing to Russian involvement in the 17 July downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine, in which 38 Australian citizens and residents were among the 298 dead.

Ukraine and western countries have accused Russian-based rebels of shooting down the plane with a Russian-made missile, allegations Putin has denied.

“It was an act of murder,” Shorten told reporters in Melbourne on Monday. “How is it that the president of the Russian Federation, Putin, can thumb his nose at the rest of the world, go wherever he wants, without there being any repercussions or any cooperation with the independent investigation as to how this happened?” He said Putin knew more about the plane tragedy than he had let on so far.

“I happen to think that when you deal with an international bully the way you do it isn’t by laying out the red carpet, so no, I don’t think he’s welcome, I don’t think most Australians want him here.”

The Labor leader said Tony Abbott should not meet Putin.

“I wouldn’t give him the time of day,” Shorten said.

On Sunday Shorten said he thought most Australians would be “extremely uncomfortable” about welcoming Putin.

Paul Guard, whose parents, Roger and Jill Guard, were killed in the MH17 crash, said little would be achieved by Putin staying away from the G20 leaders’ summit next month.

“It wouldn’t achieve much by uninviting him because dialogue is the way forward and I hope the G20 might be a good platform on which to strongly voice our disapproval of his government’s policy and approach to Ukraine,” Guard told Guardian Australia.

“It might be uncomfortable for people to shake hands with him (but) at the end of the day, what do you achieve by not inviting someone like that? It would only play to his domestic politics.”

Guard pointed out that Australia had little say in the matter. Russia is a member of the G20 and the federal government has indicated there was little support from other members to exclude the Russian president.


The Guardian.

Australian Prime Minister plans tough words with #Putin next month


Associated PressCANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott has warned he intends to use tough language with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Australia next month in demanding full Russian cooperation with the Dutch investigation into the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner in July.

Putin has confirmed that he will attend next month’s summit of the world’s 20 biggest economies, being held in Australia’s east coast city of Brisbane.

Abbott told reporters on Monday he will seek a bilateral meeting with Putin about Russian-backed rebels shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine on July 17. The attack killed 298 people, including 38 Australian citizens and residents.

Abbott says he expects his conversation with Putin will be the toughest that the Russian leader has at the summit.


The Associated Press.

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