01 Dec 2016

Address of Putin to the Federal Assembly of Russia, December 1st, 2016 (International Affairs)

The part of the address that concerns international affairs of Russia and relations with certain countries and regions.

Full speech available at http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53379

You all know that we have encountered attempts to pressure us from abroad over these last years. I mentioned this twice. They have used every means: from spreading myths about Russian aggression, propaganda and meddling in others' elections to persecuting our athletes, including our Paralympic athletes.

But, as I said, every cloud has a silver lining, and the doping scandal, I am sure, will help us to put in place the most advanced system here in Russia for fighting this scourge. I say this based on the fact that our national doping prevention programme will be ready at the start of next year.

What I want to say is that everyone has more than had their fill now of media campaigns carried out to order, the fabrication and publication of compromising material, and moralising lectures. If need be, we can lecture whoever, but we understand our responsibility and we have a sincere desire to take part in resolving global and regional problems, in situations, of course, where our involvement is fitting, wanted and needed.

We do not want confrontation with anyone. We have no need for it and neither do our partners or the global community. Unlike some of our colleagues abroad, who consider Russia an adversary, we do not seek and never have sought enemies. We need friends. But we will not allow our interests to be infringed upon or ignored. We want to and will decide our destiny ourselves and build our present and future without others' unasked for advice and prompting.

At the same time, we desire well-intentioned and equal dialogue and we affirm the principles of justice and mutual respect in international affairs. We are ready for a serious discussion on building a stable system of international relations for the 21st century. Sadly, the decades that have passed since the end of the Cold War have been wasted.

We support security and development opportunities not just for the select few, but for all countries and peoples, and we support respect for international law and global diversity. We oppose any monopoly, whether it be a claim to exceptionality or attempts to bend the international trade rules to suit one's own needs, limit freedom of speech and, in fact, introduce censorship to the global information space. We were always reproached for supposedly imposing censorship here in Russia, but now we see that others are taking this road themselves.

Russia is proactive in promoting a positive agenda in international organisations and informal associations, including the UN, the Group of Twenty and APEC. Together with our partners we also promote our own frameworks, such as the CSTO, BRICS and the SCO. Further strengthening cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Union and with other CIS countries has always been a foreign policy priority for Russia.

Russia attaches great importance to the idea of building a multi-level integration model for Eurasia in the form of a Greater Eurasian Partnership. We are already discussing this idea on various international and regional levels. I am confident that we can have conversation with the European Union countries, where the demand for political and economic independence is currently on the rise. This is what we see judging by election results.

There is great potential for Russia in terms of cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region, as we saw at this year's Eastern Economic Forum. I ask the Government to make sure that all decisions regarding the development of the Russian Far East are implemented without exception. Let me reiterate that Russia is proactive in its Eastern policy not because of any momentary considerations we may have, not because of the cooling in relations with the United States or the European Union, but for the reason that it serves Russia's long-term interests and is consistent with the global development trends.

In today's challenging environment, the comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between Russia and China have become one of the key factors in ensuring global and regional stability. This partnership can be regarded as a model for shaping a world order free from the domination of a single country, no matter how strong it is, and taking into account the interests of all countries in harmony.

Today, China is about to become the world's largest economy, so it is very important that every year adds new large-scale projects in various areas, including trade, investment, energy and high technology, to our mutually beneficial cooperation.

Developing a special privileged strategic partnership with India is another major foreign policy priority for Russia. In October 2016, Goa hosted Russian-Indian top-level talks, confirming that our countries have great potential for strengthening cooperation in a number of areas.

Russia also expects to achieve substantial progress in relations with Japan, our eastern neighbour. We welcome the commitment of the country's leaders to promote economic ties with Russia by launching joint projects and programmes.

Russia is also ready to work with the new US Administration. It is important to put bilateral relations back on track and to develop them on an equal and mutually beneficial basis.

Cooperation between Russia and the United States in addressing global and regional issues will benefit the whole world. We have a shared responsibility to ensure international security and stability, to strengthen non-proliferation regimes.

I would like to emphasise that attempts to break the strategic parity are extremely dangerous and can lead to a global catastrophe. We must not forget about it even for a second.

I certainly count on joining efforts with the United States in the fight against real rather than fictional threats, international terrorism being one of them. That is the task our servicemen are fulfilling in Syria. Terrorists have suffered significant losses. The Russian Army and Navy have shown convincingly that they are capable of operating effectively away from their permanent deployment sites.

By the way, we also appreciate the work that special services and divisions are carrying out inside the country to combat terrorism. We have suffered casualties, too. All of that is certainly in the focus of our attention. We will continue this work. I want to thank all of our military for their professionalism and dignity, their courage and bravery, for the fact that you, Russian soldiers, cherish your own and your country's honour.


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