Russian foreign policy

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By CAIO BUGIATO*

Putin's Five Points of Speech on Ukraine's War and Foreign Affairs

On February 21, 2023 Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech to the Russian Federal Assembly. As mandated by the Constitution, the president speaks annually to Parliament on the situation and the internal and external perspectives of the national State. We highlight five points of the speech, from which we extract excerpts that support the statements listed below about the war in Ukraine and foreign relations in general.

We don't know if words will turn into concrete measures. But we consider them an important indication of what will be the foreign policy of the Russian State. Hence the relevance of the work in extracting some points that we understand as fundamental in the discourse. This is available in Portuguese on the website Sputnik News Brazil.

1.

The West led by the USA is the aggressor, from which it is necessary to defend.

We were open and sincerely ready for a constructive dialogue with the West (…). But in response we get an indistinct or hypocritical reaction, as far as words go. But there were also actions: the expansion of NATO to our borders, the creation of new areas of deployment of missile defense in Europe and Asia – they decided to protect us under an “umbrella” – deployment of military contingents, and not just close the borders of Russia.

I would like to emphasize – by the way, this is notorious – that no other country has as many military bases abroad as the United States. There are hundreds of them – I want to emphasize this – hundreds of bases all over the world; the planet is covered in them, and one look at the map is enough to see that. (...)

Let me reiterate that they started this war, while we have used force and are using it to stop the war. (...)

The Western elite does not hide its objective, which is, I quote, “the strategic defeat of Russia”. What does this mean for us? That means they plan to finish us off once and for all. In other words, they plan to turn a local conflict into a global one. This is how we understand it and we will respond accordingly, because this poses an existential threat to our country.

2.

Ukraine went through a process of nazification and assumes the position of puppet of the West.

We are defending human lives and our common home as the West seeks unlimited power. It has already spent more than $150 billion to aid and arm the Kiev regime. To give you an idea, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the G7 countries have earmarked around US$60 billion in 2020-2021 to help the world's poorest countries. (...)

I would remind you that in the 1930s the West practically gave way to Nazi power in Germany. In our time, they began to turn Ukraine into an “anti-Russia”.(…)

The West accelerated the implementation of this project today by supporting the 2014 coup. It was a bloody, anti-state and unconstitutional coup. They pretended that nothing happened and that this is how things are supposed to be. They even said how much money they spent on it. Russophobia and extremely aggressive nationalism formed its ideological basis. Very recently, a brigade in the Armed Forces of Ukraine was named Edelweiss after a Nazi division whose personnel were involved in deporting Jews, executing prisoners of war, and conducting punitive operations against partisans in Yugoslavia, Italy, Czechoslovakia, and Greece. .

We are ashamed to talk about it, but they are not. Personnel serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Ukrainian National Guard are particularly fond of chevrons formerly worn by soldiers from Das Reich, Totenkopf, Galizien, and other SS units. His hands are also stained with blood. Ukrainian armored vehicles feature insignia of the Nazi German Wehrmacht. Neo-Nazis are open about who they consider themselves to be his heirs. (...)

The West is using Ukraine as a battering ram against Russia and as a testing ground.

3.

In response to all NATO aid to Ukraine, the government announces the modernization of the armed forces and the suspension of the Novo Start agreement (on nuclear weapons).

Colleagues, as you know, a 2021-2025 plan to build and develop the Armed Forces has been approved by a Presidential Executive Order and is being implemented and adjusted as needed. It is important to emphasize that our next steps to strengthen the Army and Navy and guarantee the current and future development of the Armed Forces must be based on the real combat experience acquired during the special military operation, which is extremely important, I would even say absolutely invaluable for us. For example, the latest systems account for more than 91%, 91,3% of Russia's nuclear deterrent forces. We reiterate, based on our newly acquired experience, that we must access an equally high level of quality for all other components of the Armed Forces. (...)

We will extensively showcase the latest technology to ensure high quality standards in the Army and Navy. We have corresponding pilot projects and samples of weapons and equipment in each area. Many of them are significantly superior to their foreign counterparts. Our goal is to start mass production. This work is ongoing and gaining pace. Importantly, this depends on the national research and industrial base, and involves small and medium-sized high-tech companies in the implementation of the state defense order. (...)

Now they are using NATO to give us signals, which is really an ultimatum that Russia must, without question, implement everything it has agreed to, including the New START Treaty, while they will do whatever they want. As if there is no connection between strategic offensive weapons and, say, the conflict in Ukraine or other hostile Western actions against our country. As if there were no vociferous claims about them trying to inflict strategic defeat on us. This is the height of hypocrisy and cynicism, or the height of stupidity, but they are not idiots. After all, they are not stupid. They want to inflict a strategic defeat on us and also get at our nuclear facilities. In this regard, I am obliged to announce today that Russia is suspending its participation in the New START Treaty.

4.

There is a tendency to build a non-Western coalition with infrastructure projects targeting allies in the East.

In what areas should we focus the partnership of the state, regions and national companies? First, let's expand promising foreign economic ties and build new logistics corridors. A decision has already been taken to extend the Moscow-Kazan Expressway to Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk and Tyumen, and eventually to Irkutsk and Vladivostok, with branches to Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. This will allow us, in part, to considerably expand our ties with Southeast Asian markets. We will develop the Black Sea and Sea of ​​Azov ports.

We will pay special attention to the North-South international corridor, as those who work there every day are well aware. Vessels with a draft of up to 4,5 meters will be able to pass through the Caspian-Volga Canal this year. This will open up new routes for trade cooperation with India, Iran, Pakistan and Middle East countries. We will continue to develop this corridor.

Our plans include the accelerated modernization of the eastern railways – the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Baikal-Amur Railway (BAM) – and building the potential of the Northern Sea Route. This will create not only additional cargo traffic, but also a foundation for achieving our national development goals for Siberia, the Arctic and the Far East. The regions' infrastructure and infrastructure development, including communications, telecommunications and railways, will receive a strong boost. Next year, 2024, we will put in good condition at least 85% of all roads in the largest metropolises in the country, as well as more than half of all regional and municipal roads. I'm sure we're going to get this.

5.

The Putin government's project is the development of an autonomous national capitalism and the Russian national bourgeoisie is the main beneficiary of the State's internal and external policies.

Second, we will need to significantly expand our economy's productive capacities and increase domestic industrial capacity. New terms for industrial clusters came into effect this year, including a lower tax and administrative burden for resident companies and long-term state orders and subsidies to support demand for their innovative products entering the market. (...)

We remember what problems and what imbalances the Soviet economy faced in its later stages. That is why, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and its planned system, in the chaos of the 1990s, the country began to build its economy along the lines of market relations and private property. Overall, this was the right thing to do. Western countries have largely been an example to follow in this regard. As you know, their advisers were a dime a dozen and it seemed enough to simply copy their models. True, I remember that they were still arguing among themselves – the Europeans were arguing with the Americans about how the Russian economy should develop. And what happened as a result? Our national economy was largely oriented to the West and, for the most part, as a source of raw materials. (...)

There is another option [compared to the West]: stay in the Motherland, work for your compatriots, not only open new businesses, but also change life around you in cities, towns and across the country. We have many entrepreneurs like this, true fighters in our business community, and we associate the future of our business with them. Everyone must know that the sources of their prosperity and future can only be here, in

his home country of Russia. If they do, we will create a very strong and self-sufficient economy that will not be alienated from the world, but will take advantage of all its competitive advantages. Russian capital, the money earned here, must be put at the service of the country, of our national development. Today, we see huge potential in infrastructure development, the manufacturing sector, domestic tourism and many other industries.

* Caio Bugiato Professor of Political Science and International Relations at UFRRJ and at the Graduate Program in International Relations at UFABC.

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