Both the U.S. and Russian governments are concerned with what is going on in the other country, but there is no need to “demonize” Washington and accuse it of trying to dominate Russia’s political life, outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.
“That they [the U.S. leadership] are trying to influence some political processes [abroad] – this is a fair assumption, just as that we are trying to influence some processes,” Medvedev said during a live interview with Russian TV journalists.
But “it’s pointless to speak about the United States ruling some large-scale political processes in our country,” he said, adding “we are a big sovereign country, and no one can interfere with us.”
Amid recent street protests in support of fair elections in Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused the United States of instigating anti-government sentiments in the country. Medvedev said he did not believe that outside interference could make large popular masses behave in a certain way.
“This is not serious,” he said. “It is possible to instigate two, three, five, 25 or 500 people, but it’s impossible to induce more people, whether we are talking about those protesting against the government, or those going to polls to support the authorities.”
Yet, in order to avoid problems, “we need to act with tact,” he said.
Medvedev also reiterated his belief that the past four years were “the best in the history of Russian-U.S. relations.”
Speaking of forthcoming U.S. presidential elections, Medvedev admitted he had “certain sympathies towards one of the candidates,” in an apparent reference to President Barack Obama.
However, the improvement of Russian-U.S. ties “does not mean that we no longer have problems to discuss,” he said, adding that the NATO’s European missile shield plans were among such problems.
“We still have five or seven years to make final decisions [regarding missile defense],” he said. If there is no agreement with the alliance on the issue, he said, Russia will have no other option but to deploy additional missile defenses to confront the NATO’s shield.
Medvedev will leave the presidential post on May 7, when Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin is sworn in. He is expected to assume the prime ministerial duties after Putin’s inauguration as president.