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    ‘The First Stage is Always Anger’ – Expert Details Reaction to Putin’s Speech

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    Gevorg Mirzayan, a foreign policy and politics expert, detailed why many in the United States will have difficulty understanding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s true message.

    The world's media keeps discussing Vladimir Putin's recent address to the Federal Assembly, in which the head of the state presented a number of new Russian weapons. Overall impression: the media are agitated. In particular, the tone is one of agitation over claims that Moscow has an "invincible weapon," which some media pundits interpret as no less than a direct threat toward western countries and the declaration of a new "cold war."

    Norway's Aftenposten newspaper published an article entitled "Putin presented a new Doomsday weapon." The UK's The Sun attracted attention with the headline "Finger on the button." Even the redoubtable French paper Paris Match headlined an editorial: "Putin boasts new weapons." The Washington Post called Putin's speech a "message for Washington," due primarily to US President Donald Trump's recently-presented plans for the development of a new American arsenal of nuclear weapons. It's no coincidence some media talking heads point to new US nuclear program as a primary trigger of hardening Russian rhetoric.

    This opinion is shared by Gevorg Mirzayan from the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, and he expressed it in his conversation with Sputnik.

    "New American doctrines on nuclear and national safety have been adopted during last couple of months. In these doctrines, the US does not even attempt to hide its intention to make their geopolitical partners do what [the US] needs by use of hard force," Mirzayan observed. "Putin, on the other hand, demonstrated clearly that any power pressure of the kind on our country is unacceptable. And he did that not by words, but by displaying new Russian weapons."

    Washington rolled out a new and expensive nuclear strategy in early February, sparking a strong reaction in Russia and, because of this very reason, the Financial Times wrote that Putin's threats are no surprise on Capitol Hill.

    In the meantime, no foreign journalist has pointed out the most important message of Putin's speech: while presenting the new weapons, the Russian president specifically underscored: "Our policy will never be based on pretension and exceptionality; not only will we protect our interests, but also respect the interests of other countries."

    How global diplomacy evolves from here depends on the US, Mirzayan notes.

    "Option one: the US will keep spending huge money developing countering measures for Russian weapons. Or, those in Washington will understand that it is more viable to come to what the world had in the 1970s and 1980s. I am talking about a system of strategic stability — something that Putin offers to repeat again," Mirzayan said.

    "With the existing nuclear parity between Russia and the US, the world will never be able to sleep quiet, because each side can destroy its adversary equally effectively. Therefore, [this parity] does not guarantee peace. In the meantime, concrete agreements on the creation of a system of collective security in Europe, something that Putin has offered for a long time (from Lisbon to Vladivostok, preferably) — this would really ensure the easing of tensions," he detailed.

    But the reality is that the US does not recognize the need to do this, Mirzayan speculates.

    "Putin has outlined a new reality. Psychologists recognize several phases of reaction to a new reality. The first is always anger, repulsion and denial to accept a new given reality. This is the phase we see right now in western media," Mirzayan said.

    "But Russia has to deal with this calmly, without hysteria, just let the analysts calm down. Later we will most certainly see a coherent analysis of how we must live in this new world. But, of course, the US won't come to this quickly enough, because American politics is knee-deep in myths of Russian menace and a new Cold War with Russia," he concluded.

    As Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov suggested, Russia's new weapons are not a threat to those who do not plan to attack the country.

    According to the Kübler-Ross model, otherwise known as the "five stages of grief," a person faced with a diagnosis of terminal illness, death of a loved one, or other traumatic event, undergoes five phases of emotional and intellectual reaction. Those are, in chronological order, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance.

    Russia stands ready to move patiently in the direction of acceptance by the US and will not fail to do so.

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    peace, speech, weapons, Gevorg Mirzayan, Vladimir Putin, Moscow, United States, Russia, Washington
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