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    Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy held at the Bayerischer Hof Hotel. File photo

    Solid & Active: How Russian Policy Has Changed Since Putin’s Munich Speech

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    Since President Putin’s famous speech at the Munich Security Conference in 2007, Russia has become far more assertive with regards to its foreign policy, forcing Washington to take heed of Russia’s opinion much more often, several political analysts told RIA Novosti.

    The 52d Munich Security Conference is currently underway in the capital of the German state of Bavaria. Let’s have a look at the major developments that have been made in Russian foreign policy since President Putin's famous speech nine years ago.

    Putin’s 2007 address not only outlined the basic concepts that underpin Russia’s foreign policy, but its security policy as well, Russian political analysts told RIA Novosti.

    The major difference between its current policy and its previous course of action is that it has become a lot more assertive in the international arena, according to Dr. Dmitri Trenin, Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center.

    “For seven years, let’s say, from 2007 to 2014, Russia clearly moved from words to deeds,” he told RIA Novost,

    “We are currently at an absolutely new stage, which is a very interesting but at same time a very dangerous phase,” he added.

    Away From Unipolar World

    Back in 2007, the Russian President stated that the United States sought to construct a unipolar world, in which the US intended to become a superpower standing above everyone else, i.e. to become a single center of authority and power.

    “The unipolar world that had been proposed after the Cold War did not take place,” the Russian leader said in 2007. “However, one might embellish this term, in the end it refers to one type of situation, namely one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making. It is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And in the end this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within. Moreover, this certainly has nothing in common with democracy. Because, as you know, democracy is the power of the majority in light of the interests and opinions of the minority.”

    For the past years, the analysts say, it has become only too clear that the unipolar world, if it ever existed, has ceased to exist.

    “It is a problem of the past. I think that the unipolar world did exist but it became obsolete due to some objective reasons,” says another expert, Sergei Oznobishchev, Director of the Institute for Strategic Assessments.

    The expert added that the first evidence of the above emerged far before Putin’s Munich speech, in 2003, when the US operation in Iraq demonstrated the country's inability to solve global problems on its own.

    “The phenomenon of a unipolar world had surely existed but it has vanished due to certain existing restrictions. These restrictions are forcing Washington into cooperation with Moscow, as well as Moscow – into cooperation with Washington.  No matter how hard we try, we are unable to deal with the global challenges and existing threats on our own,” he added.

    Taking Heed of Russia’s Opinion

    Regardless of his criticism of the US back in 2007, President Putin had no intention of breaking up with Washington.

    “In fact, he opened a serious conversation with the US back then, and suggested a serious reconstruction of the relations between Russia and the West,” noted Dr. Trenin.

    “However, no reconstruction followed, even though there was a well-known attempt to “reset” Russia-US relations and there was a partnership in the sphere of modernization. However, each of the two failed to achieve any serious strategic purposes,” he added.

    As a result, the expert added, Russia has recently moved from criticizing the unipolar world to acting in the context of a multi-polar one.

    “It's a fight, in a full sense, against the global dominance of the US. It will go on for a while. We have entered an epoch of confrontation between Moscow and Washington, an epoch of estrangement.”

    However, Russia is not confronting Washington for ideological reasons, thinks Vladimir Batyuk, the head of the Military-Political Research Center at the Institute of USA and Canada Studies.

    “The world where the US unilaterally dominate does not comply with Russia’s national interests, that is why Russia is confronting such a mode. Apparently, it is serious and longstanding,” he said.

    The expert is convinced that such a stance has already produced certain results: Washington has been forced to take heed of Russia’s opinion much more often.


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