President Vladimir Putin’s Valdai speech, recently published by the Italian newspaper La Stampa, resonated with Europeans concerned about tensions simmering between Russia and the EU, Italian journalist Marcello Foa noted, adding that Trump’s win may potentially change the situation.
On Monday, La Stampa, one of the oldest Italian newspapers, published excerpts from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech delivered at the 13th annual meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club held in Sochi this October. “Putin: It’s time to trust Russia, a common front against terror” the newspaper’s headline says. Addressing the Valdai conference Putin highlighted the importance of concentrating on the real problems facing humanity today, and making the system of international relations fairer and more equal. However, instead of dealing with real world problems, some powers “continue to churn out… imaginary and mythical threats such as the ‘Russian military threat,'” the Russian President pointed out. The Moscow Kremlin © Sputnik/ Natalia Seliverstova Russia Unveils New Foreign Policy Concept, Calls for Creation of Broad Anti-Terror Coalition “The only thing is that Russia has no intention of attacking anyone. This is all quite absurd,” he stressed. “In our mind, real leadership lies in seeing real problems rather than attempting to invent mythical threats and use them to steamroll others. This is exactly how Russia understands its role in global affairs today,” Putin emphasized. Commenting on La Stampa’s publication, prominent Italian journalist Marcello Foa, head of a media group which includes Corriere del Ticino and Corriere del Popolo newspapers, said that Vladimir Putin’s arguments resonated with many in Europe. “Putin elaborated very clearly what some Italian analysts have always known, but what was unclear to their audience. By the way, it has also been unclear to the La Stampa newspaper, which used to maintain a very critical attitude toward Vladimir Putin,” Foa told Sputnik, adding that Putin’s Valdai address was very efficient. Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly of both houses of parliament at the Kremlin in Moscow on December 1, 2016. © AFP 2016/ Natalia KOLESNIKOVA Russian President Putin’s Best Quotes on Foreign Policy From State of the Nation Address The Italian journalist emphasized that looking at Putin’s foreign policy course adopted by the Russian leader since the early 2000s, there are no traces of what can be called “imperialism” or “expansionism.” Under Putin Russia has never sought to expand its sphere of influence, the journalist noted. Foa called attention to the fact that the crises which erupted during this period of time, including the Georgian-Ossetian conflict in 2008, the Ukrainian turmoil in 2014, the Crimean issue and the situation in Syria, were not caused by the actions of Russia. They were prompted by either third countries or more complex combinations, the journalist noted. “Russia just reacted to these actions. This is an important point, in my opinion,” Foa said. U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, offering cookies and (behind the scenes) political advice to Ukraine’s Maidan activists and their leaders. © AP Photo/ Andrew Kravchenko, Pool U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, offering cookies and (behind the scenes) political advice to Ukraine’s Maidan activists and their leaders. Citing Putin, the Italian journalist noted that the idea of the looming “Russian threat” is groundless. “It is unthinkable, foolish and completely unrealistic,” Putin told the Valdai meeting, “Europe alone has 300 million people. All of the NATO members together with the USA have a total population of 600 million, probably. But Russia has only 146 million. It is simply absurd to even conceive such thoughts.” “The West and NATO accuse Putin of harboring plans to occupy Eastern Europe,” Foa continued, “I find these accusations ridiculous and devoid of any foundation.” In this Dec. 15, 2015 file photo, Donald Trump makes a point during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas © AP Photo/ John Locher, File Putin, Trump Share Main Foreign Policy Approaches Despite Differences on Details “Why does the West continue to make an enemy out of Russia?” the journalist asks. “The answer is simple. Today Europe is playing a passive role. It is Washington who defines the policy toward Russia,” the Italian journalist underscored, referring to US Vice President Biden’s remark made back in October 2014 at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. “It was America’s leadership and the president of the United States insisting, oft times almost having to embarrass Europe to stand up and take economic hits to impose costs,” Biden claimed. According to Foa, Biden’s “slip of the tongue” says a lot about the US-EU relationship. “I believe that America has long been trying to implement the strategic concept of [Zbigniew] Brzezinski, which says that the one who controls Eurasia controls the world. It is obvious that the US does not need an independent Russia… Putin has demonstrated independence of mind and the desire to protect Russia’s national interests, and that caused tensions [in the West] which we are now observing,” the Italian journalist told Sputnik, suggesting that Trump’s win will change the situation. Protest against censorship © AFP 2016/ DANI POZO ‘1984’: EU Resolution on Russian Media First Step Toward ‘Total Censorship’ Foa also shared his views on the highly controversial resolution adopted recently by the European Parliament against Russia’s media outlets. “While providing information [to their readers] Sputnik and RT adhere to the position that is different from that of the majority of the Western media. Therefore I believe that they [Sputnik and RT] are absolutely legitimate and very interesting sources of information. If we take a closer look at cooperation between the US largest media outlets and Hillary Clinton, during her term as US Secretary of state, very unpleasant thoughts about the Western media will come to mind,” Foa noted, adding that what is branded as “Russian propaganda” in the West is in fact a look from a different angle.
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