Speech by Dmitry Medvedev at MSC 2016
by Dmitry Medvedev
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished colleague Mr Valls, distinguished Mr Ischinger, my speech will be of a more general nature, but I hope it will be useful.
The first cold war ended 25 years ago. This is not long in terms of history, but it is a considerable period for individual people and even for generations. And it is certainly sufficient for assessing our common victories and losses, setting new goals and, of course, avoiding a repetition of past mistakes.
The Munich Security Conference has been known as a venue for heated and frank discussion. This is my first time here. Today I’d like to tell you about Russia’s assessment of the current European security situation and possible solutions to our common problems, which have been aggravated by the deterioration of relations between Russia and the West.
Before coming to this conference, I met with President Putin. We talked about his speech at the Munich conference in 2007. He said then that ideological stereotypes, double standards and unilateral actions do not ease but only fan tensions in international relations, reducing the international community’s opportunities for adopting meaningful political decisions.
Did we overstate this? Were our assessments of the situation too pessimistic? Unfortunately, I have to say that the situation is now even worse than we feared. Developments have taken a much more dramatic turn since 2007. The concept of Greater Europe has not materialised. Economic growth has been very weak. Conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa have increased in scale. The migration crisis is pushing Europe towards collapse. Relations between Europe and Russia have soured. A civil war is raging in Ukraine.
In this context, we need to launch an intensive dialogue on the future architecture of Euro-Atlantic security, global stability and regional threats more than ever before. I consider it unacceptable that this dialogue has almost ceased in many spheres. The problem of miscommunication has been widely recognised both in Western Europe and in Russia. The mechanisms that allowed us to promptly settle mutual concerns have been cut off. Moreover, we’ve lost our grasp of the culture of mutual arms control, which we used for a long time as the basis for strengthening mutual trust. Partnership initiatives, which took much time and effort to launch, are expiring one by one. The proposed European security treaty has been put on hold. The idea of a Russia-EU Committee on Foreign Policy and Security, which I discussed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Meseberg, has not materialised. We believe that NATO’s policy towards Russia remains unfriendly and generally obdurate.
Speaking bluntly, we are rapidly rolling into a period of a new cold war. Russia has been presented as well-nigh the biggest threat to NATO, or to Europe, America and other countries (and Mr Stoltenberg has just demonstrated that). They show frightening films about Russians starting a nuclear war. I am sometimes confused: is this 2016 or 1962?
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