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Putin in St. Petersburg

by Stephen Lendman Friday, May. 23, 2014 at 11:57 AM

Putin and Lavrov

Putin in St. Petersburg

by Stephen Lendman

He addressed its 18th Economic Forum. Heads of state attended.

So did other political officials, business leaders, academic and scientific community members, as well as media and numerous others.

Putin was warmly received. He welcomed "traditional old friends and new guests." He welcomed everyone sharing "long-term strategic priorities with Russia."

Who partner for "global development." Who desire "cooperation and dialogue." Who do so independently. "(F)ree from short-term considerations of the moment," he said.

"Consistency and openness are always met with reciprocal steps and mutual trust."

"Trust is above all about finding compromises, mutually acceptable solutions, and working and acting together."

"This idea is the main theme of this year's Forum - Sustaining Confidence in a World Undergoing Transformation."

Things are fast-moving, he said. "We are witnessing colossal geopolitical, technological and structural shifts."

"The unipolar model of a world order failed…(It's) clear to everyone today.

"(E)ven to those who still try to operate within the familiar reference system…(T)ry to maintain their monopoly…"

"(D)ictate their rules in politics, trade, and finance, and impose their cultural and behavioral standards."

Global dominance efforts don't work, said Putin. New millennium failures explain. They're a wakeup call for change.

"(I)nstead…an unwillingness to listen to new global development leaders" persists. Meaningful change so far is fantasy.

Attempts go nowhere. "(T)his is an economic forum," Putin said. At the same time, "there is no avoiding a few words on politics."

It "influences economic processes." Failure to "find compromises, unwillingness to" respect others' interests, and "blunt…pressure…add to chaos and instability…"

It "creates new risks for the international community's continued development."

"Does anyone gain from disruption to regular cooperation between Russia and the European Union?"

"Does anyone gain from the seeing our joint work on important issues for everyone such as nuclear safety, fighting terrorism, trans-border crime and drug trafficking, and other priority issues come to a standstill?"

"Will this make the world any more stable and predictable? Probably not," Putin said.

Today's world is "interdependent." Nations increasingly rely on each other. Cooperation benefits all sides. Disunity harms them.

Economic sanctions don't work. They have a boomerang effect. They're lose-lose.

They have negative economic, financial, and business "consequences."

"I understand very well the concerns of foreign businesspeople who have invested billions of dollars in Russia, earned an excellent reputation here and are doing successful business in our country."

"I understand the representatives of engineering and machine-building companies for which Russian contracts have become a big growth source, or the European tourism industry, which to a large extent has been focusing on Russian consumers."

"And now, for the sake of a failing political course, successful businesses have to suffer losses and relinquish to competitors this huge market and the positions they had built up?"

"We cannot change the logic of global political and economic development."

Today's world is multipolar. There's no going back. There's no in between. Trying assures failure. It ensures trouble.

Today's "geo-economic map of the world is changing," said Putin. It includes new "economic growth centres."

"(N)ew trade and investment routes are forming." Stronger "new integration organizations."

Greater demand for "collective leadership." Each side respecting all others.

"(D)ecisions reached through consensus and agreement." Making societies more fit to live in.

Making them safer. Creating better environments for business. Addressing popular needs.

Supporting peace. Preventing war. Doing so by not participating when asked.

Putin is a model geopolitical leader. He's polar opposite Obama. He's a master chess player. He's besting his US counterpart at his own dirty game.

Sergey Lavrov is world-class diplomat. He stands tall. He shames his US and EU counterparts. He makes them look amateurish by comparison.

He deplores war. He champions peace. He tirelessly pursues it. He's done it despite ongoing US-led Western imperial adventurism.

He commented on geopolitical issues. He addressed Ukrainian crisis conditions.

"We are very concerned" about what's ongoing, he said. Russian journalists "are suffering during the military actions with the participation of Ukrainian armed forces."

National guard troops are involved. They "consist of radicals and extremists, militants of the Right Sector and other groups."

Russian and other journalists "are being detained despite the fact that they have an accreditation and artificial requirements are imposed on them, which do not fit any generally recognised norms."

"Even those, who have the money required according to the rules introduced are not let in, and so on."

One "case…relate(s) to the two journalists from LifeNews TV channel, Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saychenko."

"We immediately used our channels, when we received information about their detention and transfer to a territory controlled by some military unit, and accused of terrorism or preparation of a terrorist attack."

"Yesterday, late in the evening, I contacted the Current OSCE President, Swiss President, Didier Burkhalter, and appealed to him to use his authority and authorisations to achieve an immediate release of our journalists."

"The same appeal was made by our Permanent Representative to the OSCE, Andrey Kelin, to the Secretariat of this Organisation and the office of its Representative on Freedom of the Media."

"The same appeal was made by the Russian Embassy in Kiev to the leaders of the OSCE's special monitoring mission in Ukraine, the mandate of which includes issues of ensuring norms and principles of the Organisation in this country."

"(T)he legal basis of OSCE mission's activities in Ukraine has not been resolved yet, because the Verkhovna Rada has not ratified the memorandum between Ukraine and the Organisation in over two months of its stay there, which must lay the legal foundations of its activities and ensure privileges and immunity of employees of this mission in the country."

"We are concerned about such a state of affairs, because this mission also includes Russian nationals."

"We do not want them to be unprotected in conditions, where the Ukrainian authorities regularly use provocations…"

"The OSCE Secretariat answered our question stating they were also concerned about this."

"They contacted the Kiev authorities regarding the acceleration of ratification of this memorandum and received an answer that they 'didn’t get round; to this yet, but the Verkhovna Rada is dealing with a range of other urgent matters."

"We believe that this is a delaying tactic and suspect more and more that the wish to 'leave their hands free' for potential provocations is behind this."

"We appeal to the OSCE leaders to immediately get a decision from the Verkhovna Rada about ratification of the respective memorandum."

Lavrov expressed outrage about Right Sector thugs massacring Odessan civilians. He wants what happened independently investigated.

"Nobody can evade answers to…questions" begging for resolution, he said. Covering up mass murder won't be tolerated.

Nor lawless aggression against Eastern Ukrainians. Waging war on freedom prevents resolving crisis conditions responsibly.

Calling it counterterrorism doesn't wash. So does avoiding real constitutional reform.

Ukrainians are being terrorized for their political convictions, said Lavrov. Kiev putschists violated Geneva four-party agreement terms straightaway.

They prioritize war. They deplore peaceful conflict resolution. War without mercy persists. Civilians are being murdered in cold blood.

Excluding Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters from national unity talks mocks them. It delegitimizes them. They represent one side only.

A bad peace is better than conflict. Lavrov said US-led Western "megalomania" triggered Ukrainian crisis conditions. He wants them resolved diplomatically. So does Putin.

They want military action ended post-election. Wage peace, not war, they urged. No end in sight looms.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
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