RT, December 4, 2014
Watch full speech here.
In his yearly address to parliamentarians and dignitaries, Vladimir Putin gave a reminder of Russia’s strength as the country that Hitler failed to defeat, while also comparing Crimea’s significance to that of the Temple Mount to Jews.
In a warning to the West about further encroachment towards Russia’s borders, President Putin reminded how many previous military powers have tried, but ultimately failed, to corner Russia and then invade the largest country on Earth.
In the 1990s a weak Russia under Boris Yeltsin looked helplessly on as the US and the EU carved up Yugoslavia for their own personal gains. Almost two decades on, Putin says a repeat on Russian soil, despite the West’s desires, is unthinkable.
“They would have gladly applied the Yugoslav scenario of dismemberment and disintegration for Russia. They failed. We did not allow them to do that.”
Russia has one of the largest armies in the world; however, Putin is adamant he does not want the country to be drawn into a wider conflict. The president did admit that if forced, the Russian bear is prepared to bare its claws with devastating consequences for those opposing it.
For centuries Crimea was part of Russia. The peninsula is ethnically Russian, not just Russian-speaking. However, in 1954 it was ‘transferred’ to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev, who believed national boundaries were irrelevant given that they all came under the banner of the Soviet Union. However, following the collapse of the USSR, the Crimean question surfaced once again.
The US and the EU have tried to play-up the effect sanctions imposed on Russia are having a detrimental effect on the country’s economy, when in fact the low price of oil is the real reason for the ruble’s slide. Putin says Russia is looking for new partners in the east for trade and believes the West’s aim to hurt Russia’s economy will be detrimental in the long run.
A resurgent Russia is a threat to the US, with Washington unwilling to let any nation challenge it as the world’s only super power. For almost a decade, the US has been looking at ways to diminish Russia’s role in world affairs both globally and politically. Putin was adamant that Crimea was just the excuse Obama was looking for to slap Moscow on the wrist.
The Russian Finance Ministry estimates that $130 billion will leave Russia by the end of 2014 due to heightened geopolitical tensions and the mass sell-off the ruble throughout the year. However, now Putin’s going to try and keep Russian money in Russia.
Vladimir Putin is adamant Russia will not be backed into a corner following the economic sanctions introduced by the US and the EU. On many occasions the Russian president has said that Moscow wants good relations with all countries, including the ones that are set on hindering its economic growth.
Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the US’s tentacles, often under the pretext of NATO haveencroached closer and closer to Russia’s borders and meddling in the affairs of foreign countries.
“Our US friends, whether directly or from behind the scenes always affect our relations with our neighbors. Sometimes it’s unclear whether to talk to the authorities of the country, or to their US patrons.”
Vladimir Putin said that countries are losing sight of their own national interests to suit the foreign policy of other countries. However, he said such a thing would not be happening in Russia.