The day before the Russia-USA summit in Bratislava scheduled for February 24th, president of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has been interviewed by Slovak radio “Radio Slovensko” and Slovak television “STV”.
While rebutting criticism concerning supposedly antidemocratic actions of Russian authorities, Vladimir Putin stated that Russia needs to adapt democracy to its special conditions. According to the president, Russia will not allow other states to use the issue for their own political purposes.
“14 years ago Russia has made a decision in favor of democracy not to satisfy someone else’s interests, but the country’s own good, for the good of its citizens,” said Putin. “Basic principles of democracy, institutes of democracy have to be adapted to the realities of modern-day Russia, to our traditions and history. And this we will do ourselves.”
“As far as fundamental relationships between Russian and the United States are concerned, I agree with the opinion of my American colleagues: they have never, perhaps, been at such high level as today,” stated Vladimir Putin. He also mentioned that “the level of trust is very high between the two countries” and that mutual cooperation in regards to key problems was growing teadily.
On the matters of personal relationships with President Bush, Vladimir Putin commented that they are good. He also added: “First of all, let me say that we will be going to the theater and not to the restaurant and that the purpose of our meeting is not simply to enjoy ourselves.”
“True, the President of the United States of America has several times referred to me as a friend and I too consider him a friend; however, we are meeting to conduct business, to draw a line of our joint efforts for the past time and to discuss future plans,” noted Putin.
Regarding the situation in the CIS countries, Russian president stated that Russia was still interested in an entire array of post-Soviet states.
At the same time, the head of the state said the following, “what worries me the most nowadays isn’t the fact that some boisterous events take place these days but the fact that they exceed the limits of our Constitution.”
“All of us have to understand what democracy really means including just and good legislature as well as the skill to abide by such laws,” said Putin.
The President also informed that Russia treats former USSR Republics as equal partners.
On the matters of relations with NATO, Vladimir Putin emphasized Russia’s readiness to develop its cooperation with the organizations while at the same time not being too enthusiastic about joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
“We are ready to develop our relations with our partners, including NATO. And I am certain that should we continue working like this, it will result in ensuring International stability and security,” stated the Russian president.
At the same time, the head of the stat noted that “as far as deeper integration is concerned, we are not yet considering Russia’s joining NATO.”
According to the president, this would mean partially loosing our sovereignty and obviously, this would mean limited freedom in making certain political decisions. In the meantime, according to him, “today, the country’s economic and defense potentials are such that they guarantee our security. That is why Russia doesn’t need it.”
In the meantime, NATO’s expansion eastward still remains a peculiar subject for Russia, noted the president.
According to Putin, one of the most important aspects Russia’s cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is joint effort to fight terrorism.
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