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Dmitry Medvedevs Article, Go Russia! (September 10, 2009)

 
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Cooperating with the West

The modernisation of Russian democracy and establishment of a new economy will, in my opinion, only be possible if we use the intellectual resources of post-industrial societies. And we should do so without any complexes, openly and pragmatically. The issue of harmonising our relations with western democracies is not a question of taste, personal preferences or the prerogatives of given political groups. Our current domestic financial and technological capabilities are not sufficient for a qualitative improvement in the quality of life. We need money and technology from Europe, America and Asia. In turn, these countries need the opportunities Russia offers. We are very interested in the rapprochement and interpenetration of our cultures and economies.

Of course no relationship is free from contradictions. There will always be controversial topics, reasons for disagreement. But resentment, arrogance, various complexes, mistrust and especially hostility should be excluded from the relations between Russia and the leading democratic countries.

We have many common goals, including absolute priorities which affect every inhabitant on Earth such as the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and reducing the risk of adverse effects from man-made climate change.

We must have interested partners and involve them in joint activities. And if we need to change something ourselves in order to do so, abandon previous prejudices and illusions, then we should do so. I am of course not referring to a policy of unilateral concessions. Lack of will and incompetence will not gain us any respect, gratitude, or gains. This has already happened in our recent history. Naive notions of the infallible and happy West and the eternally underdeveloped Russia are unacceptable, offensive and dangerous. But no less dangerous is the path of confrontation, self-isolation, mutual insults and recrimination.

Nostalgia should not guide our foreign policy and our strategic long-term goal is Russias modernisation. Along with this Russia is one of the world's leading economies, a nuclear power and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. It should openly and explicitly explain its position and defend it in all venues, without weaselling or giving in to pressure to conform. And in the case of a threat to our own interests we must strongly defend them. I talked about these principles of our foreign policy in August last year.

In addition to this active work on the western front, we must increase our cooperation with the countries of the EurAsEC [Eurasian Economic Community], CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organisation] and CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States]. These are our closest, strategic partners. We share the common goal of modernising our economies, regional security, and a more equitable world order. We must also develop worldwide cooperation with our partners in the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organisation] and BRIC [Brazil-Russia-India-China].

Like every great people, the Russian people are brilliant and heroic, they command the world's respect and admiration, and at the same time our history has been a controversial, complex, ambiguous one. It means different things to different people in different countries. And much remains to be done to protect our historical heritage from distortion and political speculations. We must look clearly at our past and see our great victories, our tragic mistakes, our role models, and the manifestations of the best features of our national character.

In any case, we will be attentive to our history and we will respect it. First and foremost we must respect our country's role in maintaining a balanced world order for centuries. Russia has always, at all stages of its development, sought to achieve a more equitable world order.

Russia has often sought to protect small nations, those confronted with the threat of enslavement or even destruction. This was the case only recently, when Saakashvili's regime launched its criminal attack on South Ossetia. Russia has often put an end to the plans of those bent on world domination. Russia has twice appeared in the vanguard of the great coalitions: in the 19th century to stop Napoleon and in the 20th by defeating the Nazis. In war and peace, when a just cause has demanded decisive action, our people have been there to help. Russia has always been a staunch ally in war and an honest partner in economic and diplomatic affairs.

In the future, Russia will be an active and respected member of the international community of free nations. It will be strong enough to exert a significant influence on the formulation of decisions that have global implications. It will be able to prevent anyone's unilateral actions from harming our national interests or adversely affecting our internal affairs, from reducing Russians' level of income or damaging their security.

For these reasons, along with other countries we are trying to reform the world's supranational political and economic institutions. The aim of this modernisation is the development of international relations in the interests of as many peoples and countries as possible. We want to establish rules of cooperation and dispute settlement, in which priority is given to modern ideas of equality and fairness.

These are my views on the historical role of our country and its future. These are my answers to some of the questions that affect us all.

I would invite all those who share my convictions to get involved. I would also invite those who do not agree with my ideas but sincerely desire change for the better to be involved as well. People will attempt to interfere with our work. Influential groups of corrupt officials and do-nothing entrepreneurs are well ensconced. They have everything and are satisfied. They're going to squeeze the profits from the remnants of Soviet industry and squander the natural resources that belong to all of us until the end. They are not creating anything new, do not want development, and fear it. But the future does not belong to them it belongs to us. And we are an absolute majority. We will act patiently, pragmatically, consistently and in a balanced manner. And act now: act today and tomorrow. We will overcome the crisis, backwardness and corruption. We will create a new Russia. Go Russia!

 
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