Russian commentators and lawmakers commented on Russian President Vladimir Putin's State of the Union address. Pro-Kremlin commentators pushed the argument that Russia's development of the hypersonic Sarmat ICBM, should not be considered as a preparatory measure presaging aggression against the West. To the contrary, explained the commentators, Moscow is merely preparing to defend itself, in the event of a Western attack upon Russia.
Russian intellectual Fyodor Lukyanov attached the term "proactive deterrence" to Putin's policy. According to Lukyanov, the U.S. has been playing at reviving the Cold War, and now Putin is pushing back. "Ok, if you say it's the Cold War, let it be the Cold War, and that's what we have for that purpose," said Lukyanov.
The Russian intellectual also stressed that this new Cold War is governed by a new axiom: Russia is stronger than the West. Lukyanov elaborated further that in the new arms race that Putin inaugurated, it is not Russia that must catch up militarily with the U.S., but it is the U.S. that must catch up with Russia.
Seconding Lukyanov's analysis, Russian Senator Alexey Pushkov stressed that the U.S. will eventually conclude that the negotiating table provides the only way to exit the current political impasse between the two countries.
The following are some reactions to Putin's State of the Union address, delivered on March 1, 2018:
Sarmat ICBM (Source: YouTube.com)
RT posts a selection of frightened headlines in the West (Rt.com)
Senator Kosachev: Russia's Growing Military Power Is A Source Of International Stability
Senator Konstantin Kosachev, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council's International Affairs Committee complimented Putin for avoiding the USSR's mistakes where cutting edge military technology coexisted with lines for toilet paper, but this balance should not be confused with neglect of Russia's strategic posture.
"It would be the height of naiveté to bet on a favorable international environment in economics, politics or security. That's why priority [must be extended to] strengthening the defense capability, defending it and if possible preserving it via basic international agreements in the field of arms control. That's why the world's stability is more important than a "breakthrough", in contrast to the internal situation. In the current [international] situation a "breakthrough" could favor war...
"The impressive video presentation of the new weapons systems should, I presume, cool the minds of those who seriously contemplate the possibility of waging an unpunished strike against Russia: the response will be crushing and thus even the greatest powers should delete this idea from their calculations...
"Containing Russia was unsuccessful, so they will have to listen to her. This is the key factor. Russia does not try to intimidate; it presents arguments in order to be heard. [Russia] does not try to provoke, but [seeks] to sober up a potential aggressor. Russia's growing military power is a source of international stability."
(Rg.ru, March 1, 2018)
Senator Pushkov: It Was Not Russia To Start The New Arms Race, But The U.S.
Senator Alexey Pushkov commented in his Twitter account:
"There are the predictable hysteric outbursts in the U.S. However, it was not Russia that started 'the new arms race'. The U.S. started it when they decided to establish missile defense bases at the Russian borders, and then announced the production of new types of nuclear weapons. Now they don't like our response. But the blame is directed to the wrong address."
(Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, March 1, 2018)
In another post, Pushkov added: "In 2007 in Munich our President has warned our western 'partners', where their policy was leading to. They did not listen. Today, we have shown how we can respond."
(Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, March 1, 2018)
Senator Pushkov: The Stagnating Russian Economy Does Not Hamper Us From Developing A Missile Shield
Senator Alexey Pushkov further stated to RIA news:
"Yes, we do have specific problems in the economy, but this does not hamper us from creating - as was convincingly proven today – a missile shield which will protect us from any threat. The U.S. should understand that Russia in whose regard the [U.S.] entertained illusions that it was weak and unable to compete with the U.S. in the technical-military sphere– the U.S. should give up such illusions. When they give up such illusions they'll reach the conclusion about the necessity for negotiations with Russia".
(Ria.ru, March 1, 2018)
Senator Pushkov: Russia Is Just Preparing For A Response, The U.S. Is The Aggressor
Pushkov also asserted: "What is meant [by the U.S. accusing Russia of] preparation for war? When the U.S. leader say that Russia is an adversary and an opponent of the U.S, masking this with the term 'revisionist power', which should be stopped –is this not preparation for war? When they publish a new military doctrine expanding the nuclear weapons – isn't it a preparation for war? When they deploy missile defense systems in Poland and Romania and on sea born launchers in order to neutralize Russian nuclear potential – isn't this preparation for war? All that is preparation for war. What was demonstrated today was merely our possible response, and this response is intended only to prevent a war, not to prepare for it".
(Ria.ru, March 1, 2018)
Russian Policy Intellectual Lukyanov: Putin's Address Is A Delayed Response To The U.S.
Russian intellectual Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of Russia in Global Affairs, stated:
"A new reality has ensued. But it did not ensue with Putin's statement. It ensued quite some time ago – after Donald Trump became president of the U.S. He along with his team has changed the entire American policy narrative– it's purely power politics at the service of U.S. interests: an economic restructuring of the world which is supposed to be more advantageous for the U.S. and the American ability to achieve whatever they need, including by the use of force.
"The [strategic] doctrinal documents, adopted in U.S. in recent months, observe that the main content of international politics is a rivalry between the big countries. Russia was termed a rival, competitor – whatever. Thus, I think, Putin's address is a sort of delayed response. We waited, tolerated it, and now we've decided: ok, if you say it's the Cold War, let it be the Cold War, and that's what we have for that Cold War.
"I think the [U.S.] reaction will be deafening, since, naturally, this address will be perceived as very threatening. Naturally, they will say that Russia dropped the masks and now openly takes a militaristic course. I think Europe will be the most hysterical, since Europe can't play a role in this 'power' game, because it lacks any force... Naturally, they are deadly scared that the transition of world politics to purely the realm of military force will bear very negative results for them, since they will again become a sort of battlefield as occurred during the Cold War. Yet, during the previous Cold War there were clear rules, currently there are no such rules."
(Kommersant.ru, March 1, 2018)
Lukyanov: Putin's Policy Is "Proactive Deterrence'
Lukyanov also commented on the issue to the Russian media outlet Bfm.ru:
"I think, that the accent quite consciously stressed the international dimension. Its intended effect was to have everybody fall into a state of stupor or hysterics. It's a proactive deterrence, so to speak. [Putin] was talking exactly about that – if someone thinks Russia can be pressured, then get this.
"The reactions will vary, because the main addressee, the U.S. is in fact invited to start an arms race, while the very message is not that we [Russia] will catch up with you, but rather you [the U.S.] should catch up with us, if you want to. It's interesting; Russia has not done so for a long time. I think the Europeans will fall into a state of complete consternation, because in fact it's about a full-scale, real, classic Cold War. Europe is unable to act in such a setting; it simply doesn't know what to do. There is a risk that they will find themselves in a worse situation than during that [previous] Cold War."
(Bfm.ru, March 1, 2018)
Russia's Former FM Ivanov: In Putin's Speech There Is No Hint Of Possible Russian Aggressive Actions
Igor Ivanov, Russia's former Foreign Minister and President of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), stated: "An unbiased listener won't find in the President's address even a hint at the possibility of aggressive actions by Russia or haughty saber rattling with new Russian weapons systems. Assured of guaranteeing its own security, as the President observed, Russia does not intend to threaten anyone. Moreover, Russia is open for negotiations on all the issues regarding international security, including obviously the problems of arms control...
"It's crucial that the world should hear the signal enunciated in Moscow clearly and accurately. Currently, the world is undergoing a deep crisis of the entire [international] security system. If anyone counts on exploiting the instability and unpredictability of world politics for the sake of his unilateral interests , this will only deepen the crisis, with all its ensuing consequences. This includes those ready to 'feed' this instability and unpredictability.
"The international community has in any case lost lots of time after the Cold War's conclusion. Moscow proposes another path: to start negotiating a new security system that meets modern realities without further delay. We count on our partners' proper embrace of that signal."
(Rg.ru, March 1, 2018)
Russian Analyst Timofeyev: Western Commentators May Misinterpret This Address As An Attempt At Muscle-Flexing
Russian analyst and program director of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) Ivan Timofeyev stated: "Western commentators may distort this address and misinterpret it as a challenge and an attempt at muscle-flexing. The emphasis will be placed on torpedoes, missiles and submarines, but nothing will be said about our tasks and achievements in development, although a large part of the message addressed precisely these issues… Also, the address contains several hints the Western partners could use for stepping up cooperation, provided they have the wish to make use of these hints."
Timofeyev then added: "In the U.S. nuclear doctrine the buildup and upgrade of nuclear forces is explained by a Russian threat, so the hawks will be using for arguments Russia’s real potential that was described in Thursday’s address [March 1, 20018]."
(Tass.com, March 1, 2018)