Russia This Week is a weekly review by the MEMRI Russian Media Studies Project, covering the latest Russia-related news and analysis from media in Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe.
Cartoon Of The Week
In The News:
A New World Order
Strange But True: Russian Orthodox Church Concerned With Decreasing Level Of Masculinity Among Russian Men; Russian Investigative Committee Launched A Probe Targeting Lithuanian Judges Over War Crimes Verdict
News In Brief: Russia-US Relations; Russia-NATO Relations; Black Sea; Eurasia; Russia-North Korea Relations; Russia-China Relations; Russia In The Arctic; Russia-Venezuela Relations; Russia-Serbia Relations; Space Race; Inside The Kremlin; Notre Dame Fire
A New World Order
Russian FM Lavrov: The U.S.'s Total Influence In The World Is Waning; A Polycentric World Is More Stable
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the 27th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy (SVOP) that took place in Moscow:
"The theme of today's debate is sensitive to the extreme: what should we expect – a world war or a revolution? Some ten years ago, this question would probably have seemed unthinkable, but today it is accepted as almost normal...
"In the final analysis, maintaining international peace and security is one of Russian foreign policy priorities. Our stance today is based – and we have repeatedly emphasized as much – on the recognition of Russia's special responsibility for universal security and global stability, this along with promoting national...
"It is important to prevent the implementation of a scenario summarized by a well-known formula: "no one wanted war, but war was inevitable." We are trying to work with all our partners in a maximally active and detailed manner; we introduce proposals on how to enhance predictability and trust in the field of international security...
"As far as the U.S. administration is concerned, it seems to be increasingly warming to its role as a wrecker of international legal order. It is obvious that the U.S. is unwilling to reconcile itself to the 21st century realities and this unwillingness is highly destructive. There is no question that America remains a mighty power. But its total influence in the world is waning. So, to preserve what they call their 'sublime exceptionality,' the Americans intend to press or drown other countries.
Washington has set a course for dismantling arms control agreements. They have engineered the collapse of the ABM Treaty and next in line is the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). That done, it cannot be ruled out that problems will crop up with the extension of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1). All of this will have pernicious consequences not only for those spheres of international life that were regulated by these treaties, but also for the remaining nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation mechanisms. I am referring to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). If we assess Washington's moves in this field, we are able to come to the conclusion that the supporters of a new arms race have prevailed.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin has repeatedly responded to these processes. I would like to emphasize once again that they will not succeed in involving Russia in these costly exercises.
The Americans are openly meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. Venezuela is on everyone's lips. Their regime-change blitz has failed. But the Americans are not giving up their aim to topple the legitimate president. Mike Pompeo's interview yesterday, where he stated in no uncertain terms that an armed intervention was not ruled out, is direct evidence of this. The Americans have even dug out of mothballs the notorious Monroe doctrine. They are threatening that Cuba and Nicaragua are next, as if they don't understand that thereby they are setting themselves against the entire Latin American (and not only Latin American) world. I think this behavior is just unacceptable.
"The same can be said about Washington's policy to dismantle the entire framework of the Middle East settlement that has been approved in the UN Security Council resolutions and has thereby become part of international law.
"It is quite clear that the U.S. and its close allies intend to create a parallel international reality, where they would set the rules and hold court all on their own. I am referring to their persistent attempts to force upon everyone a 'rules-based order.' These rules are being invented in order to circumvent norms of international law that are 'inconvenient' for the West. And they accuse us of breaching the 'rules,' on which they are out to build their order...
"Quite recently, they have invented a new thing, the "true sovereignty" concept. It is used as a cover to put pressure on most developing countries in various regions of the world. Simultaneously, they are working to restrict these countries' cooperation with Russia, China and other independent power centers...
"On the whole, I think, we are trying to be objective in assessing the international situation and the difficulties of the current historical stage which is about forming a polycentric world order that might be more chaotic than the bipolar world, but it is these risks – ones related to the emergence of numerous influential actors – that require us to be more careful with what we call diplomacy. We should work to ease contradictions and develop a model that would suit everyone and be stable. In any case, several power centers, perhaps even from the point of view of physics, is something more stable and reliable for the surrounding world than two, let alone one center.
"We see in a situation, where turbulent processes are unfolding and major powers are out to determine their place in the world's future configuration, not only challenges but also opportunities for positive development..."
(Mid.ru, April 13, 2019)
Russian FM Lavrov: The Western Liberal Model Has Lost Its Appeal
During a meeting with students, auditors, professors and instructors at the Foreign Ministry's Diplomatic Academy, which was held Moscow, Lavrov said:
"... It is clear that the Western liberal development model that, among other things, implied ceding part of national sovereignty (it is in this vein that our Western colleagues planned what they called 'globalization') is losing its appeal and has long ceased to be a model to follow. Moreover, even many people in the West are skeptical about it – you can see many examples of this.
"Clearly, multipolarity and the emergence of new centers of power call for a search for a balance of interests and compromises to maintain stability in the world. Here, of course, diplomacy should play a leading role, especially since we have a backlog of problems which require generally acceptable solutions, including regional conflicts, international terrorism, food security, and the environment. So, we operate on the premise that we can reach agreements only through diplomatic efforts. Only solutions that enjoy the support of everyone can be sustainable.
"Unfortunately, our Western partners led by the United States are not willing to agree on common approaches to resolving problems. Washington and its allies are trying to impose their own approaches. Their behavior is clearly based on a desire to preserve their centuries-old domination in international affairs despite the objective trends toward a polycentric international order. This runs contrary to the fact that purely economically and financially, the United States and its closest allies can no longer single-handedly resolve all issues in the global economy and world affairs. Moreover, various methods of blackmail, coercive, economic, and informational pressure are used in order to artificially retain their dominance and to regain their undisputed positions. They are not above overt, blatant interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states, such as Venezuela. Without hesitating, they publicly threaten Cuba and Nicaragua with the same scenarios. These are the most recent and odious examples."
(Mid.ru, April 12, 2019)
New Planet by Konstantin Yuon, 1921.
Russian Security Council Secretary Patrushev: The Creation Of A Polycentric World Order Is Being Hindered By Those Who Try To Retain World Domination
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said:
"Currently, the world is in transition from the US-centric monopolarity of the recent past to international relations of a new type, based on the principles of equality and mutual benefit."
"However, the creation of a fairer, polycentric world order is proceeding in a no easy way amid active resistance by those who try to retain world domination," Patrushev added. "Various means of pressure are employed - economic, informational, psychological, military and political."
(Tass.com, April 16, 2019)
Blogger Sarukhanyan: A New World Order Is Needed
Blogger Hrachik Sarukhanyan wrote in Nezavisimaya Gazeta about the need for a new world order:
"The world must be reconfigured, reformatted.
"The old order has become dangerous.
"For the past 200 years, liberalism has dominated - free market, capitalism, freedom of action, including amorality.
"As a result, it turns out that, in order to get rich, it is possible to step over century-old tenets like the respect for the country, for the people, for values and even for the working person.
"An honest working person is a sucker who will never achieve even a minimum of well-being for his family.
"In the meantime, some are competing for the length of their ships.
"The police "accidentally" found hundreds of billions of rubles in the possession of an unknown colonel.
"Arab sheikhs, European Soroses and American Rockefellers possess amounts of money which are the equivalent of the national budgets of hundreds of countries.
"A tireless thirst for accumulating money, likewise the most dangerous virus, is infecting people more and more every day.
"A dangerous and wild manifestation of this phenomenon can be observed in post-Soviet countries, including Russia.
"All this is threatening mankind.
"This is a dead-end and savage development of mankind.
"This will lead us to a world of chaos.
"We must stop THIS.
"But this does not mean that it is necessary to return to the previous stage of development made of feudalism and paternalism.
"But, who will say what to do?
"Who will show us the way?"
(Ng.ru, April 10, 2019)
Putin: The Final Tests Involving The Sarmat Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Have Been A Success
During the ceremony for presenting officers appointed to senior command positions at the Kremlin, Putin announced: "You know how large-scale and consistent the work has been in recent years to develop the army and the navy in a comprehensive manner and to saturate line units with advanced military equipment. For example, the Avangard missile system with a boost glide vehicle – our hypersonic intercontinental system – will considerably enhance the power of the Strategic Missile Forces.
"The final tests involving the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile have been a success. As you may know, the Kinzhal hypersonic system and the Peresvet laser system have been put on alert duty.
"The Navy's new surface ships and nuclear submarines will be armed with advanced types of weapons, including the Tsyrkon hypersonic missile, which has no parallels in the world in terms of range and speed.
"It is these modern powerful precision weapons that are determining and will determine in the future the image of Russia's Armed Forces. For this reason, the requirements to personnel training and the quality and intensity of combat drills are becoming even stricter. What we need is a real fusion of Russian martial traditions and the most up-to-date, advanced knowledge, technology and skills in using these to a good effect."
(Kremlin.ru, April 11, 2019)
Lukashenko attacks Russia for ban on the import of apples and pears from Belarus:
"Our main trade partner (they like to call themselves partners) are increasingly imposing sanctions against Belarus. They are themselves under sanctions and condemn this, and I absolutely support them on this. But simultaneously they are using the same weapon to fight their closest allies...
"They are closing one enterprise after the other. Then it is carrots, salad and now even pears that they do not like. They suspect that we are supplying them from somewhere else [under a Russian retaliatory boycott. And every day a closing of one of our enterprises occurs. They are closing the market to us."
(Finance.rambler.ru April 12, 2019)
Lukashenko threatened retaliatory measures against the Russian oil pipelines transiting to Europe, saying that the pipelines passing through Belarus are "in need of repairs." Lukashenko said: "It seems that the good things we are doing for Russia turn into evil for us. They have become brazen to the degree that now they have started twisting our hands."
(Vedomosti.ru April 12, 2019)
- Culture Minister Medinsky asks to protect Russian language in Belarus. (Belsat.eu, April 12, 2019; read the full article)
Strange But True
Russian Orthodox Church Concerned With Russian Men's Decreasing Masculinity
Russian news agency Interfax reported:
"The Russian Orthodox Church is concerned with the decreasing level of masculinity among Russian men.
'If we compare a man of the 1930s to a contemporary men, we'll see that real men remain only in the Special Forces,' head of the Patriarchal Commission on Family, Maternity and Childhood Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov told the Ministry of Emergency Situations officials.
"He also pointed out to his 10-year experience of being a rector in the Rocket Strategic Academy. 'I saw that our recruits on the parade were small, puny like chickens. Thanks to the Lord then they began recruiting girls and guys started looking more like soldiers,' the priest said..."
(Interfax-religion.com, April 15, 2019)
Dmitry Smirnov (Source: Orthochristian.com)
Russian Investigative Committee Launched A Probe Targeting Lithuanian Judges Over War Crimes Verdict
A Russian investigative committee filed criminal charges for knowingly delivering an unjust verdict against the Lithuanian judges who had in March sentenced the nonagenarian former Soviet Defense Minister Dmitry Yazov for crimes against humanity for the crackdown against the Lithuanian independence movement in 1991 prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Russian jurists accused the committee of formalism and Russian political scientists are convinced that Russia has to deliver a tougher response to the actions of the Lithuanian courts.
(Riafan.ru, April 10, 2019)
News In Brief
The U.S. economy is no longer able to compete honestly, so Washington has to resort to unfair rivalry methods, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at an annual meeting with students and academic staff of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Diplomatic Academy. (Tass.com, April 12, 2019; read the full article)
Moscow closely follows the situation with U.S. plans to deploy temporarily its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system to Romania, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told reporters on the sidelines of the 27th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy. "We are closely following this. There is a Russian saying 'Nothing is more permanent than a temporary fix'," he said. "There are questions: what reasons are for THAAD deployment as it is and what modernization of facilities in Romania involves." (Tass.com, April 13, 2019; read the full article)
Russia has stopped all cooperation with NATO, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said in an interview with the state-run RIA Novosti news agency. "NATO has itself abandoned a positive agenda in its relations with Russia. It doesn't exist," Grushko said. The diplomat warned NATO against military conflict with Russia, saying "all sensible people hope it doesn't happen." "It would be a humanitarian catastrophe. I'm sure they understand that in Washington and Brussels." (Themoscowtimes.com, April 15, 2019; read the full article)
Russia closely follows NATO's military planning in the Black Sea region and is set to respond in kind to the Alliance's actions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told reporters on the sidelines of the 27th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy. (Tass.com, April 13, 2019; read the full article)
Vladimir Putin sent his greetings to participants in the From Idea to Reality: 25th Anniversary of Nursultan Nazarbayev's Eurasian Initiative international conference that is taking place in Nur-Sultan. In his speech, Putin said: "The project of Eurasian integration has fully proved its effectiveness." (Kremlin.ru, April 11, 2019; read the full speech)
Russia-North Korea Relations
South Korea's Yonhap news agency said earlier, citing sources in Moscow, that Kim Jong-un might visit Russia next week. According to the agency, the Russia-North Korea summit is likely to be held in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok. Yonhap pointed out that on April 26-27, Putin is expected to attend the One Belt One Road forum in China. However, no final decision has been made on the date and place of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. (Tass.com, April 15, 2019; read the full article)
A Russian delegation went to Pyongyang at an official invitation to mark 70th anniversary of economic and cultural cooperation agreement signed by the Soviet Union and North Korea. Russian lawmakers, who visited Pyongyang, said that it possible to raise the issue of easing the sanctions against North Korea at the United Nations Security Council. (Tass.com, April 14, 2019; read the full article)
North Korea is interested in buying new Russian civil aircraft to boost flight safety, Sergei Neverov, a deputy speaker of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house, who lead the Russian parliamentary delegation visiting Pyongyang. (Tass.com, April 14, 2019; read the full article)
Moscow and Beijing have joined efforts at the United Nations Security Council counteracting attempts to break international law, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in his address to the 27th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy. (Tass.com, April 13, 2019; read the full article)
Washington is doing its utmost to restrict cooperation of developing countries with Russia and China, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in his address to the 27th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy. (Tass.com, April 13, 2019; read the full article)
Chinese ambassador to Russia: Beijing wants to sign an agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) to create a free-trade area (FTA) as soon as possible. (Tass.ru, April 15, 2019; read the full article in Russian)
Russia In The Arctic
The Yamal Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project is Russia's Arctic outpost and the example of its implementation confirms that Russia will never leave the Arctic region, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko announced. (Tass.com, April 15, 2019; read the full article)
Creation of facilities for the strategic nuclear force, as well as troops stationed in Crimea and the Arctic are priorities in the development military infrastructures, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. (Tass.com, April 12, 2019; read the full article)
The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recent allegations related to Moscow's 'intervention in Venezuela' as unacceptable. China, in turn, berated Pompeo for his claims that Beijing's friendship with Latin American countries is "pretended". (Sputniknews.com, April 16, 2019; read the full article)
Venezuela has not yet made another payment on its $3 bln debt to Russia that was due to be made in March, Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak said. (Tass.com, April 15, 2019; read the full article)
Russia provides Venezuela with the necessary assistance to investigate attacks against its energy sector, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Siromolotov said. (Eluniversal.com, April 16, 2019; read the full article in Spanish)
European refiners are switching to Russian sour grades as U.S. sanctions have shrunk Venezuela's similar-grade exports. (Rt.com, April 15, 2019; read the full article)
The permit for the implementation Serbian section of the TurkStream gas pipeline project will be issued before the end of April, the construction will officially begin soon, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said at a joint press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the Serbian town of Subotica. (Tass.com, April 15, 2019; read the full article)
The agreement of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) on a free trade zone with Serbia is due to be signed in October 2019, member of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission Veronika Nikishina said at the international conference "From Idea to Reality: 25th Anniversary of Nursultan Nazarbayev's Eurasian Initiative," held in the city of Nur-Sultan. (Tass.com, April 11, 2019; read the full article)
In a Cosmonautics Day meeting with the staff of Russia's major rocket engine manufacture, Energomash, Russian President Vladimir Putin once again called for taking new steps in the development of the space industry. However, objective data indicate that, in terms of their functions, the orbital grouping of the Russian Armed Forces is in many respects inferior to similar structures not only in the United States and NATO countries, but also in the developing countries of Southeast Asia. (Tass.com, April 15, 2019; read the full article)
Inside The Kremlin
Russia's President Vladimir Putin earned 8.7 million rubles ($135,300) in 2018, down 10 mln rubles ($155,600) compared with 2017, according to the tax return posted on the Kremlin's official website. The President's average monthly income was about 720,000 rubles ($11,200) last year. (Tass.com, April 12, 2019; read the full article)
Russian users would survive a global internet shutdown as the Duma passed a bill set to guarantee the sustainable operation of the Runet – the Russian segment of the internet. The new legislation (which could cost up to US$466mn) envisions a full range of measures to ensure the operation of the Russian internet and to counter cyber-threats. They include the creation of a national DNS system that stores all domain names and corresponding IP addresses, and would provide cryptographic data protection. The bill also restricts the transfer of data shared between Russian internet users to servers outside of the country. (Rt.com, April 16, 2019; read the full article)
Notre Dame Fire
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has offered French President Emmanuel Macron the help of the best Russian specialists in rebuilding the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and conveyed his condolences over the fire that damaged France's national symbol, the Kremlin press office reported. (Tass.com, April 16, 2019; read the full article)
The Russian Culture Minister will encourage Russian museums and citizens to arrange a fundraiser to help rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris that has been devastated by a fire, the director of the ministry's museums department, Vladislav Kononov said. (Interfax-religion.com, April 16, 2019; read the full article)
Director at the Museums Department at the Russian Culture Ministry Vladislav Kononov: "The tragedy in Paris is a serious lesson for all of us about the need to protect cultural heritage sites, and take care of them at all levels - from visitors to, certainly, officials who are responsible for irreproachable operation of all security systems, including fire safety." (Tass.com, April 16, 2019; read the full article)