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March 8, 2018 No.
7372

Russian Commentators Criticize Putin's State Of The Nation Address For Strengthening U.S. Hawks Rather Than Paving Way For Negotiations Part II

Pro-Kremlin and independent commentators seem to agree that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants negotiations with the American administration.

Alexey Venediktov, editor-in-chief of the independent radio station Echo of Moscow, said that the political subtext of Putin's State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly was basically: "Guys, I am strong. Do not push me in Syria, do not push me in Korea. And don't you push me in my own country. I just remind you who I am. Let's get to the negotiating table." However, Venediktov warns that Washington will not agree to this strong-armed approach.

Seconding Venediktov's analysis,  Russian political expert Evgeny Minchenko opined that Putin's speech provided a fresh impetus to the U.S. army rearmament program. He characterized Putin's address as a "gift" to the American "hawks", who want Russia to be identified as a threat.

Below is a review of reactions to Putin's State of the Nation Address:[1]


Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly. (Source: Kp.ru)

Political Commentator Eggert: Putin Perceives Isolation Negatively

TV Rain political commentator Konstantin von Eggert stated:

"In his address, Vladimir Putin kept getting back to one issue: let's jointly build a common civilization on Earth, let's talk to each other, the U.S. and Europe remain [our] partners. From my point of view, this demonstration of force will be perceived, on one hand, by those who so desire, as a pure reference to an arms race. On the other hand, I think [Putin] is putting out a further request: talk to us.

"I think the Kremlin perceives Russia's isolation very negatively, it's pummeling economic growth and it is simply unpleasant psychologically. I think it is a two-pronged address – a threat on the one hand and an invitation to talk on the other. But there is one more potential consequence. At the moment, during any conversation regarding weakening economic sanctions against Russia, there will be people in the West who will definitely say: why should we lift the sanctions? If we lift the sanctions, and they will just produce more missiles of the kind Putin is showing off. From the pre-elections point of view, Putin has demonstrated – look, I'm a kind of demiurge, the creator of a new reality in which Russia is powerful."

(Kommersant.ru, March 1, 2018)

Vedomosti Columnists: Putin's Speech Is An Invitation To Create A New Warsaw Pact

Vedomosti columnists Maria Zheleznova, Pavel Aptekar, and Ivan Prosvetov wrote the following in an article titled "The New Terrifying and Comfortable Russia of Putin":

"The militaristic ecstasy of Putin's address to the Federal Assembly, but a lot more to the outside world, is unprecedented during his 18-years-long rule and throughout Russia's entire modern history. Even Soviet analogues - like the speeches of [Communist Party First Secretaries Yuri] Andropov or [Nikita] Khrushchev are clearly pale by comparison.

"This address is about presenting a new political construction for the world – Russia's military dominance in the world, which is unrestrained by any existing or future missile or air defense. Trust me and believe me, it's no bluff, announced Putin...

"Essentially this striking – though only rhetorically defensive capability [offer] a means of protection not only for the new terrifying Russia, but also for its allies. So to speak, it's an actual invitation to form a new Warsaw Pact."

(Vedomosti.ru, March 1, 2018)

Russian Political Expert Minchenko: Putin's Speech Provides A Fresh Impetus To The U.S. Rearmament Program

Russian political expert Evgeny Minchenko opined:

"Apparently, this will provide a new impulse for the U.S. army rearmament program, announced earlier by Donald Trump. The American establishment and American public opinion are currently inclined against Russia and they will perceive this address as proof that Russia is not a reliable partner, but a foe and it is necessary to spare no effort to minimize risks related to Russia.

"So, for the 'hawks' in the U.S. it's more of a gift than a kind of sobering signal. But in Russia society is fatigued with external politics. I think it would have been better from a political perspective of course, if the whole address had been devoted solely to economic issues, while telling us about international policy in two or three paragraphs."

(Kommersant.ru, March 1, 2018)

Kommersant Columnist Drize: Putin's Policy Will Worsen Our Economy; Now, The U.S. Won't Lift Sanctions On Russia

Kommersant columnist Konstantin Drize, wrote:

"Yes, we have sophisticated weapons, which, perhaps, no one else in the world has. And then what? …

"Apparently, from an ideological point of view, the calculation was made that a citizen of great Russia will appreciate the fact that: we are a great power again. They [the citizens] should feel a new surge of pride and rally around the current authority…

"It is unimportant that it [this policy] may prove worse economically– the main thing is that we are great and invincible again.

"And what about America? Should it tremble and promptly lift all the sanctions and determine the fate of the world together with Russia? I can hardly believe that."

(Kommersant.ru, March 1, 2018)

Echo Of Moscow's Editor-In-Chief: Putin Wants To Get To The Negotiating Table, But The West Won't Do It

Alexey Venediktov, editor-in-chief of the independent radio station Echo of Moscow, said:

"This is Putin's threat to the outside world: 'Guys, I am strong. Do not pressure me in Syria, do not pressure me in Korea. And do not you push me in my own country. I am just reminding you who I am. Let's get to the negotiating table'. I think the [Western] response will be different."

(Echo.msk.ru, March 3, 2018)

Director Of The Carnegie Moscow Center Trenin: The Russia-U.S. Agenda Is Going To Focus On 'War Prevention'

Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, tweeted:

"For the foreseeable future, it looks that the U.S.-Russia agenda will be limited to just one item: war prevention. Good luck to us all."

(Twitter.com/DmitriTrenin/March 1, 2018)

Political Expert Smirnov: 'The Upcoming Decade Will Evolve Under The Cold War Flag'

Vyacheslav Smirnov, head of the Institute of Political Sociology, stated:

"The upcoming decade will take place under the Cold War flag. Whatever happened today, or a year or two ago, during the Crimea accession, is just the beginning. It will be worse, tougher, just as in the 80's. People should get ready for that. The image of the enemy is concrete, it does not change. It has been the same since the times of the Russian Empire, there were enemies are all around. It's normal for any state, which aspires to a global position of leadership. In general, looking for the enemy is a part of our national idea, and we have managed just fine with it for the last 100 years."

(Kommersant.ru, March 1, 2018)