Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Washington on April 13 to take part in the Nuclear Security Summit. The leaders of 47 countries gathered in the US capital to attend the summit hosted by US President Barack Obama.
Mr. Medvedev acknowledged that the summit was “crowned with a complete success.”
"The issues of disarmament and nonproliferation concern a big number of countries and today's discussion confirmed it," Medvedev said. "The world is going through a period of profound transformation these days, running into challenges and seeking new models for development," Itar-Tass quoted the Russian President as saying.
In Washington, Dmitry Medvedev visited the studio of Russia Today TV channel and gave an exclusive interview to the head of the channel, Margarita Simonyan.
In the very beginning of the interview Medvedev praised Obama’s efforts to modernize the US healthcare system.
“I think it's a brave deed. And I would go so far as to say it's a brave deed even for a president! Because such decisions can require huge effort, and about a year ago President Obama told me "You know, it's my biggest domestic problem". But I think he has succeeded. I don't know how successful this reform will be, and in keeping with its original intentions, but on the surface it looks quite interesting, because it does, so to say, restore fairness, but on the other hand, I know that opponents of this reform consider that it contradicts the foundation of the political system of the U.S., that it contradicts the constitution. I know that some states argue against it, maybe it's part of the normal democratic process, but I repeat it's a courageous deed. And I think if this reform succeeds, my colleague President Obama will make it into American history not only for his achievements in foreign policy,” the Russian president said.
Afterwards, Dmitry Medvedev recollected his first trip to the United States, which he made during the Soviet times.
“I remember the first time I travelled to the United States. By the way, it certainly was far from the worst city in the world, it was New York. I like New York, it's a very beautiful and energetic city. I feel comfortable there. By that time I had seen almost all Europe, so I can't say that I came here and saw something I'd never seen before, because for a Soviet citizen it was your first ever trip abroad that was a real shock. Beyond the Iron Curtain you found yourself in a different world where there's a big variety of things from democracy to food, that was quite impressive. America, frankly speaking, appeared to me just as I'd pictured it to be with all its advantages and disadvantages. But what I can say for certain is that New York impressed me very much especially with its strong energy, drive for results, with lots of businessmen and at the same time a kind of routine life. I hadn't seen that in Europe. That's what stuck in my memory most. At that time, I was a normal carefree person because I could stroll along the streets of New York, drop into restaurants and shops, see how Wall Street works, which wasn't much criticised than, not like today!
“You know what also impressed me much, and I’ve remembered it for the rest of life – was how well-dressed young people, obviously successful and earning good money, were just standing near their office blocks eating hamburgers and drinking cola. That was a surprise for me, because in other countries wealthy people usually went to restaurants or went home for lunch. But here there's an adaptability that greatly distinguishes Americans from other nations. It doesn't matter if you're rich, a piece of hamburger and a glass of cola must give you enough energy to keep going for the rest of the day.”
Speaking about the recent air crash in Smolensk, which shocked the whole world and left Poland in mourning for the whole week, Medvedev said that it was a trial for the society and for the international system.
“There was something mystical about it, and perhaps there were rational reasons too, which the investigation must find – and explain what happened there. This is very important. Regarding the occasion, it was a difficult one too, even though recently, we’ve come a long way. An assessment was made of the Katyn tragedy, and it was objective. It had obviously happened with the will of leaders of that time, including Stalin. Characters of this kind will always provoke different responses in people. It’s not a question of the mentality of one country or another, whether it’s totally liberated or whether it had been formed by a totalitarian period.
“Regarding Stalin and people under his leadership, the Soviet leaders of that period, it’s clear and obvious to everyone that they had committed a crime. A crime against their nation first of all, and against history to some extent too. I have no doubts that the activities of Stalin and his nearest colleagues will always be assessed differently. The question is, what assessment dominates. And I believe that nothing has changed in our country over recent years regarding this issue. When I hear that a renaissance of Stalinism is happening now, it sounds totally far-fetched to me,” Medvedev said.
You can read the full text of the interview on the website of Russia Today here
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