Russian President Dmitry Medvedev delivered an extensive speech to German politicians and businessman during his visit to Germany. It became Medvedev’s first landmark public appearance of international significance. The speech clearly showed which problems the new Russian president considered as vital.
One of the most talked-about subjects – the deployment of the US missile system in Eastern Europe and the expansion of NATO – became one of the most important aspects in Medvedev’s speech.
According to Medvedev, Russia offers not to speed up the expansion of NATO and the deployment of the US missile defense system in Europe.
“Everyone needs to show restraint not to aggravate the situation on any issue. One needs to break the vicious circle of single-handed actions and reactions to those actions. One has to turn down the attempts of speeding events up and to run the policy of facts that have already taken place. It would be good to take a break and look around to see where we have found ourselves and where are going, whether it goes about Kosovo, the expansion of NATO or the missile defense issue,” Dmitry Medvedev said in Berlin, Interfax reports.
“It is very indicative that discrepancies with Russia are interpreted by many in the West from the point of view of the need to pull Russia’s stance to that of the West. We do not need to be hugged. We are seeking after truly equal relations and nothing more,” Medvedev said.
“Some simply tell us: stop being so spiky and obstinate in international affairs, the problems of the democratic development and observation of human rights – these are all derivatives and we will turn a blind eye on them. They cite other countries as an example, with which they act exactly like that. That suits those countries. I would like to say that that does not suit us because we consider human rights to be a basic fundamental value, which must not be traded for anything. We are open to a composed, honest and reciprocal dialogue on any subjects,” the president emphasized.
Medvedev also urged not to put obstacles on the way for the OSCE to become a full-fledged regional organization. “It seems that it is the OSCE that should make the newly revived unity of the European civilization. However, they do not allow that. They do not let the OSCE develop into a full-fledged regional structure,” the president said.
“Other structures, which are programmed to reproduce the bloc type of policy, put obstacles on the OSCE’s way. NATO does not seem to be able to find the new point of its existence. They believe that their new mission is global, that is why they are acting to the detriment of the UN Security Council’s prerogatives, attracting new members,” Medvedev said.
“I am certain that Atlantism as the only principle has become obsolete. The unity of the entire European-Atlantic space from Vancouver to Vladivostok has become much more important nowadays,” Medvedev said.
Dmitry Medvedev hopes that Russia will come to a new agreement with the European Union during the forthcoming Russia-EU summit.
“We are definitely interested in maintaining stable relations with the Europeans community. We can’t do without each other, we have one single European home, we have similar historical values and similar problems. The fact that we are moving closer to the new agreement on cooperation and partnership with the European community is extremely important for us,” Medvedev stated.
Speaking about the development of democracy in Russia, Dmitry Medvedev said that the West still had a misconception of the Russian democracy.
“The perfection of the political system and the development of the institutes of the civil society is of paramount importance for us,” the president said.
“I totally agree that the freedom of mass media needs to be protected. It was necessary several years ago, when private companies were enslaving the media. Now we need to protect the media against the administrative machine on different levels,” Medvedev said.
At the same time, Medvedev said that the world had approached the point of the absolute freedom of mass media owing to the technological progress, Internet technologies in particular.
“This situation highlights not only the idea of freedom of speech, since up-to-date digital technologies have already guaranteed this freedom. It highlights the problem of preserving moral and cultural values in this environment,” he said. “ Television can be both state and private - run . But it has to be truthful, although I am sure that there will be no difference left between a personal computer and a TV set in five years,” he said.
“In this case any country, whether it is Russia or Germany, will not have to pay first priority to the questions of regulating activities of television companies, or licensing and taxing their activities. One will have to pay prime attention to question of content – what is distributed in the global media environment and how,” Medvedev said.
Medvedev promised that all cases of violence against journalists in Russia would be investigated. The president pointed out that severe incidents, with even fatal outcomes occur not only in Russia.
“I will not be talking about the problems of other countries. Every leader must be responsible for their deeds. I can only say that all incidents connected with violence to life and person of journalists in Russia will be investigated and completed,” Medvedev said.
Speaking of non-governmental organizations, Medvedev said that Russia has been increasing its own support of the national civil society. “The support of non-governmental organizations is one of our priorities. They used to be funded from abroad right before 2006. I do not think that any developed Western country would accept external investments in its third sector. That is why we decided to allocate our own funds to support the Russian civil structures,” Medvedev said.