What is the current state of affairs in the foreign policy of the European Union? Why does Montenegro want to become a NATO member? What does the USA wants Ukraine to do? Pravda.Ru editor-in-chief Inna Novikova asked these questions to Konstantin Zatulin, the Director of the Institute for the CIS.
"During the times of Tsar Alexander III, it was considered that Russia had only two allies - her army and her navy. Can we say the same today, in the 21st century?"
"Your question brings up another historical ally of ours after our own army and navy - this is Montenegro. Alexander III used to say that Russia's only true ally in Europe was Montenegro. Nowadays, however, we can see Montenegro supporting anti-Russian sanctions, and in early December 2015 the country received an invitation to NATO. Montenegro may thus become the 29th member of the alliance.
"The Montenegrin people are against such a development. People storm the parliament and take to the streets to express their protests, but the Montenegrin prime minister can only care less about it. He has been in power for more than 20 years, serving as president, defence minister and prime minister. He controls everything in the country and no referendum was ever needed."
"So who is a friend and who is a foe? Europe imposes sanctions against Russia to support the United States and now the United States imposes sanctions to supports Europe. At the same time, both the USA and the EU say that one needs to cooperate with Russia on many issues."
"Putin said in a recent documentary that the European Union had no independent foreign policy. This is very true. The European Union actually pays the United States for the possibility to exist as well as for the possibility to work together. The US demonstrates tolerance to the very existence of the European Union. If the Americans wanted to set European countries against each other, we wouldn't have any sort of the European Union at all. At this time of history, the United States needs to have one single force in the struggle against its adversaries.
"When the EU was formed, it was up to the USA to make decisions on all issues of the foreign policy of the union. One can now see with the naked eye that the position of separate EU members could have been much more independent, just like the position of the European Union in general. Italy, for example, wants to lift sanctions against Russia. Other countries may share a similar approach, but when they come to the European Union they change their point of view completely. The announcement of sanctions against Russia from Montenegro was quite a surprise. These are the rules of the game for EU members. We have not lived up to the moment when the Americans would be ready to refuse from this idea. Russia and the USA conduct talks on the Middle East, and the Americans are interested to continue this dialogue. Yet, they do not change their position on either Ukraine or Europe.
"When Russia interfered into the conflict in Syria, we tried to show the desire to take part in the struggle that is important not only for Russia, but for other countries as well. By starting military operations in Syria, Russia publicly declared its readiness to struggle against terrorism. Russia has earned respect in the Middle East, but Russia has not been able to make the United States draw in its claws in Ukraine. The Americans still use the Ukrainian factor to cause damage to Russia and they will continue doing so, they will be imposing more sanctions as long as the current Russian administration stays in power."
Interview conducted by Inna Novikova
Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru
"The tests of the missile with characteristics prohibited under the Treaty took place only 16 days after Washington completed the denunciation of the said Treaty. It is obvious that it was not improvisation," Putin said