They Failed to Isolate Us: Russia Defies the Odds, Continues to Draw Attention and Admiration
— But what was before that?
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of LDPR: What?
— What was before?
— They called me.
— By the way, you got paid for that, but you didn't read the lecture.
— But you got paid!
— They had to. We had a contract.
— But did you throw the money in the face, yelling «I don't need your money?»
— I gave it to the poor!
Aleksey Pushkov, chairman of the Federation Council Commission: As for the Forum, it was very representational and politically successful. My personal impression is that Russia is indeed a very powerful magnet. It is a strong independent center of power, of economic potential and economic opportunities. And this is attractive. I mean, the vast territory, massive resources, the capability to transfer hydrocarbons by over long distances, the capability to build large projects in the nuclear power engineering as well, such as «Nord Stream 2», «South Stream» and so on; all these charm a major portion of western business and a lot of western politicians. Of course, they feel that all this Barack Obama's nonsense about the isolation of Russia and so on is perceived as hollow rhetoric. And this magnet is attractive. And when they try to weaken the Russian magnet, then, for some time, with the use of propaganda campaigns some kind of a detachment appears. But after that, they come back to us anyway. To my mind, this is a very important strategic result of the Forum, it's a confirmation that Russia is one of the most powerful centers of attraction in the world. Those who attended the plenary session included Macron, Abe Christine Lagarde, by the way, the Head of the International Monetary Fund, China's vice-president, the composition which is to be wished by anyone, any international forum.
At the same time, we should realize that the actions of our magnet are counteracted in various forms by our opponents. And here, I think, Europe is limited in its capabilities. Yes, it is partly reaching to us, but what can it do? That is a serious question. When Macron… Macron talked about sovereignty for a long time. He talked for about 20 minutes about trust, without saying how to build it, and he talked for 20 minutes about sovereignty and how he would consolidate it. And when he was asked…
— What's more, he quoted Tolstoy weirdly. It seemed like he was given a paper, learned the words but failed to understand them. He quoted Solzhenitsyn just as well weirdly.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of LDPR: I don't know Karataev. Who is Karataev?
Aleksey Pushkov: Well… They wrote something for him. He wanted to quote Tolstoy. You ought to be polite to such audience in Russia.
— Do you think there was such person as Karataev?
Vladimir Zhirinovsky: No, there wasn't.
— Sure, it wasn’t. Read it again and you'll find him.
— There are thousands of characters.
— The point is, when you pull a definite episode out of «War and Peace» and give your own free interpretation for Pierre Bezukhov's rethinking of his role and place… You think like, «Well… OK».
Nikolay Zlobin, political expert: Whose interpretation should it be?
— His own, of course. But it would be nice for him to read the book at least.
— Yes, yes.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky: Was there Karataev?
— Yes. A soldier.
— What did he do?
— We can't remember generals, and here's a soldier.
Aleksey Pushkov: Let's suppose, Macron did read «War and Peace.» Let's not suspect him of what he didn't do.
— The beginning's in French anyway.
— I just think this reasoning about trust, trust to yourself that strengthens you and you start trusting others more, was really far from the present political situation. Macron suggested no confidence-building measures, no practical step towards it. I mean, the message was good, with quoting Tolstoy to sound more convincing but there was no specific mechanism suggested.
And again, he was asked about the French sovereignty. Like, he's going to strengthen it, but now he has strained relations with the USA. How is he going to strengthen it when the USA put pressure on France on a variety of issues? He said,«We'll act in such a way so as not to harm our relations with our transatlantic allies.» Then in relation to whom is Macron going to strengthen sovereignty? In relation to Mongolia? Or Myanmar? Because there's only one country… I mean, there are only two centers that limit the French sovereignty: the USA through NATO and the transatlantic relations and the EU, the second unit that limits the French sovereignty. Macron states this «de Gaulle-like» thesis about strengthening sovereignty which is hailed by the French community and the French media and so on…
— In Russia.
— In Russia, too. And also in the growing part of Europe now, because these words I hear from the Germans, after Trump's withdrawal from the agreement with Iran, even the Germans say that they should be more independent from surprises of the American foreign policy. So that's how it is perceived in Europe. But there are no specific examples of steps he is going to take to strengthen sovereignty. And that's why, I think, we should realize that we are of political and economic interest for Europe, but Europe is limited in its capabilities.
One more point. Notice that during the Forum days, the Netherlands and Australia officially accused us of Malaysian MH17 crash. And this leads me to the following thought: these campaigns go one after another, before was the Skripal case, which failed, I think. As soon as we saw Julia Skripal in a blue dress, very good-looking, by the way, who said clearly what she was suggested, it became obvious that at least 90% of what the British side is talking about isn't true, because… Well, you know why. The father is discharged from the hospital, she has recovered. It isn't clear if the poisoning took place at all or if the poison London claimed was used. Well, to my mind, the Skripal case failed entirely and for good. Under the guise of this case, in June, London wanted to put a question on new sanctions against Russia at the EU summit. This story is gone. A major portion of Europeans, formally showing solidarity to London, didn't take in their arguments since they're very shaky.
And then a new case was brought up. They're in a hurry. They wanted to give conclusions of the commission in the beginning of 2019. The one which is working in the Netherlands on the Malaysian Boeing. They're giving it now. Why now? Because the Russian magnet is working. The sanctions have worn out. They're tired of them. By the way, there was a lot of talk on sanctions on the part of business. Many were drastically against the sanctions, like, they should be canceled. In these circumstances, when the Skripal case failed and they can't draw a scandal out of it, a new system of accusations was brought up, to galvanize these sanction mechanisms and, at the same time, to unite the Western alliance around unpredictable Trump. No matter how unpredictable he is, but if there's such an opponent like Russia, they should be all together. This is also an indirect conclusion, I think, of what was happening during the Forum, and why the accusations were made in those days.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky: You would never come to Afganistan.
Nikolay Zlobin, political expert: Envy in silence.
— It's not about envy! What a phrasing! That's childish! What do you mean by «envy in silence?!» Who must be silent here you say?
— I didn't…
— What about «envy in silence?»
— I didn't shut anyone's mouth.
— May the USA be envy in silence! Why do they impose sanctions against Russia? Let them suffer in silence.
— We're talking on…
Aleksey Pushkov: Nikolay, let the other speak! We can't listen to you all the time. The second moment…
Vladimir Zhirinovsky: Nikolay, don't worry… Nikolay, you'll get paid, don't worry.
— Will LDPR pay him or what?
— Let the last Americans breathe in Russian air. They dream of living here.
— Isn't it enough that a Pole is in your jacket?
— Yes, that's scary. We give them clothes and food. They're ungrateful! Give the wolf the best food, but he would hanker for the wood.
— ...But he would remain Volker.
Aleksey Pushkov: It was also said that the USA is full of initiative it's better at it, Russia doesn't place itself right and the prospects are reserved to the USA and the world order it's building. This contradicts simply everything. This contradicts the way of history and history itself. Because it's well-known that the USA is losing constantly its share in the world economy. It's absolutely OK. When the USA had 44 % of the world GDP in 1960, it was abnormal. It shouldn't be like this. In 1990 it was 25% and in 2014 it was 15%. And the share will continue to fall because other centers of power rise, no one will argue with that, I think. The role of China, India and so on. In percentage terms, the USA is becoming one of the leading world states, but it's not that Everest that it used to be at an unreachable height. Therefore, the US political clout will be weakening gradually as well.
And there was a talk about revisionism. Like, Russia is a revisionist country. Listen, all the world history is a history of revisionism. Stronger countries appeared that demanded their weight in the world affairs. This is absolutely OK. And now, I think, the USA is in a very complex situation, because they face a lot of revisionist countries. I extended the list of Trump's ex-National Security Advisor. Not only Russia and China are revisionist countries. Iran is a revisionist country since it tries to strengthen its position in the region. Turkey is a revisionist country, the US ally in NATO. And it's pretty much revisionist, it doesn't agree with today's distribution in the Middle East as well as the US role. North Korea which created nuclear weapon is a revisionist country. And many others will join. Your American world is merely a Utopia. Pax Americana is becoming a Utopia. And the Americans are trying to hold it at any cost. If they can't reach the goal… It's OK that they threaten us with sanctions, but they also threaten their European allies with sanctions. Inside the American alliance, the sanctions policy is beginning in relation to their allies. Why is it so? Because they're in a difficult situation. They're facing many attempts to reconsider this «American world.» And Trump just puts it… Obama expressed it in the veiled form, but Trump puts it simply, rudely, visibly, primitively. He says, «We'll put pressure on you until you surrender.» But he can't suppress everyone. In this context, I think, we're in the situation when the USA is getting weak. That's why they use power politics. If the French with their talks about sovereignty were obedient on any question, then why threaten their businesses? What's the point in secondary sanctions on Iran?
And the last thing. This Iranian case creates a definite window of opportunities. Until recently, the USA did everything to make us and China closer. Because the Chinese see the USA with its suppressing which denies China's right to dictate the conditions of the world trade, and so on. Naturally, China gets closer with Russia, since it understands that if Russia is oppressed, China will be the next. That's why it supports us. Now we're very close strategic partners. But I heard from many Europeans, that the Iranian story is gradually creating a breach between the USA and Europe. So now there's a window of opportunities between us and Europe regarding the political dialogue. That's why I think that march of history isn't in favor of the USA. And the fact that the USA uses such power politics, shows not the strength but the US progressive weakness.
— We have 15 minutes left.