PRESS RELEASE

13-02-2007

The main points of Speech of the President of the Russian Federation
Vladimir V.Putin at the Munich Conference on Security Policy,
Germany, February 10, 2007

International security comprises much more than issues relating to military and political stability. It involves the stability of the global economy, overcoming poverty, economic security and developing a dialogue between civilisations. This universal, indivisible character of security is expressed as the basic principle that “security for one is security for all”.

All, what is happening in today’s world is a tentative to introduce the concept of a unipolar world into international affairs. The unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world. It is world in which there is one master, one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making. This is pernicious for all those within this system.

Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force – military force – in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. Unilateral and frequently illegitimate actions have not resolved any problems. Moreover, they have caused new human tragedies and created new centres of tension. Wars as well as local and regional conflicts have not diminished. And no less, but significantly more people are dying in these conflicts than before.

We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. Of course such a policy stimulates an arms race. The force’s dominance inevitably encourages a number of countries to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

The international landscape is so varied and changes so quickly – changes in light of the dynamic development in a whole number of countries and regions. The combined GDP measured in purchasing power parity of countries such as India and China is already greater than that of the United States. And a similar calculation with the GDP of the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – surpasses the cumulative GDP of the EU. There is no reason to doubt that the economic potential of the new centres of global economic growth will inevitably be converted into political influence and will strengthen multipolarity.

The only mechanism that can make decisions about using military force as a last resort is the Charter of the United Nations. And we do not need to substitute NATO or the EU for the UN. When the UN will truly unite the forces of the international community and can really react to events in various countries, when we will leave behind this disdain for international law, then the situation will be able to change. The need for principles such as openness, transparency and predictability in politics is uncontested and the use of force should be a really exceptional measure, comparable to using the death penalty in the judicial systems of certain states.

The potential danger of the destabilisation of international relations is connected with obvious stagnation in the disarmament issue. Russia supports the renewal of dialogue on this important question. NATO has put its frontline forces on our borders. It is obvious that NATO expansion does not have any relation with the modernisation of the Alliance itself or with ensuring security in Europe. On the contrary, it represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust.

Plans to expand certain elements of the anti-missile defence system to Europecannot help but disturb us. We recognise that one day the possible threat from our present nuclear forces will be completely neutralised. The balance of powers will be absolutely destroyed and one of the parties will benefit from the feeling of complete security. This means that its hands will be free not only in local but eventually also in global conflicts. And of course we should react to this by developing an asymmetrical answer. So that everybody can understand that the anti-missile defence system is useless against Russia because we have certain weapons that easily overcome it.

At the same time, it is impossible to sanction the appearance of new, destabilising high-tech weapons. In Russia’s opinion, the militarisation of outer space could have unpredictable consequences for the international community, and provoke nothing less than the beginning of a nuclear era. Today I would like to tell you that we have prepared a project for an agreement on the prevention of deploying weapons in outer space.

We are unequivocally in favour of strengthening the regime of non-proliferation. In general, we should talk about establishing a whole system of political incentives and economic stimuli whereby it would not be in states’ interests to establish their own capabilities in the nuclear fuel cycle but they would still have the opportunity to develop nuclear energy and strengthen their energy capabilities.

Economic securityis the sector in which all must adhere to uniform principles. We are ready to compete fairly. The process of Russia joining the WTO has reached its final stages. I would point out that during long, difficult talks we heard words about freedom of speech, free trade, and equal possibilities more than once but, for some reason, exclusively in reference to the Russian market.In the energy sector Russia intends to create uniform market principles and transparent conditions for all. It is obvious that energy prices must be determined by the market instead of being the subject of political speculation, economic pressure or blackmail. We are open to cooperation. Foreign companies participate in all our major energy projects. According to different estimates, up to 26 percent of the oil extraction in Russia is done by foreign capital.

Today many talk about the struggle against poverty. On the one hand, financial resources are allocated for programmes to help the world’s poorest countries – and at times substantial financial resources – but usually linked with the same donor country’s companies. And on the other hand, developed countries simultaneously keep their agricultural subsidies and limit some countries’ access to high-tech products. So one hand distributes charitable help and the other hand not only preserves economic backwardness but also reaps the profits thereof. The increasing social tension in depressed regions inevitably results in the growth of radicalism, extremism, feeds terrorism and local conflicts. And if all this happens in, shall we say, a region such as the Middle East where there is increasingly the sense that the world at large is unfair, then there is the risk of global destabilisation. The world’s leading countries should see this threat. And that they should therefore build a more democratic, fairer system of global economic relations, a system that would give everyone the chance and the possibility to develop.

As to democracy in Russia. We are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves. We introduced a new system for registering these organizations in Russia. But it is not that different from registration systems in other countries. We are bothered  - it is clear for all - when these non-governmental organisations are financed by foreign governments. Then we see them as an instrument that foreign states use to carry out their Russian policies. Financing from foreign governments, including within governmental campaigns, proceeds through non-governmental organisations. It is secret financing. Hidden from society. There is no democracy here, there is simply one state exerting influence on another. But we are interested in developing civil society in Russia, so that it scolds and criticises the authorities, helps them determine their own mistakes, and correct their policies in Russian citizens’ interests.

Russia is a country with a history that spans more than a thousand years and has practically always used the privilege to carry out an independent foreign policy.We are not going to change this tradition today. At the same time, we are well aware of how the world has changed and we have a realistic sense of our own opportunities and potential. And of course we would like to interact with responsible and independent partners with whom we could work together in constructing a fair and democratic world order that would ensure security and prosperity not only for a select few, but for all.