Where Is Russia Heading? New Vision of Pan-European Security

Article excerpt

Sergey B. Ivanov is First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. This address was presented on February 10th, 2008, before the 44th Munich Conference on Security Policy. It gives me pleasure to note that the authority of the Munich Conference on Security Policy has increased considerably in recent years. It has gradually turned into a universal venue where leading politicians and experts can express their opinions on international developments, exchange views and jointly discuss solutions to various problems.

As President Putin has stated in Munich last year, we don't have to limit ourselves only to diplomatic courtesy, but can frankly address all issues. This is the attitude I will try to follow.

I am sure that everyone here clearly realizes that the process of Russia's revival objectively combines our ambition to occupy an appropriate place in the world politics and commitment to maintain our national interests.

Right away I would like to make a point: we do not intend to meet this challenge by establishing military blocs or engaging in open confrontation with our partners.

Russia's way is different: we are consistently developing multivector cooperation with various nations both on a bilateral level and in the framework of key international and regional organizations.

This strategic targeting is entirely consistent with the new perception of the world by the Russians who now are confident of their potential and, consequently, are capable of thinking globally. We have abandoned ideological and other prejudices. We don't export ideology anymore, you will agree with that. We export only goods and capital. This is also a point of departure in our relations with international partners.

Russia is an open country undergoing unprecedented historic transformation, firmly intending to stay in the mainstream of the world politics and economics. We did everything to get rid of internal shocks and to take a secure path of evolutionary development with transparent goals.

I am confident that during the forthcoming Presidential elections to be held on March the 2nd in Russia, the people of our country will demonstrate their full support for this policy.

We respect the values cherished by America and Europe for centuries. Democracy is our main guideline, too. But we can hardly accept that there exists some universal experience or idea to serve as a "master standard" for all times and nations a kind of a "Troy ounce" to measure political structures, national cultures, religions, convictions and mentality.

Therefore our perception is based on the notion of development models' diversity as well as variety of ways of understanding and attaining harmony in society.

At the same time Russia shares the opinion that democracy requires similar skills and institutions as those needed for the functioning of free markets. Therefore, market principles combined with social responsibility have already become a solid foundation for our economy.

As a result, during the last 9 years, the gross domestic product in Russia has increased by 80 per cent, which is nearly twice as much compared to the average world indicators staying at around 46 per cent. Continuity of this process is ensured by accelerated integration of our country into the world economic system.

Russia is becoming more attractive for foreign investors. Thus, over the past year, net capital inflow has almost doubled against the previous year to reach $82.3 billion. Foreign direct investments account now for more than 3 per cent of the GDP (gross domestic product).

Alongside, external assets of a number of major Russian companies increase, too, despite of the antagonism on the part of some European countries.

We do not aim to buy the entire Old World with our petrodollars. But welcoming foreign investors in Russia, we naturally expect this to be a two way traffic. …