Editor In Chief of Russia Today Margarita Simonyan: Dear Dmitry Anatolyevich!
Thank you for allowing us this interview. And let’s go right to the first question so as not to waste time. Following the recognition of Kosovo's independence, Moscow immediately said that this could act as a precedent for Abkhazia and South Ossetia. And today you decided to support the independence of those republics. Why did Russia decide to do so and how does this decision conform to the provisions of international law?
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: I'll start with the second part. This decision fully conforms to international law. When the idea of a ‘Kosovo Case’, came up, my colleagues said that this was a special situation or, as we say in international law, a case.
So it is natural that every case of recognition of independence is a special one. Kosovo was a special case and so are Ossetia and Abkhazia. And if we talk about the situation there, then it is clear that our decisions were designed to prevent genocide, the extermination of peoples, and to help them get back on their feet again.
The fight for the independence of these unrecognized peoples has gone on for seventeen years and during this time, despite attempts by the international community, nothing has been able take hold. Right up until recently we have been trying to help restore the integrity of the Georgian state, but this was not possible. The decision to carry out this aggression was the last straw.
Therefore in these circumstances, the only way to save these people is to recognise them as subjects of international law, recognise them as independent states. Therefore our response to this situation is fully guided by international law, the UN Charter, the well-known Helsinki Accords and other international acts.
Margarita Simonyan: Tell us, is Russia is ready for the possibility that today's decision could lead to a long and tough confrontation with the leading world powers? And in general, are we are not worried by the prospects of a new Cold War?
Dmitry Medvedev: We are not afraid of anything, including the prospects of a new Cold War. Of course we don't want that. In such a situation everything depends on the stance of our partners in the international community and our partners in the West. If they want to maintain good relations with Russia, they will understand the reason for our decision, and the situation will remain calm. If they choose a confrontational scenario, well, we have lived in different conditions, and we can manage it.
Margarita Simonyan: You signed the agreement. One of its six points provides for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia. But even today Russia has been accused of failing to comply with its obligations. Is this true? Are there still Russian troops in Georgia?
Dmitry Medvedev: It's not true. Russia has fully complied with its obligations as set out by the principles of the so-called Medvedev-Sarkozy agreement: our troops have withdrawn from Georgia, except from the so-called security zone.
Margarita Simonyan: During the current presidential campaign in the United States, both candidates have made a number of statements about what Russia and Georgia have done. Don't you think that this situation has already become part of the domestic political struggle and will come to dominate that struggle in the United States?
Dmitry Medvedev: As far as I know, usually during the elections in the United States, voters are fairly indifferent to what is happening abroad. But if either of the candidates is able to use the issue, well then I wish him god-speed.
The main thing is that this not create international tensions. And the fact that both the candidates have instrumentalised this issue doesn't surprise me. That is what happens in election campaigns.
Margarita Simonyan: Thank you very much. Thank you for giving this interview.