After recording the television programme, Dmitry Medvedev answered a number of questions concerning relations with the European Union, the forthcoming EU-Russia summit in Khabarovsk and the topic of European security:
“Russia is a big country. Last year when we met with our colleagues from the EU, I suggested that they come to Russia to see what it looks like beyond the European part: in the Urals, in Siberia or even in the Far East. Since we think of all this space as European in the broadest sense of the word, I made this suggestion and our European colleagues agreed. No doubt, they will enjoy visiting the Far East, but most importantly, it will give them a better feel for Russia. It’s a way of putting our relations on a firmer footing, making them clearer and more coherent, and questions of mutual understanding are always important when it comes to foreign relations.”
Dmitry Medvedev also gave his assessment of the current state of the dialogue with Europe on security issues:
“Here is the situation: there was an old set of European institutions that guaranteed security in Europe. These institutions were created in the 70s and they have performed their role. There is a whole range of national alliances in Europe, including the North Atlantic Alliance. But we do not have a single forum in which all the issues can be addressed; hence the idea of a new treaty on European security. What happened in the 90s and what is happening in this decade? Unfortunately, security in Europe is not improving; on the contrary, people seem to think security in Europe can be provided primarily through the expansion of the military-political bloc.
As a military and political bloc NATO is becoming larger and security is becoming more fragmented and more piecemeal. I think that this is bad for everyone concerned, no matter what our negotiating partners say. So we need new approaches. There was the Helsinki Final Act [of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe]; now we need a new document, not something drafted in opposition to NATO but to provide security in Europe. And what does security in Europe involve? It has a whole set of components, it consists of a whole range of countries: there are the European states, that is all the ones in Europe, there’s the United States, there’s Canada, there are all the European organisations such as NATO and the European Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. So if we can create a new matrix of relationships, I think it will be effective. In any case, this is obviously better than advancing NATO in every direction. At any rate we are not happy with that idea and we are going to respond to it. What is better, to create a new security structure or conduct military exercises in the vicinity of the places where there was fighting just recently, less than a year ago? We simply want a new level of security for our country, for our people, in light of the experience, the difficult experience, that was ours in the twentieth century.”
The full transcript of the interview will be published on May 16.