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‘Putin made perfectly clear that Russia won’t be bullied by West’

‘Putin made perfectly clear that Russia won’t be bullied by West’
The West was hoping that sanctions and the falling ruble would force Russia to shift its policy, but Putin made it clear during his Federal Assembly address that Russia will continue its course, Mark Sleboda of Moscow State University, told RT.

RT:Some strong words yet again from the Russian president. What kind of reaction can we expect from the West?

Mark Sleboda: We can expect more of the same. These are not new words, they are just the reiteration that Russia will continue the course that it is not deterred by sanctions, it is not deterred by the buildup of NATO forces on its border, and it is not determined by harsh rhetoric from the West. Russia will stay the course and it will not change its foreign policy or sense of national interests because of Western aggression in either economic or military form against it.

RT:President Putin has said that sovereignty is important for Russia and its Western partners should realize that. Do you think that is likely to happen?

MS: Of course no. I think Putin said it ironically for rhetorical effect. The US, the West in general, stopped believing in sovereignty of nations back at the end of the Cold War. And we have seen that repeatedly: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. Sovereignty is conditional in this new world order that was created when with aliment with Western foreign policy interests and hegemony. If you don’t have that aliment you don’t have sovereignty. This is what Russia is reacting against.

RT:Also the president said that the West would have found some other way to hold Russia back, even if it wasn't for Ukraine's crisis. What do you make of that?

MS: Not only would the West have found something else other than sanctions but the whole Ukraine crisis itself is not primarily directed at Ukraine, or the Ukrainian people which are of marginal interest to either the US or the EU, but at Russia and the reconsolidation of the Eurasian space and the economic union. That is the entire purpose of the Ukrainian crisis.

RT:Putin accused the US of always meddling in the affairs of Russia's neighboring states. So what kind of reaction to this can we expect from the West?

MS: Of course this won’t be accepted by the West and it is something that Western politicians, analysts don’t even acknowledge that it is happening and they never had during the whole spate of color revolutions all across the former Soviet space and most recently in Ukraine. We can’t forget that we saw US and EU politicians on the Maidan stage preaching to armed rioters that were calling for revolution against their country openly supporting them. That is an aggressive violation of Ukraine sovereignty and interference in its domestic political affairs. This whole putsch that happened, this whole propping up by the West, the arming of it - Russia is not going to forget it and Russia is not going to accept it.

From left: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping and President of the Republic of South Africa Jacob Zuma during a meeting with the heads of state and government of BRICS member countries, which took place before the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia. (RIA Novosti)

RT:Just before he made the address, America's Presidentlashed outat Putin for leading an aggressive and dated policy, saying that Putin “has been improvising himself into a nationalist, backward-looking approach to Russian policy that is scaring the heck out of his neighbors and is badly damaging his economy.” What do you think will be Obama’s reaction to that?

MS: Not only the US but the EU, primarily Germany, were hoping that the sanctions, this most likely engineered collapse in global oil prices, the drop in the ruble, would force Russia to shift course. And Putin’s speech has made perfectly clear that Russia is not going to be bullied by the US and by Europe. Of course hearing the words “nationalist” and “aggressive” coming out from the US President who has military forces operating in a dozen countries around the world, and who had no respect for Ukraine sovereignty just a year ago when they were encouraging riots to overthrow the government, comes across as a little hypocritical.

RT:The Russian president also reiterated that Moscow will search for new partners. Who might that be? And does this mean further strengthening of the BRICS on the international scene?

MS: First of all, Putin is not addressing the West as partners anymore -we have to acknowledge this was said with a certain bit of irony- that is not the case anymore. It is not new partners. Russia has well developed relations particularly with the BRICS nations but also with the other countries around the world: Argentina, Iran, Indonesia, so on. It is the West that views itself as the world, and the West is not the World. And Russia has good relations with most of the rest of the world.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.