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19 Sep, 2008 14:28

No more ‘iron curtain’ – Medvedev

The conflict in the Caucasus was provoked by NATO, Russia's President said at a meeting of representatives from non-governmental organisations at the Kremlin on Friday.

“We will not return to saying that the country is in an extraordinary situation or that we're surrounded by enemies. This will not happen. We made our choice a long time ago and it was a choice achieved through the suffering of our people,” Medvedev said.

Speaking about the situation in the Caucasus, Medvedev said that Georgia’s long-held desire to join NATO led it to attack South Ossetia.

Medvedev also criticized the U.S. which says it wants to provide financial support to develop Russia’s institutions – including Russia’s schools and even the country’s judiciary system. Medvedev said this was unacceptable as this is direct interference into the internal affairs of Russia.

“The current international security system has been broken and has – unfortunately – showed that it has failed. If so, humanity has only two options. One is to act without any rules, bearing in mind that there are several states with huge military potential that will set the rules. But that's a bad scenario. The other is to create a new modern base for international cooperation. When I first suggested that, I was told that it is not needed as NATO would solve everything. The only thing NATO did was provoke the conflict in the Caucasus. The need to seal a big European treaty is even higher after what happened in the Caucasus”. 

Medvedev noted that the Russian public showed its maturity and responsibility during Georgia's aggression against South Ossetia.

Touching on upgrades to Russia’s armed forces, Medvedev said the country would be building up its national security and defence capabilities to a level determined by current needs.

However, the president stressed that the main priorities facing Russia were the modernization of the economy and innovations in the social sphere.