Main Points of Putin's Annual Q&A Session

Vladimir Putin gave yet another brilliant speech in which many important topics of concern were discussed, including the reoccurring topic of "democracy" in Russia.

My thoughts on this thing called democracy:

Democracy, in the truest sense of the word, where essentially the people govern themselves, does not exist anywhere on earth, including here in the western world. As a matter of fact, true democracy never even existed in ancient Rome nor in the Hellenic city-states, where society was essentially in the hands of a select few men. What we have in the West today is a semblance, a facade, of democracy which was only made possible by various socioeconomic circumstances resulting from the defeat of National Socialism at the end of the Second World War. In a certain sense, the limited freedoms that westerners enjoy today are a post Second World War phenomenon. However, this freedom, this semblance of democracy in the West only goes as far as the financial/political ruling elite will allow it to go.

Nonetheless, the concept of democracy today is being used as an exploitative tool by neo-imperialists to violate lesser nations around the world. For the great empires of the past, France, Spain, Portugal or Britain, the ideological/political equivalent of the modern world's democracy was - Christianity. [naturally it was Islam for the Middle Easterners] And before Christianity it was Roman culture, before Roman culture it was Hellenism...

Just like how certain Western nations are attempting to bring democracy to Third World or developing nations at the tip of a gun (because we know what's good for them) our western ancestors brought Christianity or Roman/Hellenic Culture to the Godless "savages" or "barbarians" at the tip of a sword for over two thousand years. And just like today, in final analysis, it was never about Christianity or any particular culture or political system, it was always about control, power and plunder, it was about a pretext, an excuse, to carryout self-serving political and/or economic policies of the ruling elite. And modern day colonizers are mega-corporations and NGOs (non-governmental organizations). Catchy political slogans and/or fervent religious rhetoric are simply meant for the masses - the sheeple that are asked to do the fighting and dying.

In the absence of Communism today, the West will try to sell its agenda against Russia as one of bringing "democracy" to a "totalitarian" [read primitive] nation...

Take the current rhetoric in the West regarding democracy and replace it with the word Christianity; take the term Third World and replace it with the term savages; take the term totalitarian and replace it with term barbarian - and you would feel as if you have been transplanted back several hundred years... Other than names and titles nothing changes in human historiography. Russia today, as well as other nations of the former Soviet Union, needs sociopolitical evolution which come with political stability and not a Western inspired revolution.

Rome was not built in a single day, so wasn't Washington DC for that matter...



Main Points of Putin's Annual Q&A Session

US infected world with crisis - Putin:

December, 2008

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin held a live televised question and answer session with the Russian public on Thursday, his first as premier and leader of the ruling pro-presidential United Russia party. Putin, who became the leader of the United Russia party in May after stepping down as president, held six live televised question and answer sessions as head of state. During his latest televised session held in Gostiny Dvor, an exhibition center in downtown Moscow which hosts United Russia party congresses, Putin answered 80 questions in 3 hours and 8 minutes, beating the previous record of 3 hours and 5 minutes. Russians in 13 cities and 8 regions were able to send questions for the prime minister by telephone, on line and via text messages. The Russian prime minister said:

Foreign policy

- he expects positive changes in relations between Moscow and Washington under Barack Obama, who is to be inaugurated as president in January

- progress has been reached on the two key disputes in Russia-U.S. relations - Washington's plans for a missile shield in Central Europe, and NATO's expansion plans

- Russia could reduce natural gas supplies to Ukraine if the country fails to pay its debts

- Russia is ready to do everything to develop cooperation with Ukraine but relations between Moscow and Kiev should be fair and "market-based"

- he hopes that new EU member states will understand the need to look to the future and not stick to the past in their relations with Russia

- joint work between Russia and the EU in the economic sphere will increase transparency and stability of both the Russian and European economies

- Georgia's attack on South Ossetia ended any chance the South Caucasus state had of bringing its rebel republics back under central control

- Georgians should decide themselves on punishment for the country's leadership that started the August conflict in South Ossetia

- Russia sees no need to establish permanent military bases in Venezuela or Cuba, but could use their military infrastructure

- the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to grant Russia the right to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi will not be reviewed


- Russia has a strong chance of surviving the crisis with minimum losses

- Russian authorities will prevent sharp fluctuations in the ruble exchange rate

- there will not be a ruble devaluation

- Russia will see GDP growth of 6.8-6.9%, industrial production growth of 4.8%, and 13% inflation in 2008

- the Russian state will acquire large stakes in major companies in a bid to support them, but ruled out nationalization

- the 5 trillion rubles ($179 billion) allocated to prop up the banking sector amid the financial crisis is insufficient to stabilize the economy

- the Russian government may demand that monopolies reduce rises in tariffs

- Russia's government may demand that natural monopolies, including energy giant Gazprom and Russian Railways, reduce prices

- the Agency for Housing Mortgage Lending must provide banks with guarantees to solve the problem of mortgage payments

- Russia's government has no plans to toughen liberal regulations on currency and money flows


- extending the presidential term from four to six years is reasonable

- he will think about running for president again and make a decision by 2012

- he considers the power tandem with President Dmitry Medvedev "very effective"

- he has no plans to resign and there are no reasons for any government reshuffle

Social policy

- unemployment will grow from the current 1.7 million to 2 million, and pledged federal funds of $358 million to $1.8 billion to help tackle the problem

- labor quotas for foreign workers in Russia should be halved in 2009 amid the ongoing global financial crisis

- Russia's authorities are committed to increasing salaries and social payments

- Russia's employment services should set up special funds to provide assistance to Russians made redundant, adding that up to 50 billion rubles ($1.8 billion) is to be allocated for this purpose

- the state will pay maternity allowances for the birth of two or more children in advance next year and the money may be used to pay mortgages

- Russia's birth rate has reached around 7% in 2008, the highest for 15 years

- Russia has no plans to increase the retirement age

Armed Forces

- Russia's authorities have no plans to increase the length of military conscription, which is currently 12 months

- Russia's reforms to cut military personnel will be gradual and will not affect Russia's defense capability

Answering his last question "What does he like the best of all?" Putin said: "Russia."


Putin Addresses Key Foreign Policy Concerns in Q&A Session

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin addressed several sensitive foreign policy issues in his live question-and-answer session with the Russian public on Thursday. The session, Putin's first in his role as premier, was broadcast on state TV and radio and lasted over three hours. While the main focus was on the global financial crisis and its impact on the national economy, Putin also discussed a wide range of foreign policy areas, including relations with the United States, Russia's military role in Latin America, and the country's prickly relations with two ex-Soviet neighbors, Ukraine and Georgia. The premier said he expects relations with the United States to improve after Barack Obama takes office in January, and that Moscow has already noted "positive signals" from Obama's transition team on key disputes - Washington's missile defense plans for Europe and NATO's expansion. "As a rule, certain changes take place when power changes hands in any country, and this is particularly the case for the United States as a superpower. We hope these will be positive changes," he said. On the controversial U.S. plans to deploy a missile shield in Central Europe, Putin said: "We are already hearing that the need to deploy a missile defense system in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic needs to be reviewed." The Bush administration has claimed the planned 10 interceptor missiles and radar are necessary to counter possible strikes from "rogue" states like Iran. Russia has argued the bases would upset the strategic balance of forces in Europe and threaten national security. Putin said officials in the U.S. have indicated that Russia's interests will be given more consideration in building bilateral relations. "If these are not empty words, and if they are transformed into practical policy, our reaction will certainly be appropriate, and our American partners will immediately feel this," Putin said. He also welcomed NATO's decision on Tuesday to delay Ukraine and Georgia's admission to the Membership Action Plan (MAP), a key step for entry into the military alliance. NATO's eastward expansion since the break-up of the Soviet Union has been a major source of Russian concern.

Gas sales to the EU

Putin said Russia is committed to cooperation with the European Union, which has strengthened economic stability for both sides, and expressed hope that new EU members would stop "clinging to the past" and review their attitudes to Russia. "Our joint work will improve transparency, and enhance the reliability and stability of the Russian and European economies. We will continue to pursue this policy," he said. His remarks came after the 27-nation alliance resumed talks earlier this week on a comprehensive cooperation treaty with Russia, which was suspended over its August conflict with Georgia and despite objections from the ex-Soviet Baltic state Lithuania. Putin said the EU is Russia's largest trade partner, accounting for over 50% of trade, and highlighted their growing integration in the energy sector, pointing to European companies involved in oil and gas production in Russia, and European partners' cooperation in building new gas pipelines from Russia to Europe. Russia meets a considerable portion of Europe's energy needs, making many countries uneasy over their dependence on Kremlin-controlled supplies. Russia, in turn, has been hard hit by the global credit crunch and falling oil prices, and needs reliable consumers for its natural gas. However, Putin warned that Moscow could soon notify European natural gas consumers of cuts in supplies to Ukraine - which transits about 80% of Russia's Europe-bound gas - if the country fails to pay its gas debts on time. European countries have followed relations between the former Soviet neighbors, whose bitter gas pricing row in early 2006 led to a brief cut in supplies to Ukraine and supply shortfalls reported by some consumers in Europe. "If our partners do not fulfill agreements, we will have to reduce supplies. What else can we do?" Putin said. Russia's Gazprom last month put Ukraine's outstanding debt at $2.4 billion. Some of the funds have reportedly been repaid, but Gazprom has demanded full payment, and threatened supply cuts. However, Putin pledged efforts to improve ties with Ukraine, which he said must be fair and based on market principles, and reassured that the shift to European-level prices for gas would be gradual.

Frosty ties with Georgia

On Georgia, with which Russia fought a five-day war in August sparking fierce criticism from the West, Putin said Georgia's attack on South Ossetia ended any chance the Caucasus state had of bringing its breakaway republics back under central control. He said the offensive had forced Russia to abandon any possible support for Georgia's territorial reunification. Russia recognized South Ossetia and the other separatist republic Abkhazia as independent states two weeks after the armed conflict, prompting the EU to suspend cooperation talks and triggering calls in the U.S. for ousting Russia from the G8 club. "This was a crime committed not only against Russia and its citizens and the Ossetians, but also against the Georgians, against the country's statehood," Putin said.

Warships in Venezuela

Putin moved to allay international concerns over Russia's recent naval maneuvers in the Caribbean, saying the country sees no need to set up permanent military bases in Venezuela or Cuba, but added it could use their military infrastructure. Russian and Venezuelan warships concluded on Tuesday their joint drills widely seen as Moscow's response to the U.S.' aid to Georgia after the August conflict and its missile defense plans in Europe. Russia has denied any connection.


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Dear reader,

Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will henceforth be posted on an irregular basis. The comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis.

The last 20 years or so has also helped me see Russia as the last front against scourges of Westernization, Globalism, American expansionism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. This realization compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and the only voice preaching the strategic importance of Armenia remaining within Russia's orbit. From about 2010 to 2015 I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult as I had no assistance in this endeavor. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling inside me urged me to keep going; and I did.

When Armenia finally joined the EEU and integrated its armed forces into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago, I finally felt a deep sense of satisfaction and relaxation, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt that my personal mission was accomplished. I therefore felt I could take a step back, as I really needed the rest. Simply put: I have lived to see the institutionalization of Russian-Armenian alliance. Also, I feel more confident now that Armenians are collectively recognizing the strategic importance of Armenia's ties with Russia. Moreover, I feel satisfied knowing that, at least on a subatomic level, I had a hand in the outcome. As a result, I feel a strong sense of mission accomplished. I therefore no longer have the urge to continue as in the past. In other words, the motivational force that had propelled me in previous years has been gradually dissipating because I feel that this blog has lived to see the realization of its stated goal. Going forward, I do not want to write merely for the sake of writing. Also, I do not want to say something if I have nothing important to say. I feel like I have said everything I needed to say. Henceforth, I will post seasonal commentaries about topics I find important. I will however continue moderating the blog's comments section on a regular basis; ultimately because I'm interested in what my readers have to say and also because it's through readers here that I am at times made aware of interesting developments.

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