Putin’s Tour: A Geography of Contructive Contact

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August 13th, 2015

PolitRussia – translated by Soviet Bear& Joaquin Flores

One
of the goals of introduction of anti-Russian sanctions by Western countries was
the desire to isolate Russia and to present our country in the international
arena as some sort of “spoiled child”, which adults from the US and
the European Union are constantly trying to tame, and even trying put him in
the corner for misdemeanors. 

Needless to say that Russia’s hosting of such
major events as summits of the SCO and BRICS, constant visits of foreign
delegations and heads of other countries in Moscow, major economic and sports
forums crush the policy of isolation of Russia into dust. Now the West is maniacally
introducing a new package of sanctions and forming a brand new “black
list”, this not only shows their powerlessness to isolate Russia, but also
forces the West itself into a dead end of sanction labyrinth. And the best
proof of this are visits of President Vladimir Putin to a number of countries,
as well as political and economic results of these visits, now we shall talk more
about geography of these visits. 

This
year began with a landmark in the Russian-Egyptian relations – the visit of
Vladimir Putin in Cairo on 9th and 10th of February. The visit was official and
therefore quite magnificently arranged by the Egyptian side. So, President of Egypt
al-Sisi himself arrived to meet Putin at the airport, which is a sign of utmost
respect and trust. Relations with Egypt, which for many years, since the days
of Anwar Sadat, was a major U.S. ally in the Middle East, are extremely
important for Russia. 

In
Egypt Russia has joint energy projects, in particular the modernization of the
Aswan dam, an iron and steel production complex in Helwan and Nag Hammadi,
cooperation in the field of agriculture and combating terrorism. The trade
between Russia and Egypt in 2014 is amounted to about 4.5 billion dollars,
having increased in comparison with the previous year by 50%, and has a good
growth trend.

Also Vladimir Putin met with Patriarch of
Alexandria and all Africa Theodoros II, this is particularly important on the
background of significantly deteriorating environment in which the Christian minority in the Arab world lives, subjected in many
countries of the region to harassment and threats from Islamic extremists.

And the very next day Vladimir Putin began his
working visit to the capital of Belarus – Minsk, which lasted from 11 to 12
February in the format of which representatives of the “Norman
Quartet”, with the participation and the mediation of the President of
Belarus Alexander Lukashenko agreed on ceasefire in the Donbass region and the
launch of the peaceful political process in the South-East of Ukraine. 

Putin was, as they say, the main
“headliner” of the event, which, in fact, President of France
Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived exclusively to
meet Putin there. The success or failure of the Minsk-2 is still disputed, but
we sure can’t deny the key role of Vladimir Putin is the only person able to
move the peace process in the Donbass at least to some extent.

Another couple days pass and on February 17,
Vladimir Putin goes to Europe, to Hungary by the invitation of the Hungarian
government and Prime Minister Viktor Orban in particular, there was a productive
dialogue on economic issues. Despite enormous pressure from Brussels, they
advanced on an issue with the construction of “Paks” NPP and Russian loans to
Hungary for this construction’s needs.

A series of visits to the neighboring
countries follows thereafter – 19-20 March, Vladimir Putin visited Astana,
where he spoke with his colleagues in the Eurasian economic Union – Alexander
Lukashenko and Nursultan Nazarbayev, moreover, in addition to economic issues
and, in particular, the subject of accession of Kyrgyzstan into to the EEU, the
Ukrainian issue was also discussed there. The EEU as the core of the Eurasian
integration has demonstrated the potential for peacekeeping efforts in the
political stabilization of the post-Soviet space. 

Visit of Vladimir Putin to the EEU countries
continued till April 24, when the head of the State visited Armenia in honor of
the mourning events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide
in the Ottoman Empire. And once again, isolation failed – Putin and Hollande
held talks in Yerevan.

The next significant visit of the Russian
leader took place in Italy, where Vladimir Putin arrived on 10th June. This
visit was important because it became clear that a number of European countries
and Italy desperately refuse to participate in the Washington’s anti-Russian
hysteria. 

It was felt primarily by the tone of the comments
of the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, as well as at the stated agenda of
the continuation of economic cooperation, notably in such sectors as
engineering and manufacture of equipment for our deep-water offshore projects. 

However, in addition to the economic agenda, President
Putin met with Pope Francis. Although the area of Vatican is only 44 hectares (110 acres) and the army of this dwarf state
is a couple of dozen Swiss guards – the influence of the papal throne on old
European elites cannot be overstated. Quite a friendly atmosphere, in which a
meeting was held with the Roman Pontiff, and the absence of sharp anti-Russian
statements and expressions of support for the Greek Catholic minority in
Galicia, which is the foundation and fertile ground for the growth of Ukrainian
nationalism and radicalism, testifies to a sober understanding of the risk of
escalation of civil conflict in Ukraine by the Holy Throne. And much credit for
this rational approach belongs to Vladimir Putin, who was able to establish a
constructive dialogue with the Vatican.

Putin’s visit to Azerbaijan completes his
first half of year series of visits, held on 12-13 June and coincided with the
opening of the First European games. In addition to the meeting with
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Russian President also spoke with the
leader of Turkey – Erdogan that has been extremely important in the context of
problems associated with the implementation of the “Turkish stream”. 

Also noteworthy is the fact that simultaneous
visits to Armenia and Azerbaijan with very productive results demonstrate the
continuing role of Russia as a stabilizer and peacekeeper in the South
Caucasus, and all sides of frozen Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict recognize this.

The above list of visits is only the tip of
the iceberg of giant foreign policy activity of our country. There are constant
consultations and telephone negotiations of Vladimir Putin with his foreign
colleagues, delegations of foreign ministries of other countries also visit
Moscow. There is an active preparation to the landmark visit of Vladimir Putin
to China, dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Japan and the end
of the Second World War. 

The outcome is – preliminary results of the
foreign policy efforts of Russia allow to speak about the real diversity of
Russian politics and a successful re-orientation to new partners in Asia, Latin
America, and the bet on the European elites which disagree with the policies of
the US diktat.

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