Our response to the unfriendly actions of the United States will be instant and mirror - this is the main message of Putin's speech at the meeting of the Valdai Club in Sochi. At the same time, the president was not at all aggressive or pessimistic about the future of Russian-American relations. Moreover, he defended Trump against the attacks and ridicule of experts. Why?
Putin, of course, spoke not only, and not so much about the US, but also about world security in general, and separately about the main current topics - the Catalan and Korean crises, Syria and Saudi Arabia, China and Ukraine.
The most memorable passage is "You should have thought before", addressed to the Spanish and European authorities about Catalonia. Of course, Putin himself did not support the separation, and did not condemn. Putin emphasized that the West itself created a situation of double standards: supporting Kosovo, but condemning the Crimea. But in fact, both there and there the separation took place without the consent of the country, from which her province left. Putin even recalled the conclusion of the UN International Court of Justice on Kosovo's independence, which, in fact, recognized the possibility of unilateral separation. So it turns out that, while condemning the Catalan aspiration for independence, the West puts it on the same level as the Crimea - as if forgetting its own position on Kosovo.
The issue of US intervention in other people's affairs erupted in the most unexpected, at first glance, topics - not only about Ukraine, but, for example, Saudi Arabia. Answering the question about whether Russia fears that the current rapprochement with the kingdom and the Persian Gulf countries as a whole will be short-lived, since they have long been close allies to the US, the president said that we have nothing to fear - but the Saudis should be afraid, like America would not come to them with democratization. It was said as if in a jocular tone, although the very idea is absolutely serious.
But the main topic, of course, was Russian-American relations. Putin has repeatedly accused the US of double standards and neglect of Russian interests.
The main mistake of the US in relations with post-Soviet Russia, he called the fact that they took our confidence in them (excessive - what he considers to be our main mistake) for weakness.
But this is all the business of the past days - and now the US demonstrates completely contrived claims to Russia because of the invented "Russian interference" in their election. And besides, they do not respect Russia, as in the history with the flags on the buildings of our representations:
"I can hardly imagine that Soviet flags would be torn from Soviet diplomatic institutions during Soviet times. And you did it. "
On Thursday, Putin repeatedly spoke about the fact that Russia will mirror the response to unfriendly actions. Moreover, he stressed that it would be a fast, fast reaction - whether it was a question of a possible US withdrawal from the INF Treaty:
"If someone has a desire to withdraw from the treaty in general, from the American partners, from our side the answer will be instantaneous. I want to say this - instant. And mirrored. "
Or about restrictions on the work of our media in the West:
"In this case, we will act only in a mirror and quickly enough. As soon as we see concrete steps that limit the activities of our media, a mirror response will follow immediately. "
Such an emphasis on quick reaction could be attributed to the fact that last year Russia did not consciously respond to the expulsion of our diplomats from the United States. In December, already with the elected but not yet taken office of Trump, Putin decided to postpone the response. To enable the new president to rectify the situation - but, as you know, Trump, who is under fire due to the mythical "Russian interference," could not do this. And when Russia took retaliatory measures this summer, it aroused indignation in Washington: how, then, for what?
But the fact that now Putin says that we will respond immediately does not mean that he indirectly recognizes the incorrectness of his own December actions. Putin did not change his attitude towards Trump - and this was more than noticeable at the meeting of the Valdai Club.
Trump's name did not sound very often. But it was evident that the opinion of Russian and Western experts does not coincide with Putin's position. Simply put, experts in their questions hinted at what a bad and weak Trump against the backdrop of such a strong and good Putin - with which the president categorically disagreed.
The Russian expert asks Putin if he does not think that Hillary Clinton "would have had a more understandable interaction" than with "unpredictable" Trump - and the president retorts that when it seems it is necessary to be baptized, explaining that "it is only it seems, but as it really is, we also do not know. True?".
Then the American says that she did not vote for Trump, and another Western expert tries to play against Putin and Trump - you are such a bastard, and Trump is inept, what advice would you give Trump so that he would become like you? And Putin calls the matter tactless, reminding that Trump elected the American people and should show respect both to the president himself and to the Americans:
"Trump does not need any advice: in order to be elected, even without the experience of administrative work, you need to have a certain talent to go through the crucible of the election, and he did it. He won honestly. "
In fact, it's not surprising that Putin does not say anything bad about Trump. Even protects him from not very clever or simply hostile experts.
Because Trump's position towards Russia has not really changed. He, like a year ago, is determined to "get along with Putin." And the fact that he is not allowed to do this is his misfortune (because correcting relations with Russia is an important way for Trump to implement his plans for reforming American power and strengthening the US), and not guilt. And the Kremlin understands this very well. On Thursday Putin openly said that Trump is simply not allowed to do what he wants:
"Now we are working with the president whom the American people chose. And its unpredictability is connected not only with it, it is also connected with the fact that there is very much resistance inside the country, because he is practically not allowed to realize any of his election platforms and plans. Here's how to make decisions on migrants, the court immediately blocks. And it always happens. Therefore, it is impossible to say that unpredictability depends only on it, it depends on the entire American political system. "
One can argue with Trump, Putin said (referring to the situation in the United States), but one should not show disrespect, such an attitude towards the US president is "a regrettable negative component of the American system."
Putin assured that "we will work, no matter what, no difficulties, if they, of course, want it themselves." And he added: "we do not want to, we will not."
The last remark did not concern Trump personally, but the US as such. And in a relationship with Donald Trump, the next step will soon be taken: in three weeks, Putin will meet with him in Vietnam's Danang at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. At the second meeting, the two presidents will have something to discuss. Although the main thing that excites both concerns the fact, when finally Donald Trump will be able to fully implement his presidential duties.