Saturday, October 3, 2015

Vladimir Putin's speech at UN on 28th September 2015


President of Russia Vladimir Putin:
Mr. President,

Mr. Secretary General,

Distinguished heads of state and government,

Ladies and gentlemen,

The 70th anniversary of the United Nations is a good occasion to both
take stock of history and talk about our common future. In 1945, the
countries that defeated Nazism joined their efforts to lay a solid
foundation for the postwar world order. Let me remind you that key
decisions on the principles defining interaction between states, as
well as the decision to establish the UN, were made in our country, at
the Yalta Conference of the leaders of the anti-Hitler coalition.

The Yalta system was truly born in travail. It was born at the cost of
tens of millions of lives and two world wars that swept through the
planet in the 20th century. Let's be fair: it helped humankind pass
through turbulent, and at times dramatic, events of the last seven
decades. It saved the world from large-scale upheavals.

The United Nations is unique in terms of legitimacy, representation
and universality. True, the UN has been criticized lately for being
inefficient or for the fact that decision-making on fundamental issues
stalls due to insurmountable differences, especially among Security
Council members.

However, I'd like to point out that there have always been differences
in the UN throughout the 70 years of its history, and that the veto
right has been regularly used by the United States, the United
Kingdom, France, China and the Soviet Union, and later Russia. It is
only natural for such a diverse and representative organization. When
the UN was first established, nobody expected that there would always
be unanimity. The mission of the organization is to seek and reach
compromises, and its strength comes from taking different views and
opinions into consideration. The decisions debated within the UN are
either taken in the form of resolutions or not. As diplomats say, they
either pass or they don't. Any action taken by circumventing this
procedure is illegitimate and constitutes a violation of the UN
Charter and contemporary international law.

We all know that after the end of the Cold War the world was left with
one center of dominance, and those who found themselves at the top of
the pyramid were tempted to think that, since they are so powerful and
exceptional, they know best what needs to be done and thus they don't
need to reckon with the UN, which, instead of rubber-stamping the
decisions they need, often stands in their way.

70th session of the UN General Assembly.
70th session of the UN General Assembly.
That's why they say that the UN has run its course and is now obsolete
and outdated. Of course, the world changes, and the UN should also
undergo natural transformation. Russia is ready to work together with
its partners to develop the UN further on the basis of a broad
consensus, but we consider any attempts to undermine the legitimacy of
the United Nations as extremely dangerous. They may result in the
collapse of the entire architecture of international relations, and
then indeed there will be no rules left except for the rule of force.
The world will be dominated by selfishness rather than collective
effort, by dictate rather than equality and liberty, and instead of
truly independent states we will have protectorates controlled from

What is the meaning of state sovereignty, the term which has been
mentioned by our colleagues here? It basically means freedom, every
person and every state being free to choose their future.

By the way, this brings us to the issue of the so-called legitimacy of
state authorities. You shouldn't play with words and manipulate them.
In international law, international affairs, every term has to be
clearly defined, transparent and interpreted the same way by one and

We are all different, and we should respect that. Nations shouldn't be
forced to all conform to the same development model that somebody has
declared the only appropriate one.

We should all remember the lessons of the past. For example, we
remember examples from our Soviet past, when the Soviet Union exported
social experiments, pushing for changes in other countries for
ideological reasons, and this often led to tragic consequences and
caused degradation instead of progress.

It seems, however, that instead of learning from other people's
mistakes, some prefer to repeat them and continue to export
revolutions, only now these are "democratic" revolutions. Just look at
the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa already mentioned
by the previous speaker. Of course, political and social problems have
been piling up for a long time in this region, and people there wanted
change. But what was the actual outcome? Instead of bringing about
reforms, aggressive intervention rashly destroyed government
institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and
progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total
disregard for human rights, including even the right to life.

I'm urged to ask those who created this situation: do you at least
realize now what you've done? But I'm afraid that this question will
remain unanswered, because they have never abandoned their policy,
which is based on arrogance, exceptionalism and impunity.

Power vacuum in some countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa
obviously resulted in the emergence of areas of anarchy, which were
quickly filled with extremists and terrorists. The so-called Islamic
State has tens of thousands of militants fighting for it, including
former Iraqi soldiers who were left on the street after the 2003
invasion. Many recruits come from Libya whose statehood was destroyed
as a result of a gross violation of UN Security Council Resolution
1973. And now radical groups are joined by members of the so-called
"moderate" Syrian opposition backed by the West. They get weapons and
training, and then they defect and join the so-called Islamic State.

In fact, the Islamic State itself did not come out of nowhere. It was
initially developed as a weapon against undesirable secular regimes.
Having established control over parts of Syria and Iraq, Islamic State
now aggressively expands into other regions. It seeks dominance in the
Muslim world and beyond. Their plans go further.

70th session of the UN General Assembly.
70th session of the UN General Assembly.
The situation is extremely dangerous. In these circumstances, it is
hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat
of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels
used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug
trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade.

It is equally irresponsible to manipulate extremist groups and use
them to achieve your political goals, hoping that later you'll find a
way to get rid of them or somehow eliminate them.

I'd like to tell those who engage in this: Gentlemen, the people you
are dealing with are cruel but they are not dumb. They are as smart as
you are. So, it's a big question: who's playing who here? The recent
incident where the most "moderate" opposition group handed over their
weapons to terrorists is a vivid example of that.

We consider that any attempts to flirt with terrorists, let alone arm
them, are short-sighted and extremely dangerous. This may make the
global terrorist threat much worse, spreading it to new regions around
the globe, especially since there are fighters from many different
countries, including European ones, gaining combat experience with
Islamic State. Unfortunately, Russia is no exception.

Now that those thugs have tasted blood, we can't allow them to return
home and continue with their criminal activities. Nobody wants that,

Russia has consistently opposed terrorism in all its forms. Today, we
provide military-technical assistance to Iraq, Syria and other
regional countries fighting terrorist groups. We think it's a big
mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian authorities and
government forces who valiantly fight terrorists on the ground.

We should finally admit that President Assad's government forces and
the Kurdish militia are the only forces really fighting terrorists in
Syria. Yes, we are aware of all the problems and conflicts in the
region, but we definitely have to consider the actual situation on the

Dear colleagues, I must note that such an honest and frank approach on
Russia's part has been recently used as a pretext for accusing it of
its growing ambitions — as if those who say that have no ambitions at
all. However, it is not about Russia's ambitions, dear colleagues, but
about the recognition of the fact that we can no longer tolerate the
current state of affairs in the world.

What we actually propose is to be guided by common values and common
interests rather than by ambitions. Relying on international law, we
must join efforts to address the problems that all of us are facing,
and create a genuinely broad international coalition against
terrorism. Similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a
broad range of parties willing to stand firm against those who, just
like the Nazis, sow evil and hatred of humankind. And of course,
Muslim nations should play a key role in such a coalition, since
Islamic State not only poses a direct threat to them, but also
tarnishes one of the greatest world religions with its atrocities. The
ideologues of these extremists make a mockery of Islam and subvert its
true humanist values.

I would also like to address Muslim spiritual leaders: Your authority
and your guidance are of great importance right now. It is essential
to prevent people targeted for recruitment by extremists from making
hasty decisions, and those who have already been deceived and, due to
various circumstances, found themselves among terrorists, must be
assisted in finding a way back to normal life, laying down arms and
putting an end to fratricide.

70th session of the UN General Assembly.
70th session of the UN General Assembly.
In the days to come, Russia, as the current President of the UN
Security Council, will convene a ministerial meeting to carry out a
comprehensive analysis of the threats in the Middle East. First of
all, we propose exploring opportunities for adopting a resolution that
would serve to coordinate the efforts of all parties that oppose
Islamic State and other terrorist groups. Once again, such
coordination should be based upon the principles of the UN Charter.

We hope that the international community will be able to develop a
comprehensive strategy of political stabilization, as well as social
and economic recovery in the Middle East. Then, dear friends, there
would be no need for setting up more refugee camps. Today, the flow of
people forced to leave their native land has literally engulfed,
first, the neighbouring countries, and then Europe. There are hundreds
of thousands of them now, and before long, there might be millions. It
is, essentially, a new, tragic Migration Period, and a harsh lesson
for all of us, including Europe.

I would like to stress that refugees undoubtedly need our compassion
and support. However, the only way to solve this problem for good is
to restore statehood where it has been destroyed, to strengthen
government institutions where they still exist, or are being
re-established, to provide comprehensive military, economic and
material assistance to countries in a difficult situation, and
certainly to people who, despite all their ordeals, did not abandon
their homes. Of course, any assistance to sovereign nations can, and
should, be offered rather than imposed, in strict compliance with the
UN Charter. In other words, our Organisation should support any
measures that have been, or will be, taken in this regard in
accordance with international law, and reject any actions that are in
breach of the UN Charter. Above all, I believe it is of utmost
importance to help restore government institutions in Libya, support
the new government of Iraq, and provide comprehensive assistance to
the legitimate government of Syria.

Dear colleagues, ensuring peace and global and regional stability
remains a key task for the international community guided by the
United Nations. We believe this means creating an equal and
indivisible security environment that would not serve a privileged
few, but everyone. Indeed, it is a challenging, complicated and
time-consuming task, but there is simply no alternative.

Sadly, some of our counterparts are still dominated by their Cold
War-era bloc mentality and the ambition to conquer new geopolitical
areas. First, they continued their policy of expanding NATO – one
should wonder why, considering that the Warsaw Pact had ceased to
exist and the Soviet Union had disintegrated.

Nevertheless, NATO has kept on expanding, together with its military
infrastructure. Next, the post-Soviet states were forced to face a
false choice between joining the West and carrying on with the East.
Sooner or later, this logic of confrontation was bound to spark off a
major geopolitical crisis. And that is exactly what happened in
Ukraine, where the people's widespread frustration with the government
was used for instigating a coup d'├ętat from abroad. This has triggered
a civil war. We are convinced that the only way out of this dead end
lies through comprehensive and diligent implementation of the Minsk
agreements of February 12th, 2015. Ukraine's territorial integrity
cannot be secured through the use of threats or military force, but it
must be secured. The people of Donbas should have their rights and
interests genuinely considered, and their choice respected; they
should be engaged in devising the key elements of the country's
political system, in line with the provisions of the Minsk agreements.
Such steps would guarantee that Ukraine will develop as a civilized
state, and a vital link in creating a common space of security and
economic cooperation, both in Europe and in Eurasia.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have deliberately mentioned a common space for
economic cooperation. Until quite recently, it seemed that we would
learn to do without dividing lines in the area of the economy with its
objective market laws, and act based on transparent and jointly
formulated rules, including the WTO principles, which embrace free
trade and investment and fair competition. However, unilaterally
imposed sanctions circumventing the UN Charter have all but become
commonplace today. They not only serve political objectives, but are
also used for eliminating market competition.

70th session of the UN General Assembly
70th session of the UN General Assembly
I would like to note one more sign of rising economic selfishness. A
number of nations have chosen to create exclusive economic
associations, with their establishment being negotiated behind closed
doors, secretly from those very nations' own public and business
communities, as well as from the rest of the world. Other states,
whose interests may be affected, have not been informed of anything,
either. It seems that someone would like to impose upon us some new
game rules, deliberately tailored to accommodate the interests of a
privileged few, with the WTO having no say in it. This is fraught with
utterly unbalancing global trade and splitting up the global economic

These issues affect the interests of all nations and influence the
future of the entire global economy. That is why we propose discussing
those issues within the framework of the United Nations, the WTO and
the G20. Contrary to the policy of exclusion, Russia advocates
harmonizing regional economic projects. I am referring to the
so-called "integration of integrations" based on the universal and
transparent rules of international trade. As an example, I would like
to cite our plans to interconnect the Eurasian Economic Union with
China's initiative for creating a Silk Road economic belt. We continue
to see great promise in harmonizing the integration vehicles between
the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union.

Ladies and gentlemen, one more issue that shall affect the future of
the entire humankind is climate change. It is in our interest to
ensure that the coming UN Climate Change Conference that will take
place in Paris in December this year should deliver some feasible
results. As part of our national contribution, we plan to limit
greenhouse gas emissions to 70–75 percent of the 1990 levels by the
year 2030.

However, I suggest that we take a broader look at the issue.
Admittedly, we may be able to defuse it for a while by introducing
emission quotas and using other tactical measures, but we certainly
will not solve it for good that way. What we need is an essentially
different approach, one that would involve introducing new,
groundbreaking, nature-like technologies that would not damage the
environment, but rather work in harmony with it, enabling us to
restore the balance between the biosphere and technology upset by
human activities.

It is indeed a challenge of global proportions. And I am confident
that humanity does have the necessary intellectual capacity to respond
to it. We need to join our efforts, primarily engaging countries that
possess strong research and development capabilities, and have made
significant advances in fundamental research. We propose convening a
special forum under the auspices of the UN to comprehensively address
issues related to the depletion of natural resources, habitat
destruction, and climate change. Russia is willing to co-sponsor such
a forum.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues. On January 10th, 1946, the UN
General Assembly convened for its first meeting in London. Chairman of
the Preparatory Commission Dr. Zuleta Angel, a Colombian diplomat,
opened the session by offering what I see as a very concise definition
of the principles that the United Nations should be based upon, which
are good will, disdain for scheming and trickery, and a spirit of
cooperation. Today, his words sound like guidance for all of us.

Russia is confident of the United Nations' enormous potential, which
should help us avoid a new confrontation and embrace a strategy of
cooperation. Hand in hand with other nations, we will consistently
work to strengthen the UN's central, coordinating role. I am convinced
that by working together, we will make the world stable and safe, and
provide an enabling environment for the development of all nations and

Thank you.

Update: Also check out this  video:
Russian President Vladimir Putin answering questions regarding ISIS from a US journalist at the Valdai International Discussion Club in late 2014. Very clear, unescapable points made

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