Transcript, Vladimir Putin speech at the Valdai, October 27, 2016 — Part 1

Vladimir Putin’s annual address, October 27, 2016 — Part 1
At Valdai Discussion Club: “The Future in Progress: Shaping the World of Tomorrow”, October 24-27, 2016
Sochi, Russian Federation.
RT
Translated by Inessa Sinchougova

Transcript, Part 1:

Moderator Timothy Colton, Professor of Russian Studies, Harvard University: 

So, good afternoon, ladies and gentleman. My name is Timothy Colton. I know quite a few of the people in the room. And I’m very happy to have been asked to moderate this final session of our 2016 Valdai, as you call it.

I’d like to start with a special welcome to our lead-off speaker and main speaker this afternoon [subtitled translation by Inessa S.:] Russian President Vladimir Putin. He found the time to be here today – we all know how busy he is!

We appreciate as always your ability to answer questions at the end as well. When you retire, Mr. President, and go to write your memoirs, try to analysis just how much time you spent in your career answering people’s questions [Q&A]. I think you will be astonished!. We are really appreciative of this. Thank you for being here today.

President Vladimir Putin

Thank you. Dear Tarja, Heinz, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure to see you again.

I would like to start by thanking all Russia’s and international participants at the Valdai Discussion Club gor your constructive roles in this work, and I want to thank our distinguished guests for their willingness to take part in this open discussion.

Our esteemed moderator just wished me a sound departure into retirement, and I wish that for myself too – when the time comes. This is the right approach and will be the right thing to do.

But I am not yet retired! I am for now the leader of this big country. As such, it is fitting to show restraint and avoid displays of aggressive reactions. I don’t think that this is my style in any case.

But I do think we should be frank with each other, particularly here in this forum. I think we should hold candid, open discussions, otherwise, our dialogue is pointless, stale, and will not hold anyone’s interest for too long.

I think that this style of discussion is exceptionally needed today given the great changes taking place in the world. The theme of our meeting this year “The Future in Progress: Shaping the World of Tomorrow” is very topical.

Last year, the Valdai forum participants discussed the problems with the current world order. Unfortunately, little has changed for the better over these last months. Indeed, it would be more honest to say that nothing has changed for the better.

The tensions created by shifts in distribution of economic and political influence continue to increase. Mutual distrust creates a burden that narrows our possibilities for finding effective responses to the real threats and challenges facing the world today.

Essentially, the entire globalization project is in crisis today, and in Europe, as we know well and hear of all the time, that multiculturalism has failed.

I think this situation is in many respects the result of mistaken, hasty and to some extent over-confident choices made by some countries’ elites a quarter of a century ago. Back then, in the late 1980s – early 1990s, there was a chance not just to accelerate the globalization process, but also to give it a different quality and make it more harmonious and sustainable in nature.

But some countries that saw themselves as victors in the Cold War — not just saw themselves this way, but said it openly — they proceeded to simply reshape the global political and economic order to fit their own interests.

In their euphoria, they essentially abandoned substantive and equal dialogue with other members of the international community, and chose not to improve or create universal institutions, attempting to bring the entire world instead under the spread of their organizations, norms, and rules.

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The real reasons why FBI Director James Comey reopened the Hillary email investigation

Global Research, October 30, 2016

This last Friday it became public record that FBI Director James Comey reopened the Hillary Clinton email server investigation after repeatedly testifying before Congress and the world up to last July that he’d closed the case, after in his words not finding sufficient evidence of “any criminal wrongdoing” to indict her in spite of her four years as Secretary of State egregiously breaching our national security:’ 

-committing obstruction of justice and willful tampering with evidence, 

deleting 30,000 emails after receiving a court subpoena constituting destruction of evidence,

-not to mention repeatedly engaging in perjury before Congress and the FBI.

But obviously a federal investigation still in process in late June never stopped Bill Clinton’s illegal ambush at the Phoenix airport of Comey’s boss US Attorney General Loretta Lynch (image right) “clearing” the way for Hillary to proceed without consequence to be anointed as the next US figurehead puppet president by the ruling elite.

Because it’s so blatantly obvious to the entire world that Hillary is guilty as sin, Comey’s whitewash didn’t go over well with either Americans or longtime FBI agents who reacted angrily to Comey’s over-the-top corruption. Subsequently in recent months Comey has had a virtual mutiny on his hands as in the FBI boss has lost all credibility, respect and moral authority. 

Former federal attorney for the District of Columbia Joe diGenova spelled it all out in a WMAL radio interview last Friday just hours after the news was released that Comey had sent a letter informing Congress that the case is being reopened. DiGenova said that with an open revolt brewing inside the FBI, Comey was forced to go public on Friday with reopening the investigation. The former DC attorney added that the FBI investigators discovered more emails on a phone confiscated from the former New York Congressman and separated husband Anthony Weiner that also included his wife and longtime Hillary’s right-hand woman Huma Abedin’s communications that allegedly bear pertinent relevance to the Hillary case. Funny how things have a karmic way of coming full circle – the Clintons first introduced Weiner and Abedin 15 years ago and they married a half dozen years ago.

In a separate FBI investigation involving Weiner’s alleged sexting messages with a 15-year old minor, the phone in question was handed over to the FBI. The investigating teams of both the Weiner and Hillary cases compared notes and apparently additional emails not already issued by WikiLeaks or already in FBI possession recently came to light on Weiner’s phone. The legions of rank and file FBI agents were already fuming over Comey’s complete ethical and legal lapses in his choice not to indict Hillary. Joe diGenova believes that FBI personnel forced Comey’s hand to reopen the investigation after giving him the ultimatum that if he failed to do so, the FBI defiantly would. According to diGenova, this latest plot twist only proves that: 

The original investigation was not thorough, and that it was an incompetent investigation.

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Ukraine moves massive force up to Lugansk frontline

October 28, 2016 – Fort Russ News –
Novorossiya reports – translated by J. Arnoldski –
The UAF command is continuing to redeploy heavy equipment and militants to the frontline. 
 
Lugansk People’s Republic intelligence has reported the concentration of shock troops of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the frontline in the Stanitsa-Lugansk district. This was reported to a correspondent of Novorossiya Information Agency today at a briefing in Lugansk by the LPR People’s Militia’s official spokesperson, Major Andrey Marochko.
Marochko reported: “A strike force of the UAF has been concentrated in the residential area of Krasny Oktyabr composed of the 15th motorized infantry brigade which accounts for around 3,500 soldiers and more than 200 armored vehicles.”
“It has also been established that in the zone of responsibility of the UAF’s 93rd brigade in the Orekhovo district, an unidentified unit of the Ukrainian National Guard has arrived whose composition includes a tactical company armed with two 2B9 Vasilek mortars of 82 mm calibre and AGS-17 automatic grenade launchers,” Marochko added.
Later, Marochko added that “according to intelligence data obtained from agent sources, in the residential area of Nizhny Minchenko of the Stanitsa-Lugansk district, an APC has arrived accompanied by a missile launcher, presumably a BUK anti-aircraft missile complex.”
“In addition, in the residential area of Nizhneteploe, the ‘Night Shades’ nationalist volunteer battalion has arrived. The troops of this unit are positioning themselves as a separate reconnaissance battalion. The distinctive sign on the uniform of these fighters is a bat. According to our data, they could be reorganized as part of the Volyn-2 Ukrainian territorial defense battalion,” the LPR’s defense ministry’s spokesperson added. 

Ceasefire breach: Intense firefights rage around Donetsk (VIDEO)

October 29, 2016 – Fort Russ News –
RusVesna – translated by J. Arnoldski –
In the northern suburbs of Donetsk, the airport district, the Yasinovataya checkpoint, and Spartak village, powerful firefights have broken out. 
The UAF is firing at the positions of the DPR’s armed forces.
Starting at 20:00 on October 28th, nearly the whole city heard sounds of heavy artillery fire, mortar fire, and armored vehicles. 
In the Marinka and Trudovsky districts, since 22:00 mortars, grenade launchers, and heavy machine guns have thundered. 
The Yasinovataya blockpost of the DPR and surrounding residential areas have also been under heavy artillery fire since 22:00 from UAF positions in Avdeevka.
At 23:50, fighting in the direction of Avdeevka and the Yasinovataya block post was ongoing and heavy artillery fire was intense.
Firefights are also underway in the Elenovka (south of Donetsk) and Staromikhailovka (west) districts.  

Vladimir Putin speaks at the Valdai Club, 2016 — Part 1 (VIDEO)

15:54
October 27, 2016 — Part 1
Valdai Discussion Club
“The Future in Progress: Shaping the World of Tomorrow”, October 24-27, 2016
RT
Translated by Inessa Sinchougova

Vladimir Putin’s annual address at the Valdai Discussion Club, held in Sochi, Russian Federation.

Transcript, Part 1:

Moderator Timothy Colton, Professor of Russian Studies, Harvard University: 

So, good afternoon, ladies and gentleman. My name is Timothy Colton. I know quite a few of the people in the room. And I’m very happy to have been asked to moderate this final session of our 2016 Valdai, as you call it.

I’d like to start with a special welcome to our lead-off speaker and main speaker this afternoon [subtitled translation by Inessa S.:] Russian President Vladimir Putin. He found the time to be here today – we all know how busy he is!

We appreciate as always your ability to answer questions at the end as well. When you retire, Mr. President, and go to write your memoirs, try to analysis just how much time you spent in your career answering people’s questions [Q&A]. I think you will be astonished!. We are really appreciative of this. Thank you for being here today.

President Vladimir Putin

Thank you. Dear Tarja, Heinz, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure to see you again.

I would like to start by thanking all Russia’s and international participants at the Valdai Discussion Club gor your constructive roles in this work, and I want to thank our distinguished guests for their willingness to take part in this open discussion.

Our esteemed moderator just wished me a sound departure into retirement, and I wish that for myself too – when the time comes. This is the right approach and will be the right thing to do.

But I am not yet retired! I am for now the leader of this big country. As such, it is fitting to show restraint and avoid displays of aggressive reactions. I don’t think that this is my style in any case.

But I do think we should be frank with each other, particularly here in this forum. I think we should hold candid, open discussions, otherwise, our dialogue is pointless, stale, and will not hold anyone’s interest for too long.

I think that this style of discussion is exceptionally needed today given the great changes taking place in the world. The theme of our meeting this year “The Future in Progress: Shaping the World of Tomorrow” is very topical.

Last year, the Valdai forum participants discussed the problems with the current world order. Unfortunately, little has changed for the better over these last months. Indeed, it would be more honest to say that nothing has changed for the better.

The tensions created by shifts in distribution of economic and political influence continue to increase. Mutual distrust creates a burden that narrows our possibilities for finding effective responses to the real threats and challenges facing the world today.

Essentially, the entire globalization project is in crisis today, and in Europe, as we know well and hear of all the time, that multiculturalism has failed.

I think this situation is in many respects the result of mistaken, hasty and to some extent over-confident choices made by some countries’ elites a quarter of a century ago. Back then, in the late 1980s – early 1990s, there was a chance not just to accelerate the globalization process, but also to give it a different quality and make it more harmonious and sustainable in nature.

But some countries that saw themselves as victors in the Cold War — not just saw themselves this way, but said it openly — they proceeded to simply reshape the global political and economic order to fit their own interests.

In their euphoria, they essentially abandoned substantive and equal dialogue with other members of the international community, and chose not to improve or create universal institutions, attempting to bring the entire world instead under the spread of their organizations, norms, and rules.

They chose the road of globalization and security for their own beloved selves, for the select few, but not for all. However, far from everyone was willing to abide.

We may as well be frank here, as we know full well that many did not agree with what was happening, but some were unable by then to respond, and others were not yet ready to respond.

The result though is that the system of international relations is forever feverish, and the global economy cannot free itself from systemic crisis.

At the same time, rules and principles, in the economy and in politics, are constantly being distorted. We see what only yesterday was accepted as a truth and raised to dogma status, manipulated to mean the exact opposite. If the powers that be today find some standard or norm to their advantage, they force everyone else to comply. But if tomorrow these same standards get in the way of their agenda, they are swift to throw them in the bin, declare them obsolete, and set new rules. Or attempt to do so.

Thus, we witnessed the decision to launch airstrikes in the center of Europe, in Belgrade, and then came Iraq, and then Libya. The operations in Afghanistan also started without a corresponding decision from the United Nations Security Council.

In their desire to shift the strategic balance in their favor, these countries broke apart the international legal framework that prohibited deployment of new missile defense systems. They created and armed terrorist groups, whose cruelty has sent millions of civilians into refuge, created millions of displaced persons and immigrants, and plunged entire regions into utter chaos.

We see the way free trade is being sacrificed and countries use sanctions as a means of political pressure, bypassing the WTO and attempting to establish closed economic alliances with strict rules and barriers, in which the main beneficiaries are their own multinational corporations.

And we know why this is happening, too. They see that they cannot resolve all of the problems within the WTO framework, and so why not throw the rules and the organisation itself aside and build a new one instead. This illustrates what I just said before.

At the same time, some of our partners demonstrate no desire to resolve the real international problems in the world today. In organizations such as NATO, for example, established during the Cold War and clearly out of date today, despite all the talk about the need to adapt to the new reality, no real adaptation takes place.

We see constant attempts to turn the OSCE, a crucial mechanism for ensuring common European and also trans-Atlantic security, into an instrument that services someone’s foreign policy interests. The result is that this very important organization has been hollowed out.

But they continue to churn out threats, imaginary and mythical threats such as the Russian military threat. This is a profitable business that can be used to pump new money into defense budgets at home, get allies to bend to a single superpower’s interests, expand NATO and bring its infrastructure, military units ,and arms closer to our borders. Of course, it can be a pleasing and even profitable task to portray oneself as the defender of civilization against the ‘new barbarians’.

The only thing is that Russia has no intention of attacking anyone. It’s hilarious, really.

I also read analytical materials, those written by you here today and by your colleagues in the USA and Europe. It is unthinkable, silly, and completely unrealistic. Europe alone has 300 million people. All of the NATO members together with the USA have a total population of 600 million, probably. Russia today has only 146 million people. It is simply absurd to even conceive such thoughts. But no – they use these irrational ideas in pursuit of their political aims.

Another mythical and imaginary problem is what I can only call the hysteria the USA has whipped up over supposed Russian meddling in the American presidential election. The United States has plenty of genuinely urgent problems, it would seem, from the colossal public debt, to the increase in firearms violence, to the cases of arbitrary action by the police. You would think that the election debates would concentrate on these and other unresolved problems, but the elite has nothing with which to reassure society, it seems, so they attempt to distract public attention by pointing instead to supposed Russian hackers, spies, agents of influence, and so forth.

I have to ask myself, and ask you, too: Does anyone seriously imagine that Russia can somehow influence the American people’s choice? America is not some sort of banana republic, after all, but is a great power. But do tell me if I am wrong!

The question is: if things continue like this, what awaits the world? What kind of world will we have tomorrow? Do we have answers to the questions of how to ensure stability, security and sustainable economic growth? Do we know how to create a more prosperous world?

Sad as it is to say, there is no consensus on these issues in the world today. Maybe you have come to some common conclusions through your discussions, and I would be interested, of course, to hear them. But it is very clear that there is a lack of strategy and ideas for the future. This creates a climate of uncertainty that has a direct impact on the public mood.

It is unfortunate that studies conducted around the world show that people in different countries and on different continents tend to see the future as murky and bleak. The future is not calling us forward – we are afraid of it. At the same time, people see no real opportunities for changing anything, influencing events and shaping policy. Yes, formally speaking, modern countries have all the attributes of democracy: elections, freedom of speech, access to information, freedom of expression. But even in the most advanced democracies, the majority of citizens have no real influence on the political process and no direct and real influence on power.

People sense an ever-growing gap between their interests and the elites’ vision of the only correct course, the course the elite itself chooses.

The result is that referendum and elections increasingly often create surprises for the authorities. People do not at all vote as the official and ‘respectable’ media outlets advised them to, nor as the mainstream parties advised them to.

Public movements that only recently were too far left or too far right are taking center stage and pushing the political heavyweights aside.

At first, these inconvenient results were hastily declared an anomaly or chance. But when they became more frequent, they started saying that society does not understand those at the helm of power and have not yet matured sufficiently to be able to assess authorities’ labor for the public good. Or they sink into hysteria and declare it the result of foreign, usually Russian, propaganda.

Sure, friends and colleagues, I would have liked to have such a propaganda machine here in Russia, but regrettably, this is not the case. Unlike you, we do not have global mass media outlets like CNN, BBC and others. We simply do not have this kind of capability at this stage.

As for the claim that the fringe and populists have defeated the “sensible, sober, and responsible minority,” we are not talking about populists at all, but about ordinary people, ordinary citizens who are losing trust in the ruling class. This is the issue.

By the way, with the political agenda already eviscerated as it is, the elections cease to be an instrument for change. They consist instead of nothing but scandals and digging up who pinched whom where, and who sleeps with whom, if you’ll excuse.

This has crossed all boundaries of decency.

And honestly, a look at various candidates’ platforms gives the impression that they were made from the same mold – the difference is slight, if there is any at all.

It seems as if the elites do not see the deepening stratification in society and the erosion of the middle class, while at the same time, they implant ideological ideas that, in my opinion, destroy cultural and national identity, and in certain cases, in some countries they subvert national interests and renounce sovereignty in exchange for the favor of the suzerain (feudal lord).

This begs the question: who is actually the ‘fringe’? The expanding class of the supranational oligarchy and bureaucracy, which is in fact often not elected and not controlled by a society? Or is it the majority of the citizens, who want simple and plain things – stability, free development of their countries, future prospects for their lives and the lives of their children, preservation of their cultural identity, and finally, basic security for themselves and their loved ones?

Germany to send modern tanks to Russian border – Defense Ministry

From RT

October 27, 2016

Leopard 2A7 © Michaela Rehle
Leopard 2A7 © Michaela Rehle / Reuters

Germany is preparing to deploy its most modern ‘Leopard 2’ tanks and more than 600 infantrymen to Lithuania as it joins NATO’s biggest military buildup since the Cold War, German media reported citing the defense ministry.

The plans to deploy not infantry and tanks to the NATO member state bordering Russia were announced by the German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen at a two-day meeting of the alliance’s defense ministers in Brussels.

Deployment of “heavy weaponry” was then confirmed to the German daily Die Welt by a defense ministry spokesman, who said that tanks will be only part of the military equipment that Germany is going to deploy to the Baltic State.

A NATO battalion under German command will be stationed in Lithuania In February. The battalion’s personnel will amount to 1,000 soldiers, with from 450 to 650 of them coming from Germany and the rest being deployed by France, Belgium and Croatia.

According to the German daily Der Tagesspiegel daily, this will be an autonomous combat-ready unit equipped with tanks and armored vehicles that will also have snipers, engineering troops, military medics and even military police. The battalion will be fully operational starting from June 2017, German media reported.

The decision to send tanks alongside with the infantry to Lithuania should “send a clear signal” that Germany takes security concerns of the eastern NATO members “seriously,” von der Leyen said during the ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

“It should send a clear signal that an attack on any NATO member state would be regarded as an attack on all 28 members [of the bloc],” she said, as cited by Der Tagesspiegel. At the same time, she stressed that the deployment of German forces on the Russian border was a “strictly measured” step that has exclusively “defensive” purposes, as reported by Die Welt.

In 2015, von der Leyen ordered 100 new Leopard 2 tanks for the German army, the Bundeswehr, “in response to the Ukrainian crisis.” Additionally, all tanks that are currently in use by German forces should be modernized starting in 2017, according to the defense ministry’s plan.

The upper threshold for the number of tanks in the German army, which was set at 225 in 2011, was then increased to 328 in line with the ministry’s new plans, Die Welt reported.

However, the plans to station tanks almost on the Russian border provoked criticism from some German politicians.

“Sending tanks to the Russian border means forgetting the history,” Sara Wagenknecht, the head of the Left Party’s faction in the German parliament, told the news agency DPA. She also denounced the move as “a step towards further escalation of relations with Russia.”

“Those who really want to preserve peace in Europe should eventually return to relying on the traditions of the policy of détente instead of continuing to support the confrontational course that is neither in German interests, nor in the interests of the EU,” she said.

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