Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, happy New Year and best wishes on all holidays.
The past leap year was not easy. In addition to the troubles that usually befall leap years, some man-made events also took place which were not conducive to strengthening international security.
Russia’s vision of its goals in the international arena is described in detail in the country’s new Foreign Policy Concept that was approved in November by President Vladimir Putin. I am sure that all those who are interested in this sphere of our country’s activity have familiarised themselves with it. International issues were very prominent at President Putin’s news conference (December 23, 2016), as well as in a number of his other statements. I will therefore not lay out our vision of the year’s results. We’ll do better to leave more time for questions and answers.
I will only say that last year did not see any reduction in threats. I am referring above all to the threat of international terrorism, which continued doing its dirty business. It has affected residents of cities in Europe, the Middle East and other countries. As a result of a heinous terrorist attack, we lost our ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov. Terrorism has become a genuinely systemic problem. The fact that the international community is still unable to effectively rally and form what President Vladimir Putin described last year at the UN as a united, universal antiterrorist front certainly arouses serious concern and regret.
Why is this happening? There are probably a lot of reasons. We see that pooling efforts to fight terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking and many other threats is becoming a systemic problem that is compounded by basic differences between the objective trend toward the formation of a polycentric world, on the one hand, and the actions of those trying to hold on to the outdated concept of unipolarity, on the other hand. I am referring to the domination not even so much of one state as one group of states with their own system of values. More and more we are running up against a conflict that has been growing over the past several years and that has asserted itself in a very naked form at the current stage. I’m referring to the divide between what underlies the foreign policy of a particular country – pragmatism, correctly understood national interests – versus messianism, the aspiration to disseminate values across the world, what’s more, according to the interpretation that has evolved and developed within this group of states.