Nikolai Patrushev (Source: Kommersant.ru)
On March 25, the Secretary of the Security Council of Russia, Nikolai Patrushev, gave a lengthy interview to the Russian daily newspaper Izvestia. In the course of the interview, Patrushev discussed the external threats facing Russia, and ranked the “destruction” of the international treaty system on peaceful uses of outer space, and the increased expenditures on the US global missile defense system as the major ones.
Commenting on the INF Treaty, Patrushev said: “Announcing the suspension of the fulfillment of the obligations under the INF Treaty, the United States charged that Russia violated its conditions, but no evidence was provided. At the same time, Washington ignored Russian concerns about the violation by the United States of its obligations under the treaty… The American side did not even try to start the negotiation process in order to modernize or reformat the treaty.”
He then added that Washington is trying to cast Russia as the enemy, in order to justify increased military spending and expanding NATO’s role in international politics, with the goal of “maintaining its global dominance “. “However – Patrushev added – the modern world order has outgrown the time when the sole dominance of any state in all spheres was possible in principle.” According to Patrushev, the economic growth rates displayed by individual countries, primarily China and India, provide no grounds to consider the United States the exclusive world leader.
Q: “Nikolai Platonovich, you took part at the extended meetings of the collegiums of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and FSB, which were held in February – March. How do you think it is possible to evaluate the effectiveness of the work of these structures?”
Patrushev: “The president of the Russian Federation gave a positive assessment of the work of the structures you named. The head of state formulated tasks facing them, he defined the protection of the legitimate interests, rights and freedoms of citizens, implementation of national projects, government programs and the overall socio-economic development of the country as a priority.
“Vladimir Putin devoted special attention to combining their efforts in order to deal with challenges and threats to national security in connection to attempts to destroy the territorial integrity of the state and to destabilize the country’s socio-political situation.
“It is important to note that law enforcement and intelligence agencies work coherently in all areas of activity, the effectiveness of the anti-corruption measures have increased, as well as the measures to fight organized crime and, very importantly, international terrorism. Later has led to a significant decrease in terrorist activity in recent years.”
Q: “Taking into account the achieved results in the field of countering terrorism, is it possible to soften security standards in some places? For example, not to set up frames and fences in public places during mass holiday celebrations or to moderate the inspection system at airports?”
Patrushev: “Everyone has long been accustomed to screening at airports or stadiums, and these security measures are taken for granted. At the same time, terrorism is still with us, its threat remains relevant. Last year alone, 35 crimes of a terrorist nature were prevented, including 19 terrorist attacks.
“The so-called telephone terrorism is becoming more and more widespread. Since the beginning of this year, more than 2 thousand reports on the planting of explosive bombs have been received. Most of them are from abroad, about 400 perpetrators have already been established, some have been brought to criminal prosecution.
“At the same time, terrorists are constantly improving the tactics of their activities, actively using modern technical means, using various methods of conspiracy, constantly checking our vigilance; therefore it is premature to talk about relaxing anti-terrorism measures. Regulations must comply with actual challenges and threats.”
External Threats To Russia: The Destruction Of The International Treaty System In The Field Of Peaceful Uses Of Outer Space, And The US Global Missile Defense System
Q: “The Security Council makes decisions on a wide range of problems in the country’s domestic affairs and the state’s foreign policy. How is the work of this structure organized in general?”
Patrushev: “I will give you a special textbook that we have issued for law schools, titled ‘The Constitutional Legal Status of the Russian Federation’s Security Council’. It will provide comprehensive answers to many questions related to the organization of the Security Council.
“As a constitutional consultative body, the Security Council prepares decisions of the president on the organization of defense, military-technical cooperation, protection of the country’s sovereignty, and other problems of domestic and foreign policy. The head of state defines the composition of the Security Council and is its chairman.
“The Secretary of the Security Council heads the Security Council apparatus, prepares meetings of the Russian Federation’s Security Council and operational meetings of the permanent members of the Russian Federation’s, Security Council; he also monitors the implementation of its decisions.
“Experts of the Scientific Council, representatives of ministries and departments, public organizations are involved in the preparation of decisions of the Security Council. A number of problems that directly affect the regions of our country are discussed with the leadership of the subjects of the Federation during retreats in federal districts. Some strategic level documents are submitted for public discussion on the eve of their adoption.
“One of the next meetings will be devoted to priorities in the field of Russia’s space exploration.”
Q: “If the Security Council is interested in this, then threats from space do exist?”
Patrushev: “First of all, we consider the future possibilities of the space industry for the development of science and the economy of the country, and not to fight anyone from outer space or through outer space.
“As for the threats to our security, they are undoubtedly exist. Among them I will highlight the Western countries’ consistent destruction of the international treaty system in the field of peaceful uses of outer space, as well as the increased expenditures on the US global missile defense system.”
Q: “The current situation around the Treaty on Medium and Short Range Missiles has also become an absolute threat to global security. Is it possible to resuscitate it?”
Patrushev: “In announcing [its] suspension of the fulfillment of the obligations under the INF Treaty, the United States charges that Russia violated its conditions, but no evidence was provided. At the same time, Washington ignored Russian concerns about the United States violation of its obligations under the treaty.
“Having advanced the thesis that the INF Treaty does not correspond to modern realities, since its action does not extend to other owners of arsenals of intermediate and shorter-range missiles, the American side did not even try to start the negotiation process in order to modernize or reformat the treaty.
“In our opinion, there are no political or legal obstacles to the transformation of the INF into a multilateral agreement.”
Q: “Recently, the commander of the combined armed forces of NATO in Europe said that Russia could use nuclear weapons for quick victories over ‘weaker neighbors.’ How can Western readers, users of the same Internet, find the truth about us after such statements?”
Patrushev: “Neither the United States nor their allies are in a hurry to justify their statements with facts. At the same time, it is namely the United States of America that does not intend to abandon the policy of conducting preventive nuclear strikes, which is confirmed by its doctrinal publications.
“Let me remind you that the United States is the only country in the world that used weapons of mass destruction. They dropped nuclear bombs on Japan, and today they use all the propaganda methods so the Japanese will forget the tragedy of August 1945 as soon as possible. As a result, the majority of young Japanese believe that the nuclear bombing was carried out either by the Soviet Union or by another state, but not the United States. The premise is: how could the current main military-political ally do this?
“Presenting Russia today as the enemy, Washington is trying to justify increased military spending and the expansion of NATO’s role in international politics in order to maintain its global dominance. However, the modern world order has outgrown the time when the exclusive dominance of any state in all spheres was possible in principle.
“An increasing role is played by the economic component. The economic growth rates demonstrated by individual countries, primarily China and India, no longer provide grounds to consider the United States the exclusive world leader.
“Today, the principles of mutual respect, equal cooperation and the desire for joint development are in demand. They are shared by many countries of the world, the same goes for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, where a dialogue is taking place that allows achieving significant results in the political, trade and economic spheres, as well as in the field of security.”
Partnerships: Russia And Kazakhstan Are Key Strategic Partners
Q: “Our most important partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is the Republic of Kazakhstan. After 30 years in office, Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned as head of state. Will Russian-Kazakhstan relations change after that?”
Patrushev: “You are right, Russia and Kazakhstan are key strategic partners in the framework of the SCO, as well as the CSTO, the CIS, the EAEU. We have long-standing friendly and trusting bilateral relations with Kazakhstan, including in the area of security councils.
“Having relinquished the powers of president, Nursultan Abishevich will continue to fulfill the duties of the chairman of the Security Council of Kazakhstan the body where the main strategic goals and long-term objectives of the country’s development are formed. He remains a member of the Constitutional Council and chairman of the leading political party, thus influencing decisionmaking. This testifies to the preservation of the republic’s previous course, aimed at strengthening the strategic partnership with Moscow and further developing good-neighborly relations between our states.
“I am deeply convinced that the changes taking place in the leadership of Kazakhstan will give an additional impetus to the development of mutually beneficial cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan both on international arena and in bilateral relations.”
Q: “And how are Russian relations with other countries in the security sphere of security being structured?”
Patrushev: “Russia builds relations on mutually beneficial terms. This approach is attractive to most states. A vivid confirmation are the annual international meetings of high representatives responsible for security issues held in Russia, which have become traditional. From year to year the number of countries represented on the forum is only increasing. Last year, 118 states took part at the meeting in Sochi, and the majority of meetings were held at high level: secretaries of security councils, ministers and heads of special services. This confirms the interest of countries in combining efforts to combat the threats and challenges to international security.
“At the upcoming tenth meeting in Ufa on June 17–20, we are planning to discuss the topics of countering terrorism, interaction in the field of information security, and cooperation in the field of emergency humanitarian response. In addition, the agenda of the forum will include the issues of sustainable socioeconomic development of states facing growing ‘hybrid threats’.”
Interference From Outside: The West Has Developed A Powerful Arsenal Of Interference In The Internal Affairs Of Sovereign States, Which Has Become A Serious Threat To International Security
Q: “One of the ‘hybrid threats’, as we understand it, is the ‘color revolutions’. What is the fate of the states that have experienced such a form of outside intervention?”
Patrushev: “All ‘color revolutions’ have a similar pattern – the West gives information and material support to protest activity, applauds to the violent overthrow of the current government, that brings its puppets to power. The country that survived the coup falls into dependence from the outside, as a result of which the economy collapses, the population is impoverished, crime and lawlessness grows.
“The West has developed a powerful arsenal of interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states that poses a serious threat to international security.”
Q: “Now Venezuela’s case is well known. What are the true reasons for the US intervention in the internal affairs of this state?”
Patrushev: “The actions of the United States in relation to Venezuela are the manifestation of American policy to advance their economic interests via unfair competition methods. The strategic goal of the United States is to become the leader of world oil exports in the next few years, setting its own ‘rules of the game’ and dictating its will to OPEC.
“Sanctions are imposed on Iran and Russia to restrict their ability to trade in oil. And Venezuelan oil should just be taken over, because refineries in the southern United States are designed to use this cheap raw material. The goal of the United States is obvious – to use cheap Venezuelan oil at its oil refineries, and export (also to Europe), its expensive shale oil.
“The legally elected leadership of Venezuela, defending the political and economic sovereignty of their country, is not going to facilitate the US plans. That is why Washington needs a protege. In this case, Guaido.
“Similarly, the United States is convincing Europe to buy expensive, but ‘democratic’, American gas instead of cheaper Russian gas.”
Q: “Venezuela is far, and the elections in Ukraine are near. How do you assess the chances of Poroshenko?”
Patrushev: “Currently, Ukraine is controlled from the outside, namely from Washington. Americans in their statements claim that they will support any elected candidate. At the same time, it is quite obvious that they are oriented towards Poroshenko, who fulfills all the instructions of overseas curators. He is a well-known, predictable and controlled figure for the Americans; his reelection meets the strategic interests of Washington, which is interested in maintaining the Euro-Atlantic course of Ukraine.
“The people of Ukraine associate Poroshenko’s name with the banditry of national extremist groups in the country, massive violations of human rights and freedom of religion, corruption scandals, economic collapse and impoverishment of the population, so Poroshenko’s populist actions will not bring him the desired growth in popularity and voter support.
“In this regard, technologies of distorting the results of voting are already being applied in the pre-election period. Unprecedented opportunities have been created for using personal data from the voter register – residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics not controlled by Kiev, as well as Ukrainian labor migrants who have left for Russia, who cannot vote or protest the unlawful use of their votes.
“Keeping Poroshenko in power will not lead to the normalization of RussianUkrainian relations. He has already taken the decisive step, terminating the treaty on friendship, cooperation and partnership between Russia and Ukraine.
“His victory as a result of the most blatant falsification of the election results will deepen political and socio-economic contradictions in society down to the collapse of Ukraine.”
Q: “Is the United States itself, summarily imposing its interests on the world’s countries of the world, so certain that its country is the state of ideal democracy?”
Patrushev: “Let’s look at the electoral system of this country. Unlike Russia and a number of other states in the United States has no direct presidential election. The final word is for the electors, whose opinion does not always reflect the position of the voter majority.
“This situation, in particular, happened in recent past in the presidential election of 2000, when George W. Bush won. This recurred in the 2016 elections, when, with the majority of votes in favor of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump won by the majority of the electors’ votes.
Take the US Congress for example, that serves big business interests. Moreover, it is completely legal, since there are no restrictions on the sponsorship of political parties by commercial organizations.
“And the American courts? Election funds of candidates for the judiciary are formed by the sponsors. In fact, whover’s fund is larger – wins. But where did you see a sponsor who would simply invest money without demanding the decisions he needed in exchange?
“How such democracy is being realized in practice, we all know quite well. In addition to the frequent cases of police violence and aggression, US citizens are victims of total surveillance by the security services, affecting almost all aspects of their daily lives.
“At the same time, the US adheres to the concept of American exceptionalism. It considers all those living abroad as second class people. And therefore, everything in their regard is permitted.”
Q: “French President Emmanuel Macron took the initiative to create a European Security Council and fundamentally review the Schengen system. What, in your opinion, are these proposals related to?”
Patrushev: “In modern Europe, such ideas are increasingly being promoted. This, of course, speaks of the growth of European self-consciousness, the desire to assert oneself in the conditions of virtually lost foreign policy independence.
“Charles de Gaulle once said that Washington offers all other countries to line up for it in two columns, otherwise it will be bad. Let me remind you that this great French politician opposed the transfer of the world economy to an unsecured dollar and tried to withdraw the country from NATO, for which he paid. The street protests of 1968, which forced de Gaulle to resign, are called by some historians the first ‘color revolution’.
“Let me remind you that in the postwar period, all of Western Europe lay in ruins and its future depended largely on America. Today, the situation has changed dramatically. The United States is not only unwilling to invest in Europe, but is also trying to pump everything out of it. Threatening trade wars and sanctions, they are gradually ruining European business in the name of American prosperity.
“Americans are no less arrogant in politics, teaching European officials how to ensure their national interests. At the same time, the whole of Europe is literally entangled by a network of financial flows coming from across the ocean, which feed various organizations and think tanks, ensuring the implementation of Washington’s installations in practice.
“Therefore, it is not surprising that Europeans are tired of such vassal dependence and want more freedom to make decisions.
“Obviously, there is a demand for European politics from their own business, aimed at developing mutually beneficial and depoliticized relations with Russia.”
Import Substitution Results: External Pressure Has Become An Incentive For Solving Many Problems In The Russian Economy
Q: “So far, Europe follows in the wake of Washington on many issues, including the introduction of economic sanctions against Russia. Do they pose a threat to the national security of our country?”
Patrushev: “By introducing economic sanctions against our country, the West seeks to destabilize the domestic economy and create social and political tensions in society. But always in difficult years, the Russians rallied and mobilized all the resources to ensure the sovereignty of their country. The same is happening now – external pressure has become an incentive for solving many problems in the Russian economy.
“Before the introduction of sanctions, the financing of the real sector of the economy was carried out, through external borrowing, and the entire infrastructure of financial settlements was under the control of foreign companies. Currently, the overwhelming majority of funding comes from domestic sources, and a national payment system has been created.
“Domestic machine tools and instrument-making were previously import oriented; their own development was clearly insufficient. Currently, as a result of large-scale implementation of import substitution plans, these industries are getting a new life.
“Before the imposition of sanctions, it seemed that we would never be able to provide ourselves with food and were doomed to sit on an imported food needle. However, today the problem of food independence has been almost completely solved for the most important types of food, and for some of them Russia has become a leader in exports.
“The initiators of sanctions can make sure that they are ineffective and often create the opposite effect.”
Q: “Nikolai Platonovich, does the bill on the ‘sovereign Internet’ adopted by the State Duma in the first reading lead to Russia’s self-isolation?”
Patrushev: “This is not about limiting the capabilities of the World Wide Web, Russia is not going to turn itself off.
“At the same time, there is a threat of Russia being disconnected from the Internet from without. It is necessary to create an infrastructure that allows us to guarantee the operability of Russian Internet resources, so that our citizens and enterprises can use the network even if domestic telecom operators encounter problems connecting to foreign servers or with a targeted large-scale external influence.
“I emphasize that this is not isolation, it is a compulsory measure in the conditions of the principle of ‘preserving peace by force’ declared in the national cyber-security strategy of the United States. Unfortunately, such an aggressive approach is practiced not only by Washington, but also by its closest allies. Visual confirmation of this is the threat of the British premier Theresa May to subject our country to cyber-attacks.
“Russia should be ready to protect national interests in the information sphere, the interests of its citizens. Therefore, attempts to introduce the initiative of legislators in the form of a prohibitive measure aimed at isolating our state do not reflect its essence.
“We proceed from the fact that in the modern digital world the universal and open nature of the Internet should not conflict with the sovereign right of every state to manage the national information space and protect the interests of its citizens.”