19 January 2022. From the video interview by Public News Service (OCH)
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg admitted that, in order to deter Russia, the record expansion of NATO forces began right with the annexation of Crimea in 2014. He also noted that NATO has developed its activities to a level exceeding the Alliance’s capacity at the end of the Cold War. In an interview with the Public News Service, President of the Club of Military Leaders of the Russian Federation, Army General Anatoly Kulikov told how Russia may respond in connection with NATO’s enlargement to the East. The interview was conducted by Lieutenant General (retired) Alexander Mikhailov.
The interview covered topics such as Russia’s domestic and foreign policies under Vladimir Putin, aggression against Russia, the general attitude of European countries towards the State, events in Kazakhstan in the historical context and prospects for their development at present.
Anatoly Kulikov noted that the today’s authority of Russia is at a very high level.
This was achieved thanks to V. Putin’s global reforms. They were aimed at solving the problems of terrorism, infrastructural and technical equipment of government structures and law enforcement agencies, as well as at restoring the prestige of the Russian armed forces. In this regard, many countries loyal to the USSR (for example, several countries of Latin America, the Middle East and Central Asia that were not part of the Soviet Union) are gradually beginning to show interest in cooperation with Russia again. In addition, as the moderator A. Mikhailov noted, the economic component also plays an important role in such relations.
A. Kulikov spoke on the activities of the Russian-US Elbe Group, which allows the generals from the two States to discuss international security issues.
Speaking on the aggression shown by the ‘collective’ West towards Russia, A. Kulikov noted that Western leaders still cannot choose a different course of policy, which has been maintained since the Cold War and was initially aimed at the destruction of the Soviet Union. Now they are faced with the question of whether to confront or cooperate with modern Russia as an independent State that has and defends its own interests. Russia’s interests are primarily to ensure internal as well as external security, while NATO and its allies, in breach of verbal and written agreements, destabilise the situation (post-Soviet States and numerous ‘on-site advisers’).
In the light of these circumstances, A. Kulikov expressed hope that a younger generation of politicians will appear in Western countries. They will rethink this issue and decide to conduct a constructive dialogue in order to establish mutually beneficial cooperation with Russia.
A grave problem is the falsification of history aimed at denigrating the USSR, ignoring the contribution of the State, thanks to which victory over Hitler’s Germany and its ‘satellites’ became possible. The Army General stressed that the people supporting slanderous rhetoric today are the children and grandchildren of Nazi collaborators; he gave relevant examples.
Referring to the Kazakhstan issue, it was noted that mass unrest and armed clashes are not happening there for the first time. A similar scenario was observed in 1986, also during the period of changes of political elites. National policy is a complex and unstable issue. Both then and now, a number of factors, including domestic ones, played their role. One way or another, it is important to develop a well-coordinated succession of power.
At the end of the conversation, A. Kulikov suggested that in Russia it would be reasonable to create a ‘ministry for national and interfaith affairs’ to monitor and prevent such cataclysms, as well as to form and implement a mechanism of support for compatriots, the Russian-speaking part of the population living in different countries.