Sunday, September 20, 2009

Go Russia -- President Medvedev on Russia's Problems and Possible Solutions

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently wrote an article titled, Go Russia, identifying the problems facing Russia and its possible future direction. He clearly indentifies that Russia has "a primitive economy based on raw materials and endemic corruption" which is not going to help Russia find a better future. He summed up the problems that Russia is faced with -- "an inefficient economy, semi-Soviet social sphere, fragile democracy, negative demographic trends, and unstable Caucasus represent very big problems." To read his article, click here. Later on September 20, on CNN's Fareed Zakaria's GPS show, he explained in detail some of the problems that he had identified in the article.

The article went into greater detail outlining the areas that need to focused on a priority basis. For instance, it identified five key vectors for the economic modernisation of Russia. "First, we will become a leading country measured by the efficiency of production, transportation and use of energy. We will develop new fuels for use on domestic and international markets. Secondly, we need to maintain and raise our nuclear technology to a qualitatively new level. Third, Russia's experts will improve information technology and strongly influence the development of global public data networks, using supercomputers and other necessary equipment. Fourth, we will develop our own ground and space infrastructure for transferring all types of information; our satellites will thus be able to observe the whole world, help our citizens and people of all countries to communicate, travel, engage in research, agricultural and industrial production. Fifth, Russia will take a leading position in the production of certain types of medical equipment, sophisticated diagnostic tools, medicines for the treatment of viral, cardiovascular, and neurological diseases and cancer." While emphasising on economic issues, Medvedev noted that the country will be well-armed that no one dare threaten Russia or its allies.

Talking about political reforms and democracy, the article read: "Russian democracy will not merely copy foreign models. Civil society cannot be bought by foreign grants. Political culture will not be reconfigured as a simple imitation of the political traditions of advanced societies. An effective judicial system cannot be imported. Freedom is impossible to simply copy out of a book, even a very clever one. Of course we'll learn from other nations – from their experiences, their successes and failures in developing democratic institutions. But no one will live our lives for us. Nobody is going to make us free, successful and responsible. Only our own experience of democratic endeavour will give us the right to say: we are free, we are responsible, we are successful."

On issues such as the emerging world order, Medvedev said, Russia will work towards establishing "a more equitable world order." In this regard, he said, "Russia has often sought to protect small nations, those confronted with the threat of enslavement or even destruction. This was the case only recently, when Saakashvili's regime launched its criminal attack on South Ossetia. Russia has often put an end to the plans of those bent on world domination. Russia has twice appeared in the vanguard of the great coalitions: in the 19th century to stop Napoleon and in the 20th by defeating the Nazis. In war and peace, when a just cause has demanded decisive action, our people have been there to help. Russia has always been a staunch ally in war and an honest partner in economic and diplomatic affairs."

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