BERLIN (Reuters) – President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday in Berlin that Russia has “come in from the Cold” and will become an organic part of European civilization but wants to be treated fairly by its partners.
On his first European trip as president, Medvedev said he wanted a broader Euro-Atlantic community, including Russia, to avoid confrontation and suggested a new European security pact.
“By overthrowing the Soviet system and rejecting its restoration, Russia has laid a basis for forming a state compatible with the rest of Europe,” Medvedev told a meeting with German political and business leaders.
“If I may use the language of (spy writer John) Le Carre, Russia has returned from the cold,” he said, referring to the title of the novel “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”.
“Russia is returning to the global political scene and economy with all its natural, financial and intellectual resources and potential.”
Medvedev won presidential elections in March, helped by his predecessor and ally Vladimir Putin, who left him a country whose booming economy attracts Western investors and whose assertive foreign policy scares Western politicians.
“Many ask today what kind of policy one can expect from Russia,” said Medvedev. “I will say this from the start: in international affairs as well as in domestic affairs we will first and foremost insist on the supremacy of law.”
Medvedev reiterated rifts which divided Russia and Europe under Putin, including rows over Kosovo, NATO’s eastward expansion and U.S. plans to deploy elements of its missile defense system in Poland and Czech Republic.
The West also suspects Russia of seeking to use its role as a leading energy supplier to Europe as a political tool.
“Russia does not need chaos and unpredictability in the modern world,” Medvedev said. “We have no interests which could be ensured in such a manner.”
NEW SECURITY DEAL?
Medvedev suggested that integrating Russia into the Euro-Atlantic community could help and suggested a new comprehensive security pact to address divisive issues.
“It would be a regional pact, based on the principles of the U.N. Charter which would clarify, finally, the meaning of the power factor in relations within the Euro-Atlantic community.”
He said the pact would solve intertwined security interests and the problem of arms control. “I am convinced Europe’s problems will not be solved until it achieves … an organic unity of all its historical parts, including Russia,” he said.
“After the end of the Cold war, conditions emerged to set up a truly equal cooperation between Russia, the European Union and North America — three branches of European civilization.”
“Now we should talk about the whole euro-Atlantic space from Vancouver to Vladivostok,” said Medvedev who also proposed holding a European summit on the issue.
“If our predecessors managed to work out a Helsinki Act during the Cold War, why shouldn’t we go further …and conclude a legally binding European Security Treaty,” he said.
The speech by former corporate lawyer Medvedev sounded conciliatory compared with a speech made by ex-KGB spy Putin last year when he accused the United States of seeking global domination and sparked talk of a new Cold War.