The Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed the migrant crisis emanating from the Middle East on America. He also blamed European states for backing US efforts to spread democracy, which he said were responsible for the current exodus of people sweeping across the EU.
Appearing at the inaugural Moscow-hosted Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Putin told journalists Friday that he had predicted the current crisis, according to euractiv. “I think this is a completely expected crisis,” he said.
“We in Russia say, and I have said it myself, that there will be large scale problems if our so-called Western partners pursue such an erroneous policy, especially foreign policy, in the regions of the Muslim world in the Middle East and North Africa. They continue to engage in such a policy.
“What kind of policy is it? It is about imposing their own standards, without taking into account the historical, religious, national, cultural features of these regions. This is primarily a policy of our American partners.”
Putin commented that he was surprised as the US’s criticism of Europe’s handling of the crisis, seeing as it was the US which had created it. He emphasised that America had not suffered at all personally from the crisis, while Europe, which “blindly followed US instructions,” had suffered heavily.
His comments come days after Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s ambassador to the EU, made similar statements.
Speaking on a panel entitled “The EU and Russia: Rivals, Opponents, Partners?” at the Alpbach Forum on 31 August, Chizhov told the audience that it EU enlargement was the cause of the paralysis in relations between the bloc and Russia.
Referencing the Lisbon Treaty, he said: “The inward-looking peace project has acquired a new somewhat messianic dimension – the EU now ‘seeks to advance in the wider world… principles which have inspired its own creation’. The question is, however, whether this ‘export of democracy’ is consistent with the objective of maintaining peace inside and beyond the European continent, or the European Union will have to make a hard choice between the two.”
Calling for a more equal relationship between the EU and Russia, he called on Brussels to recognise Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union project as its counterpart.
He continued: “In the Russian view … the disastrous turn of events in the region of the so-called ‘Arab spring’ as well as in Ukraine has a lot to do with the attempt to inject the notion of supremacy of Western values into highly complex regional environments.
“Certainly, the EU alone can hardly be blamed for regional instability. Nevertheless, the European Neighbourhood Policy, in my view, was not made any more attractive by the heavy-handed manner in which the EU sought to ‘civilise’ the region and impose its own norms and standards there.” He did not reference the US directly in his speech.
Putin also indicated a desire to join with other countries in the fight against terrorism, saying: “We really want to create some kind of an international coalition to fight terrorism and extremism. To this end, we are holding consultations with our American partners – I have personally spoken on the issue with US President Obama.”
He has also held talks about such a coalition with the leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and others, he said.