ROMAN SMAGIN: Good afternoon, Mr President.
I am Roman Smagin from Novosibirsk Teacher Training University.
It’s no secret to anyone that history tends to repeat itself. Historical events seem to unfold according to a cyclical theory. Over these last two years we have remembered and celebrated the historic choices that Russia made at important moments for our country’s destiny, such as in 1612, 1812, and 1914.
In this context, I want to ask you what view you take of the cyclical nature of history as we can see it in Russia. Also, I want to ask you about your view of historical memory, how it helps us, how it can help to preserve Russia’s political influence on the international stage, contribute to our society’s development, and not let Russia be drawn into a new open global conflict.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Historical memory is a very important part of our culture, history and present. Of course, we must draw on our historical experience and historical memory as we look towards the future. I can therefore say straight away that Russia is certainly not about to let itself be drawn into any large-scale conflicts. We do not want this and will not let this happen.
Naturally, we need to be ready to respond to any aggression against Russia. Our partners, no matter what the situation in their countries and the foreign policy ideas they follow, always need to be aware that it is better not to enter into any potential armed conflict against us. Fortunately though, I don’t think anyone has the intention today of trying to start a large-scale conflict against Russia.
Let me remind you that Russia is one of the world’s biggest nuclear powers. These are not just words – this is the reality. What’s more, we are strengthening our nuclear deterrent capability and developing our armed forces. They have become more compact and effective and are becoming more modern in terms of the weapons at their disposal. We are continuing this work to build up our potential and will keep doing so, not in order to threaten anyone, but so as to be able to feel safe, ensure our security and be able to carry out our economic and social development plans.
As far as cycles are concerned, yes, I think that the world’s development does go in cycles. This has pretty much been proven as far as the economy is concerned. There are economists here and they can no doubt explain it better than I can, but there are various cycles in the economy, small waves, large waves and so on, and any country’s development depends on the state of the economy. This is why economic growth and the transition from one technological level to another always have an impact on people’s lives and prosperity and on the social and political situation.
Just look, for example, at the way demand is growing in the European countries, and how hard it is to keep up with this constantly growing demand even at today’s level of technological development. This is a sign that there is a need for something else, that we must compensate somewhere for what we are not managing to achieve with the help of foreign policy and defence policy.
I hope very much that not just Russia’s historical memory but that all of humanity will prompt us to search for peaceful solutions to the various conflicts that are currently unfolding and that will arise in the future. We support political dialogue and the search for compromise.