Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his annual state of the nation address on Thursday. He mostly focused on Russia’s internal affairs with abundant confidence, and talked about international relations in a level-headed and composed manner. He hailed Russia’s relationship with China as a role model for international relations in general. He said Moscow wanted to get on with the new US administration and was looking to make friends rather than enemies, writes an editorial piece of Global Times.
While many doubt that Russia is compelled to get along with China under Western pressure, Putin said Russia’s active Eastern policy is motivated by “long-term national interests and trends of global development.”
Despite sanctions imposed by the West, Russia seems to have gone through the hardest times. The Russian economy still sees a negative growth in 2016, but smaller in scale. It has become the biggest exporter of wheat this year and most importantly, oil prices have stabilized around $40-50 a barrel.
Western suppression and economic hardships didn’t break Russia’s solidarity, and Putin’s approval rating has stayed high. In September’s legislative elections, his United Russia party won a record number of seats. Most Russians attribute the plight of Russia to Western hostility, not Putin.
Russia enjoys more social solidarity than Western countries, which enables Putin to make a confident performance on the international stage. He deserves plaudits for dealing with the Syrian crisis this year and bettering Russia-Turkey ties. Moscow is accumulating its initiatives in coping with the West. As Donald Trump is set to take office, it is widely considered that US-Russia relations will ease somewhat.
Russia has performed excellently in handling the enormous pressure on it in the past three years, and showed how a big power can maintain social cohesion when undergoing huge pressure that often translates into domestic difficulties.
In 2014, Russia’s relations with the West dropped to the lowest ebb due to the Ukraine crisis and it was confronted with a gruesome economy due to the oil price plunge. Many predicted that Putin would lose his high support rate and protests would arise, destabilizing his governance foundation. But the reality was the opposite. What Russia underwent in the wake of the Soviet Union collapse didn’t recur. The country that has been opened up and diversified has never stopped supporting Putin. This defeated the Western attempt to crush Russia through sanctions and isolation.
This again shows the character of the Russian nation and Putin’s correct judgment about the situation and Russia’s path. In the times of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union had a better foundation than today’s Russia, but it eventually fell into chaos due to the wrong path the country took.
It’s no easy task for Russia to rise again and realize full-fledged modernization. The past decade’s development may have mapped out the trajectory of Russia’s future. But more importantly, Russia has grown stronger and can secure a good livelihood for its people. Having gone through the crisis, Russia has gained a firm foothold that enables it to thrive in the future.
Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/2 0:03:39