Letter: ‘Russia is inalienable part of Europe’ — Putin (2003)

Gideon Rachman (“There is no path to lasting Russian victory”, Opinion, January 17) cites Russian experts and correctly points out that, unlike in previous European wars, Russia has no western allies in its fight with Ukraine, and has ended up by isolating itself and closing the window on Europe opened by Peter the Great in the 1700s.

Contrast these developments with the thoughts of Vladimir Putin himself in a speech to European, Chinese and US leaders at St Catherine’s Palace, St Petersburg, on May 31, 2003 as part of the 300th anniversary celebrations of the foundation of this great city: “It is here in St Petersburg, where one can particularly observe that in historical and cultural terms Russia is an inalienable part of Europe. It is perfectly clear that Russia’s co-operation with European countries builds on an age-long tradition, which is based both on common historic achievements and close personal ties between our predecessors, a host of brilliant personalities, heads of state, men of culture and science, and business people . . . ”

Today, these historic European-Russian ties, lauded by Putin 20 years ago, count for nothing as Russia prosecutes a brutal and unwinnable war against the Ukrainian people.

Richard Wright
London NW8, UK

This post was originally published on Financial Times

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