AMBASSADORS OF MODERNIZATION

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PRESIDENT DMITRY MEDVEDEV INSTRUCTED DIPLOMATS TO FOCUS ON ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES

President Medvedev met with Russian ambassadors and representatives to international structures.


Dmitry Medvedev addressed Russian ambassadors and permanent representatives to international organizations. The president made a sensational statement regarding the Iranian nuclear problem and itemized priorities of the Russian diplomacy for the two following years. Considering the proclaimed modernization, it was hardly surprising.

The chief executive meets with senior diplomats once every two years. Representatives of the government, senior functionaries of the Presidential Administration, and upper echelons of both houses of the parliament turned up to listen to the address, too.

“The last two years changed the world,” said Medvedev. He recalled the August 2008 war, financial crisis, and “our decision to modernize the national economy.”

Medvedev endorsed the foreign policy concept in 2008. Two years later, one of the authors of the START treaty, initiator of the new European security treaty, and Barack Obama’s pal in Twitter was talking national interests from a different standpoint. Modernization was on the agenda.

“It behooves us to apply foreign political instruments with utmost efficiency to promote solutions to domestic problems, to modernize economy, social sphere, and even to some extent the political system,” said Medvedev.

The president then briefly outlined priorities of transition from an economy based on raw-materials export to innovative economy. Medvedev plainly said that they were something both personnel of economic ministries and diplomats had to know. “We ought to decide cooperation with what countries will be particularly rewarding from the angle of development of advanced technologies in Russia.” It was clear from these words that the line between foreign and domestic political policy is getting increasingly fuzzier. In fact, Medvedev outlined two other new tasks for diplomats – participation in the war on organized crime and development of democracy and civil society.

Said Medvedev, “We ought to promote humanization of social systems worldwide but first and foremost at home. The more foreign countries become democracies, the better our interests will be promoted. I’m not talking meddling with domestic affairs of foreign states, of course. What I’m saying is that democratic standards ought to be worked out in close interaction with foreign countries so that interests of all involved parties will be taken into account.”

What Medvedev was angling at was a wholly new level of diplomacy. He said that diplomats should “enlist the services of the global intellectual elite and non-governmental organizations and involve them in the discourse” and that diplomats should be open and pragmatic and in no way slaves to cliches and stereotypes that “exist in all countries including Russia”.

Medvedev instructed Russian diplomats abroad to go after modernization alliances with the country’s major partners (the European Union and the United States).

“The Partnership for Modernization policy formulated at the Russian-EU summit in Rostov stipulates joint projects. My recent visit to the United States is proof that cooperation in the area of innovations has the potential of being extremely specific and rewarding. There is more to the potential of interaction and cooperation between us than elimination of missiles or quarrels over regional conflicts.”

Asian-Pacific region was called another external source of modernization but, Medvedev emphasized, cooperation with CIS countries remained the first priority all the same.

The subject of modernization was dropped then.

Talking international affairs, Medvedev urged his listeners to abandon a simplified approach to the Iranian nuclear problem. His next phrase surprised everyone. “It is clear that Iran is about to develop the potential that might be used in assembly of nuclear weapons,” he said. “Patience is what is needed at this point. Patience and reactivation of the dialogue with Tehran. This is what we believe the new UN Security Council resolution should be about. Should diplomacy miss this chance, it will be a collective failure.”

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