Russian President Vladimir Putin at the video switch at the World Digital Economic Forum
Photo: MICHAIL KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN / POOL / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock
Russian President Vladimir Putin called for better relations with the European Union (EU) at the World Economic Forum.
The head of state is thinking primarily of trade relations.
What is needed is a large economic area "that stretches from Lisbon to Vladivostok," said Putin in his speech at this year's digital world economic forum.
Russia and Europe are linked by a cultural history, they should go hand in hand again.
At the moment, the partnership is »without a doubt anything but normal«, but both sides should »overcome their fears« in order to get into dialogue again.
Despite the desire for unity, Putin also called for countries not to interfere in the internal affairs of other states.
This is an approach from the past century.
Without having said it, Putin is likely to mean two things in particular: The EU's support for the protests in Belarus and the demands of several EU states to clarify the poison attack on the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
No words to Navalny
In Belarus there have been protests against the ruler Alexander Lukashenko since the elections in August.
The EU no longer recognizes Lukashenko as president, the likely election winner Svetlana Tichanowskaya is currently living for protection in the EU country Lithuania, at home she is being wanted.
The Russian opposition member Navalny is also receiving support from the EU.
He was poisoned in the summer, presumably by the Russian secret service.
He was able to recover in Germany for several months and was immediately imprisoned on his return to Moscow.
Regarding the corona pandemic, which is rampant worldwide, Putin said that Russia is struggling hard, but is coping well with the crisis.
The self-praise is reminiscent of the speech given by Chinese ruler Xi Jinping just two days earlier.
It is now important to overcome the economic consequences of the corona crisis with improved cooperation, said Putin.
"A unilateral world will not get us any further, instead we need more multilateralism," said Putin.
With a view to the United States, Putin praised the newly extended nuclear disarmament agreement “New Start” as “the right step”.
Nevertheless, conflicts would not just go away - and could develop in unforeseen directions, "if we just put our hands on our lap".
Globalization, in particular, would exacerbate social injustices and thus create extremism.
Icon: The mirror