An interesting excerpt of the Interview with president Dmitry Medwedew


VLADIMIR KULISTIKOV: What is holding up the new agreement to replace the START treaty? Are the Americans putting pressure on you, and if so, how do you respond? Or, perhaps, are you putting pressure on them, and what is their reaction?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: This is a very complex matter. This is not some contract between two cooperatives that you can draw up in 15 minutes. It is an agreement that will set the parameters for development and reductions of strategic offensive forces of the two biggest nuclear powers. We are actually making very rapid progress and have already reached agreement on practically all the different points.
As for how this is all taking place, it is almost as you say. In some cases we put the pressure on our partners, say, "you know, we cannot accept this," and in other cases they try to do the same. This is normal. This is what negotiations are all about.
We need to come up with a high-quality agreement, and I am sure that we will succeed. Furthermore, the agreement has to define the basis for our coexistence as major nuclear powers over quite a long timeframe, 10 years, and so we need to get everything right, right down to the last comma.
The other thing is that, even though we will prepare and sign this agreement, we will also continue to develop our strategic nuclear forces because they are essential for our country's defence. We understand this, and so do the Americans. This is the law of life today. This does not mean that we cannot discuss the future prospect of a nuclear-free world. This is a noble goal and one we should strive for, but we need to move towards it gradually. Furthermore, not only Russia and America should take part in these efforts, but so should other countries, including those who aspire to join the nuclear club and are creating so many problems.

KONSTANTIN ERNST: Cutbacks are all very well, but isn't the nuclear shield we built during the Soviet times getting a little rusty by now?

DMITRY MEDVEDEV: No. Our nuclear shield is capable of fulfilling all of the missions for which it was designed. Of course we will work on developing new systems, including delivery systems - missiles, in other words. This is normal. The whole world is doing this. Of course, this work needs to take place within the framework of conventions and agreements, including our future agreements with the Americans. But this process will continue and our nuclear shield will always be effective and sufficient for protecting our national interests.

Download the whole Interview as a pdf-file (388 kb)