Russian FM says the West’s ‘Russiaphobia’ worse than during Cold War

Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Russian speaks to reporters January 19, 2018 at the United Nations in New York. (AFP)
Updated 21 January 2018
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Russian FM says the West’s ‘Russiaphobia’ worse than during Cold War

MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Sunday said the West’s “unprecedented Russiaphobia” was worse than at the height of the Cold War.
“This Russiaphobia is unprecedented. We never saw this during the Cold War,” Lavrov, fresh from a visit to New York on Thursday and Friday, said in an interview with the Russian daily Kommersant’s online edition.
“Back then there were some rules, some decorum... Now, all decorum has been cast aside,” he said.
Lavrov denounced what he called “efforts to punish Russia by any means possible,” calling sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union “absurd and baseless.”
Russia was slapped with sanctions in 2014 because of its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, with Kiev and the West accusing Moscow of backing rebels — allegations the Russian authorities deny.
Russia is also mired in a doping scandal which led to the exclusion of its athletes from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the World Athletics Championships in London last year.
The International Olympics Committee has also suspended Russia from next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. “Clean” Russian athletes will be allowed to take part under the Olympic banner.


Putin says will step down as president after term expires in 2024

Updated 25 May 2018
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Putin says will step down as president after term expires in 2024

MOSCOW: Vladimir Putin said on Friday he would respect the Russian constitution which bans anyone from serving two consecutive presidential terms, meaning he will step down from his post in 2024 when his current term expires.
His remarks, made to reporters at an economic forum in St. Petersburg and broadcast on state TV, are not a surprise and do not necessarily mean he will relinquish power in six years.
Putin has stepped down as president once before, in 2008, after serving two back-to-back terms only to return in 2012 after doing a stint as prime minister, a maneuver he would be legally entitled to carry out again.
“I have always strictly abided by and abide by the constitution of the Russian Federation,” Putin said, when asked if and when he would be leaving office.
“In the constitution it’s clearly written that nobody can serve more than two terms in a row ... I intend to abide by this rule.”
Putin easily won re-election in March, extending his tenure by six years to 24 — which would make him Moscow’s longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.