Intelligent People, Unite! — That Was Vladimir Putin’s Appeal

Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press
July 21, 2004

INTELLIGENT PEOPLE, UNITE! — That Was Vladimir Putin’s Appeal During
His Visit to Kazakhstan. By Yelena Lashkina. Rossiiskaya gazeta, June
19, 2004, pp. 1, 3. Excerpts:

Astana — . . . Delegations from seven countries [arrived] in
Kazakhstan’s capital for summits of the Eurasian Economic Community
[EurAsEC] and the Collective Security Treaty Organization [CSTO]. . .
. The first event was the opening of an international forum titled
“Eurasian Integration: Current Trends and the Challenges of

As the host, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev delivered the
first welcoming speech. “It’s extremely important that we jointly
develop and consistently implement a uniform policy for entering
world markets that works to everyone’s advantage,” he said. . . .

[In his remarks,] Russian President Vladimir Putin couldn’t [avoid
commenting] on the forum’s program. “I have the impression that
enemies of President Nazarbayev infiltrated the group of organizers,”
the Russian head of state said. “Here’s a session on security in the
Eurasian space where the main topic is defined as: ‘The Geopolitical
Interests of Outside Forces: The US, China, the EU, Japan and
Russia,’ ” said the Russian president, quoting from the forum’s
program. . . .

“All you have to do is open a map to see that Russia is situated in
the very heart of Eurasia,” . . . Vladimir Putin remarked.

“And on the subject of security in the Eurasian space, I think the
vast majority of people would agree that not only in the Eurasian
space, but worldwide these problems can hardly be addressed without
taking into account the role that Russia plays in the modern world.”

Putin ticked off other items on the program and let the organizers
have it with both barrels. “If I were permitted to take part in the
forum session titled ‘Conceptual Problems Pertaining to the
Activities of Integration Associations,’ I could briefly summarize
those problems in literally three or four phrases. They are
great-power chauvinism, nationalism, the personal ambitions of
political decision-makers and just plain stupidity, primitive
stupidity,” Vladimir Putin added quite earnestly.

Addressing the forum’s participants, President Putin said: “But
we’re intelligent people.” And so he concluded his participation in
the forum with the exhortation: “Intelligent people of the world,

The heads of state proceeded from the forum to a meeting of
EurAsEC’s interstate council, where the parties signed an agreement
on the basic principles of that organization’s legislation, as well
as a decision on cooperation in the securities market. . . .

The heads of EurAsEC’s member states also agreed to coordinate
their efforts to gain admission to the World Trade Organization.

After the EurAsEC summit, the five members of that organization
were joined by the president of Armenia. The six then held a meeting
of the Collective Security Council of the CSTO’s member states. The
CSTO summit was held behind closed doors. But that’s perfectly
understandable: After all, the heads of the member states were
discussing the actual operations of their militaries. In particular,
according to an RG Kremlin source, they discussed joint actions in
the sphere of air defense. “To some extent, this was a continuation
of the discussion held in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization, but with greater emphasis on the CSTO space and the
fulfillment of obligations, including financial commitments, in the
military realm. . . .