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Leaked Paper Says Kinder Foreign Policy Required

Published: May 14, 2010 (Issue # 1573)


MOSCOW Russias foreign policy should become much friendlier in order to attract more investment, especially from the West, according to a leaked Foreign Ministry paper.

The document, titled Program for Effective Use of Foreign Policy in the Long-Term Development of Russia, amounts to a new, softer foreign policy after years of hostile relations with the West, according to Russian Newsweek, which first published the document.

Officials at the Foreign Ministry and the Kremlin confirmed the documents existence Wednesday, but they rejected the notion that it amounted to a new doctrine.

The text is simply a response to President Dmitry Medvedevs call to make foreign policy a driving force for foreign investment, a senior Foreign Ministry official told The St. Petersburg Times, requesting anonymity because the document has not been officially released.

The president set a task of helping to set up favorable conditions for economic growth, he said.

In his state-of-the-nation address last November, Medvedev called on the Foreign Ministry to become the locomotive driving foreign investment to Russia money that he said was needed to implement his plan to modernize the economy.

The document calls for better relations with the United States and the European Union to achieve the countrys economic goals.

Russia needs to forge modernizing alliances with its Western European partners and the EU as a whole to attract foreign capital, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov wrote in the introduction to the 13,000-word paper, posted on Russian Newsweeks web site.

The programs spirit is a foreign policy with neither friends nor enemies but only interests, the magazine said.

But the document also calls for exploiting the economic crisis to acquire industrial and energy assets in former Soviet republics countries where Russian influence is often rejected as imperialism. For instance, it defines the three Baltic states as an area of seriously devalued national assets that is no longer attractive for investment from EU members.

It was unclear Wednesday if and how the text would translate into real policy changes.

Medvedev approved a draft document in February, and it has been sent to the government, where it is currently being finalized by First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, Newsweek reported.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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