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Putin To Pull Russia Out Of Arms Treaty

From his fans at Al Jazeera:

Putin to freeze Nato arms treaty

Thursday April 26

The Russian president has said he was suspending Moscow’s obligations under the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty.

Vladimir Putin, in an annual speech to the Russian parliament, said the Nato signatories to the 1990 treaty were not respecting it, and the US plan to put missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic made matters worse.

He said Russia would look at withdrawing from the treaty altogether if negotiations he proposed with Nato countries failed to resolve Russia’s grievances.

Russia says the missile shield plan, which Washington says is intended to protect from attacks by so-called “rogue states”, is a threat to its national security.

In what was effectively his last state of the nation speech, Putin said foreign money was being used to meddle in Russia’s internal affairs and called for tougher laws to fight “extremism”.

Putin did not cite specific countries as sources of foreign funding, but the comments echoed recent Russian official complaints against US funding of democracy-promoting organisations in Russia.

Officials have repeatedly alleged that such funding aims to provoke mass opposition protests such as those that helped propel pro-Western leaders into power in neighbouring Georgia and Ukraine in recent years.

Police harshly cracked down on a series of opposition protest marches this year, beating some demonstrators and detaining hundreds.

Opposition forces charge Putin is strangling democracy through an array of measures to centralise power and increase the influence of large political parties such as his allied United Russia party, which dominates the Russian parliament.

But Putin, in his speech, said it was part of “a revolutionary step modernising the elections system … [it will] help the opposition widen its representation”. …

Ever since the US helped Russia gain entrance to the World Trade Organization Mr. Putin has let the mask slip.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, April 26th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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