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Putin OKs strategy to counter Western influence

July 4, 2021

Amid tensions with the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a strategy to prevent "unfriendly actions" by the US and its allies that "threaten" his country's sovereignty.

Vladimir Putin
Putin signed a decree approving the strategy, according to the Kremlin websiteImage: Yevgeny Odinokov/TASS/dpa/picture alliance

Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a revised version of Russia's national security strategy, published Saturday, that outlines measures to respond to foreign influence.

The move comes amid growing tensions between Russia and the West as the United States and its allies carry out naval drills in the Black Sea.

Western countries have increasingly criticized the Kremlin in recent years over an array of issues, including alleged cyberattacks as well as the imprisonment of political opposition figures in Russia. 

Russian culture is 'under active attack'

According to the 44-page document, growing pressure from Western countries poses a danger to Russian society.

"The 'Westernization' of culture increases the danger that the Russian Federation will lose its cultural sovereignty," the new strategy says.

The document claims that Russian "traditional spiritual-moral and cultural-historical values are under active attack from the US and its allies," including transnational institutions.

While the document reaffirms Moscow's commitment to using diplomacy to resolve conflicts, it stresses that Russia "considers it legitimate to take symmetrical and asymmetric measures'' to prevent "unfriendly actions" by foreign states.

The document also claims that the West is trying to use Russia's social and economic problems to destabilize society and radicalize protest.

Putin accuses the West of 'provocation'

Just days before the strategy became public, Putin described as a "provocation" a June 23 incident in the Black Sea, when Russia said it fired warning shots at a British Navy ship in its territories. 

Infographic showing the counties participating in the Sea Breeze 2021 military drills in the Black Sea
The UK is participating in the Sea Breeze military drills in the Black Sea

Britain, which does not recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea, insisted the HMS Defender wasn't fired upon and said it was sailing in Ukrainian waters.

"It was clearly a provocation, a complex one involving not only the British but also the Americans,'' Putin said Wednesday, charging that a US surveillance aircraft was operating in concert with the British ship to monitor the Russian response.

fb/sms (AP, dpa)