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'I've grown fat, got a tan & now look like a Siberian'
Vladimir Lenin, 1897, in Siberian exile

Putin tells West: Siberia is Russian

By The Siberian Times reporter
18 December 2014

The president warns that the US and EU want to defang the Russian bear.

'This is about us defending our independence, our sovereignty and the right to exist'. Picture:

Vladimir Putin today hit back at Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, claiming the real motive was a hidden agenda to threaten the country's integrity and independence. In defiant remarks during his year-end press conference, the Russian president claimed the dream of influential voices in the West was to remove Sibera's vast mineral riches from the Kremlin.

'We have more than once heard from almost official figures that it is not fair that the whole of Siberia with all its immeasurable riches belongs to Russia, it is not fair,' he said. 'To snatch, to grab Texas from Mexico is fair. Whereas the fact that we are behaving as masters on our own land is not fair.'

Asked by Channel One correspondent Anton Vernitskiy whether the rouble turmoil and economic strains was 'a reckoning for Crimea', he replied: 'No, it is not a reckoning for Crimea. 'It is a reckoning, or rather, it is a payment, for our natural desire to preserve ourselves as a nation, as a civilization, as a state.'

When the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union broke up,  Russia 'absolutely opened up to' its Western partners. 'What did we see in return? A direct and full support of terrorism in the North Caucasus.'

Putin tells West: Siberia is Russian
Khamar-Daban natural reserve, Siberia. Picture: Alexey Bezrukov

More recently, the country faced 'unprecedented and clearly coordinated attempts to discredit' Russia's preparations for the Sochi Olympics and the Games themselves.

'In any issue, no matter what we do, we always encounter problems, opposition and a fight against us,' he said. 'Once they have pulled out its teeth and claws, there will no longer be any use for the bear. It will be stuffed and that's it.

'So this is not about Crimea. This is about us defending our independence, our sovereignty and the right to exist. This is what we all should realize.'

Vladimir Putin claimed Western sanctions accounted for around 25-30 per cent of the problems Russia was experiencing, including in the economy.

'Do we want to preserve ourselves, to fight and, incidentally, to use this opportunity to improve the structure of our economy, to become more independent, to get through it? Or do we want our hide to be hung on a wall? This is the choice we face and Crimea has nothing to do with it.'

Putin made clear Russia was now focusing on its Asian face. Demand for energy is growing in China, India, Japan and South Korean he said. 

'The Pacific Rim is developing faster than other parts of the world. In the energy sector, demand for energy sources in China, India, Japan and South Korea are growing by leaps and bounds. There everything is developing faster than in other regions. Why should we ignore it?'

Gas giants Gazprom and China's CNPC signed a deal on Siberian gas supplies via the 'eastern route' on 9 November.

Another agreement will see gas supplied by a 'western route' via the Altai Mountains.

Comments (10)

Mr./Mrs. Lazar: George W Bush the 2nd was the greatest president of the United States who ever lived. Give me a break Sir.
Sallerup, Madison Alabama
07/01/2015 04:09
Whom as ever disputed that Siberia is not Russian??
Mr./Mrs. Lazar in Moscow. What are you smoking? I thought Stalin was the greatest man ever lived in spite of the fact he murdered millions of Russians that did not agree with him.
sallerup, Madison alabama
07/01/2015 04:04
On February 28, 1845, the US Congress passed a bill that would authorize the United States to annex the Republic of Texas. On March 1, US President John Tyler signed the bill... On October 13, 1845, a large majority of voters in the Republic of Texas approved both the American offer and the proposed constitution that specifically endorsed slavery and emigrants bringing slaves to Texas. This constitution was later accepted by the US Congress, making Texas a US state on the same day annexation took effect, December 29, 1845.
Giga Gerard, The Hague, Netherlands
23/12/2014 02:16
Jaker you belong in an insane asylum. Perhaps one will take pity on you and take you in.
Lazar, Moscow
21/12/2014 23:17
The West is an empire; but it is also true that Russia is as much an empire as the West. Long ago, it was in fact described as the "mighty Russian empire". Even without Ukraine, Georgia, Lithuania, Estonia, etc., Russia is still the largest country in the world. The West has not fully come to grips with this fact. It will have to, sooner or later.

Russia is fortunate to have a leader like Putin who knows or has a vision of the proper and fitting place of Russia in the world stage. It is good that he is turning East. The rest of this century belongs to Asia. Putin, unlike his recent predecessors, or other modern Russian leaders, seems to be aware and recognizes Russia's Asian roots.

Russians are survivors. The recent sanctions by the EU and the US will, hopefully, reanimate their survival skills. In dealing with the West, Russia cannot afford to be complacent. It must forge its own independent path as a world power. Putin is the right leader for Russia at this point of its history.
E. Espinosa, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
20/12/2014 19:13
He was "Man of the Year" in Russia this year, what's new about that? He will be "Man (begone) of the Year" in 2015.

I can't wait for 2015...
Jaker, Dundalk
20/12/2014 03:52
Yes Vladimir ,Siberia belongs to russia;however ,Ukraine does NOT, Paranoia is systemic in a leader when he/she can't tell the difference between what is right and what is wrong , HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A HEALTHY 2015 TO ALL OF THE SIBERIAN TIME READERS AND MAY I MAKE A SPECIAL MENTION OF THE EDITORS ,JOURNALIST, PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO HAVE ALL BEEN PROFESSIONAL IN THEIR WORK , WOW ! SOME GREAT STORIES , SOME GREAT PHOTOGRAPHY . AND SOME GREAT ARCHAEOLOGY FINDS , THANKS SO MUCH Patrick ps Tell Vladimir ,we dont want siberia but we do want to share its beauty and fascinating history
19/12/2014 12:00
Vladimir Putin will be remebered as one of the greatest political figures to ever live on planet earth, defender of Christianity in time of persecution, a leader of true spiritual/natural order, and a warrior against evil. All the good people of the world are supporting you Mr.Putin.
Lazar, Moscow
19/12/2014 08:22
The West is an empire, as Putin says. See Gregory A. Barton, Informal Empire and the Rise of One World Culture (Palgrave, 2014)
Terry Anderson, Richmond, USA
19/12/2014 03:38
Putin is correct, the West is an empire and is acting like one. See Gregory A. Barton, Informal Empire and the Rise of One World Culture (Palgrave, 2014).
terry anderson, richmond, USA
19/12/2014 03:35

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