MOSCOW, August 28. /TASS/. The assertions about Russia’s striving to split Europe are absurd, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview published by the Slovak newspaper Pravda.

“The assertions about Russia’s ostensible striving to weaken or to split Europe are absurd,” he said. “We have spoken continually for a buildup of broad and equitable cooperation on the European continent that along the principle of equal and indivisible security.”

“President Vladimir Putin’s well-known initiative to set up a common economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific also aims to attain this objective,” Lavrov said.

European politicians

Russia prefers not to characterize popular European politicians as populists and not to put such labels on them, Lavrov said. 

“We try not to think in this way, in this paradigm of notions,” he noted. “Of course, I would prefer not to use labels of this kind, I would say that we are talking about the politicians who are voted in by the majority of European citizens,” the Russian minister added. “This means that with their ideas and action programs, the politicians managed to respond to the voters’ needs and to offer their methods of resolving the issues that Europe is currently facing.”

“From a practical viewpoint, it is important to understand that Russian foreign policy does not have an ideological agenda, and the main criteria for estimating our partners is their readiness to develop equal and mutual relations with Russia basing on international law and mutual respect of each other’s interests,” Lavrov continued. “In this sense, we do not care too much about the party or ideological affiliation of certain political forces that came into power as a result of the citizen’s democratic choice.”

At the same time, the minister noted that “Russia is a European country itself, and the European Union is not only its neighbor, but also a key trade and economic partner.” “Of course, we care about what happens “at our gates,” he stated. “That is why we monitor the political and social processes taking place in European states.”

According to him, Russia is “open for constructive cooperation with all interested partners, not only in Europe.” “Moreover, we are ready to cooperate to the extent that our partners agree on,” Lavrov stressed. “In this spirit, we welcome the commitment of many European countries’ governments, including Slovakia, to maintain dialogue with Russia based on mutual respect. I am sure that the overwhelming majority of European citizens are interested in a peaceful and prosperous continent, and do not wish to go back to the confrontation of the Cold War period.”.

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