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   Russia Claims Its Sphere of Influence in the World

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8/31/2008 7:00 pm

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New York Times

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News

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Entered 9/1/2008, Updated 9/1/2008

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By ANDREW E. KRAMER Published: August 31, 2008 MOSCOW — President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia on Sunday laid out what he said would become his government’s guiding principles of foreign policy after its landmark conflict with Georgia — notably including a claim to a “privileged” sphere of influence in the world. Speaking to Russian television in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, a day before a summit meeting in Brussels where European leaders were to reassess their relations with Russia, Mr. Medvedev said his government would adhere to five principles. Russia, he said, would observe international law. It would reject what he called United States dominance of world affairs in a “unipolar” world. It would seek friendly relations with other nations. It would defend Russian citizens and business interests abroad. And it would claim a sphere of influence in the world. In part, Mr. Medvedev reiterated long-held Russian positions, like his country’s rejection of American aspirations to an exceptional role in world affairs after the end of the cold war. The Russian authorities have also said previously that their foreign policy would include a defense of commercial interests, sometimes citing American practice as justification. In his unabashed claim to a renewed Russian sphere of influence, Mr. Medvedev said: “Russia, like other countries in the world, has regions where it has privileged interests. These are regions where countries with which we have friendly relations are located.” Asked whether this sphere of influence would be the border states around Russia, he answered, “It is the border region, but not only.”


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