Russia: West pushes democracy with 'iron and blood'


A column of Russian armoured vehicles moves towards the Roki tunnel on the border with Russia as they leave South Ossetia on August 23, 2008.


Dmitry Kostyukov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the West of trying to promote democracy through "iron and blood," on Saturday.

Lavrov was defending Moscow's refusal to join the countries calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, while addressing a foreign and defense policy council meeting, Reuters reported.

According to the Voice of Russia, he said, "Attempts to export a specific political system to other countries could encourage extremists and delay democratic changes. This issue is of tremendous importance and is closely related to that of future world order."

He continued, "The fact is, advancing democracy through iron and blood just does not work, and this has been made clear in recent months - the past year-and-a-half," according to Reuters

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Coincidentally, earlier in the week former British Ambassador to Russia Tony Brenton wrote an opinion editorial in The Guardian, urging the European Union to pressure Russia on its human rights record and foreign policies.

He wrote, "The Russians see themselves as Europeans. The best of them want their country to meet the highest European standards. A Europe firmly united in support of those standards [of governance and human rights] would be a major shot in the arm for those who are taking real risks to move Russia into the European mainstream."

Chinese official news agency Xinhua noted that Lavrov also said Russia would strengthen its defense capabilities, not to build up its status but because of vital necessity. Lavrov said the growing confrontational sentiment around the Euro-Atlantic nations would lead to a deadlock, which was not Russia's choice.

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