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Putin: US seeking 'absolute invulnerability'

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"It seems that NATO countries, and especially the United States, have developed a peculiar understanding of security which is fundamentally different from our view," Putin writes. "The Americans are obsessed with the idea of securing absolute invulnerability for themselves, which, incidentally, is a utopia, for both technological and geopolitical reasons. But that is exactly where the root of the problem lies…. Absolute invulnerability for one nation would mean absolute vulnerability for everybody else."

A domestic crackdown on foreign-funded nongovernment organizations and a politically active civil society could also be in the cards, some experts warn, as Putin reiterates accusations that Western powers are using such groups for "political engineering" in Russia and other countries.

"If we take each of the points in this long article one-by-one, we won't find anything new. But taken together, in combination, this article acquires a straightforward anti-American sense," says Dmitry Suslov, an expert with the Council on Foreign and Defense Policies, a leading Moscow think tank.

"This is deeply concerning, since it creates the impression that chances for improvement in US-Russian relations will diminish [after Putin is elected]. Putin is clearly disillusioned with the US, even angry at it… in his view America is to blame for everything that's going wrong in the world today, even terrorism, and Russia must prepare itself to act as a counterbalance to the US," he adds.

Defying the 'itch for military intervention'

Putin argues that Russia wants to be part of the global order, "but everything we do will be based on our own interests and goals, not on decisions other countries impose on us. Russia is only treated with respect when it is strong and stands firm on its own two feet.… Russia will call a spade a spade.… We have presented our arguments more than once. But unfortunately our Western partners ignore and dismiss them."

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