Russia shares West values but defends its stance - Putin aide
The Group of Eight industrialized nations should regard Russia as a partner sharing Western values but prepared to defend its positions, an aide to the Russian president said Tuesday.
Igor Shuvalov, Russia's representative to G8, reiterated Russia's adherence to commonly accepted principles in the face of recent international criticism.
"We share Western values... but consider it a crime to keep silent on a number of issues and will convince the international community that we know what is more correct," he said.
The aide called for international recognition of Russia as a partner after the G8 leaders meet in St. Petersburg.
"The main political event of the summit should be that after the summit... Russia should be viewed as a difficult partner who in the final analysis shares all our [Western] values," he said.
Shuvalov added that Russia had "its own vision of European and global problems."
"Sometimes Russia is expected to keep silent," he said. "Russia is often asked via private channels not to express its position of non-agreement as this may harm other G8 leaders when their countries begin these or those proactive actions."
He said Western countries often did not want to listen to Russia's opinion as they believed that Russia was interested in them having problems.
Shuvalov said Russia could not keep silent on a number of issues threatening the international community and democracy and should defend its position in the UN Security Council using its veto.
"We should toughly express our position acting via UN mechanisms, including the right of veto in the Security Council, in cases when we understand that if we keep silent everything will end in major difficulties or a ... conflict for everyone," he said. "Therefore, we should always observe this balance."