In one of his now numerous articles published before this weekend’s upcoming election, Russian Prime Minister (and future President) Vladimir Putin has offered an olive branch to Europe and called for the creation of a “Union of Europe”.That’s right, a Union of Europe, not a European Union — a free trade zone (and perhaps more) stretching from from “Lisbon to Vladivostok”.
It’s hard not to detect a degree of schadenfreude in the article, published on Monday in multiple outlets (available here in English at Ria Novosti), especially when Putin writes:
Russia is actively participating in the international effort to support the ailing European economies, and is consistently working with its partners to formulate collective decisions under the auspices of the IMF. Russia is not opposed in principle to direct financial assistance in some cases.
The Russian PM goes on to call for specific measures, such as a relaxation of visa rules, as well as, perhaps unsurprisingly, more cooperation in the energy (ie. gas) sphere.
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