Putin Acted to Protect Russians (Part 2-3)
An Interview with Ivan Prokhorov


President Putin Acted to Protect His Russian People


Ivan Prokhorov

Former Osaka-Russian Federation General-Counsel
He was born in Moscow in 1955. After he graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, he worked in the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Counselor for the Russian Embassy, and for 6 years starting from 2005, he worked as the Osaka-Russian Federation General-Counsel. He retired from the Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2012 and married a Japanese citizen. He is currently President of International Exchange, PHS.

President Putin clearly acted in order to protect the Russians living in Crimea.
The President’s approval rating went up because the Russians understood it.

Unlike Crimea, which used to be Russian territory, the situation in the two eastern Ukrainian provinces that declared independence is somewhat more complicated. President Putin and his advisors must be taking a dim view of such unilateral actions.

What’s important right now is to stop the bloodshed. The people of eastern Ukraine fear that they will be discriminated against, and are afraid that the interim government in Kiev will not protect their rights.

If one were to consider Russian character, one would remember that it resists oppression with all its might. If the interim government were to send troops into the Donetsk Province, which declared independence, then every man there would likely take up arms to fight. If they couldn’t be persuaded to begin talks, there would be significant bloodshed on both sides.


A World in Which America Is the Sole Superpower Is Unacceptable

The United States, which is criticizing Russia, believes there shouldn’t be two superpowers in the world. However, Russian perception is that “Russia is a superpower”. Its territorial size and natural resources are both the largest in the world, and its space program has shown significant achievements. I believe President Putin will not allow a unipolar world with the United States as its sole superpower. He is different from Gorbachev and Yeltsin in that he is capable of standing up to the West.

Furthermore, he was born and raised in a common household and before he attended university, he was a delinquent. Many young Russians of his age have survived similar circumstances, and they identify with him and understand his personality very well. These are more reasons that Putin has had such widespread support.


Russians Are Free-Willed, Selfish, and Compassionate

Russia looks for Japan to develop the Russian Far East. This area has a small population, and further development requires high levels of technology found in Japan.

Negotiations regarding the return of the northern territories should start with the signing of a peace treaty, based on the Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, which promised the return of the two islands. Japanese political classes often debate how much Japan should pay to get the territories back, but they aren’t something that can be bought with money.

I wish the people of Japan could get to know Russia’s character better. Its people are free-willed and a bit selfish, and they are also compassionate. If greater understanding and trust can be built up, the northern territories might be willingly returned without any money having ever exchanged any hands. It is my hope that such a Japan-Russia relationship can be achieved in the near future.

Putin Acted to Protect Russians (Part 2-3)
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