At the St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum, Vladimir Putin stressed that Russia has no plans to “close the window to Europe.” It was sometimes considered, but the Russian President rejected such plans, state agency TASS reported.
The Kremlin leader said: “We do not want to break relations with anyone, and we are not doing that. We don’t close anything – neither doors, nor windows, nor ventilation openings.” And: “We have no conflict with European society. We are having a hard time with the European elite.” If someone “has decided to isolate themselves, that’s their business, they are simply depriving themselves.”
The image of the “Window to Europe” has been a symbol of Russia’s engagement with the West since the time of Peter the Great.
Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is a violation of international law, the EU has imposed several economic sanctions against Russia and Russian personalities. The EU is currently considering a new crackdown on Russia’s lucrative oil export industry, which could potentially affect a third of Moscow’s access to global markets. At the same time, the European front against Putin is cracking, for example in Hungary and more recently in Slovakia.
Putin also discussed economic data. He claimed that the annual average economic growth would be more than three percent. “We used to say it cautiously: 2.7 per cent or 2.5 per cent or 2.8 per cent. Now we say it for sure: It will be more than 3 percent.” But he also acknowledged: “We have a lot of problems.”
Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed hope that Putin will run for another term as Russian president and thus potentially remain in power until at least 2030.