ECHO MOSKVY: What is better, the export of democracy, or the export of socialist revolutions? You probably know that at the beginning of the last century there was a concept of exporting revolutions from the USSR. Now is the United States exporting democracy?
RICE: No, there are very serious differences, historical differences, and from the practical point of view there is no necessity to export democracy. The people themselves feel that they want to have those freedoms that you get from democratic development. If you ask people whether they want to be able to say what they want to say, whether they want to practice whatever religion they chose, whether they want the freedom to educate their children, girls and boys, whether they want to be free from that knock on the door from the secret police, the people will say, yes, of course we want this. And that is why there is no need to export democracy or to implement democracy from above. People must be given the opportunity to freely express their wishes. And they will choose democracy, and so here I think the old terminology about exporting democracy has gotten old.
ECHO MOSKVY:Then what is the role that the U.S. plays in the processes we witness now on the former Soviet territories, I mean the so-called velvet revolutions in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine? Did the U.S. play any role there? What was it?
RICE: The U.S. role only involved us saying that people have a right to control their future, that democracy should develop worldwide and that the U.S. and the EU supported civil society and NGO’s in those places. But the people of these countries took steps towards freedom deliberately, this is important, and I hope the Russian people will see that the U.S. does not want to restrict Russian influence in these countries. We actually see the situation not as a game where someone loses and someone wins, but as a game where everybody can win, when flourishing and economically developed countries evolve around Russia. I think this is a game with no losers.
ECHO MOSKVY:There is an opinion that Ukraine, Georgia and now Azerbaijan, where you are for some reason establishing military bases, have become areas where Russian and U.S. interests collide. The U.S. have arrived where the USSR, Russia, the Russian Empire used to have its interests. This is seen as a challenge.
RICE: I’d like to point out what I see as a difference between a 19th and 21st century view of these regions. We know about your historic, cultural, economic contacts of the Soviet period and earlier that of the Russian Empire. But a modern pattern of interaction is based on mutually beneficial contacts — in trade, economy, politics. There is no reason for Russian influence in these regions to diminish, if it’s based on transparent and beneficial contacts. What’s more, we do not regard ourselves as a country that wants, as you said, to take Russia’s place. We are not trying to overtake a zone of Russian influence, what we want is a free economic and trade development zone. Both the U.S. and Russia should maintain good relationships with these countries. And considering the geographical factor, Russia is bound to maintain a very close relationship with them.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
The transcript of her interview is online at MOSNEWS.COM. Here's an interesting question and answer about American support for democratic revolutions in the former USSR: