Medvedev, with Putin, at a Victory Day celebration, 2012
Medvedev, with Putin, at Victory Day celebration, 2012

Dmitry Medvedev in His Own Words: From Modernizing Liberal to Hateful Hawk

January 04, 2023
RM Staff

When Russian President Vladimir Putin stepped down after a second term in 2008, making way for his protégé Dmitry Medvedev to have a stint in the Kremlin, speculation about which man was genuinely in charge became something of a sport. Now that Putin once more faces the constitutionally mandated end of his presidential term in 2024, there’s a new question: Will Medvedev again be in the running as a potential successor?

Two years into Medvedev’s first and only presidential term, U.S. diplomats had no doubt that Putin—appointed prime minister as soon as Medvedev had taken office—was the main man in "Russia's bicephalous ruling format." While the arrangement lasted, Medvedev played up his credentials as a liberal and was routinely referred to as such in the West. He sang the praises of personal freedoms and claimed that “trying to curtail press freedom is a totally hopeless thing to do.” He said Russia’s long-term goal was modernization and loved gadgets (a dubious hallmark of liberalism, even then). Ultimately, though, he kept the seat warm for his boss: Putin returned to the presidency in 2012, while Medvedev hopped over to the prime minister’s office, where he remained until 2020. Perhaps Medvedev’s most progressive initiative—regulations introduced in 2009 that obligated officials to publicly declare their income and assets—was canceled by Putin in late December 2022.

Today, Medvedev serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, first deputy chairman of Russia’s Military-Industrial Commission and chairman of the Kremlin-created political party United Russia, which formally controls parliament.  And there is no visible trace of the liberal left in him, as many journalists have noted. His public comments about Russia’s war in Ukraine have positioned him as one of the most vitriolic of all Russian hawks, with Ukraine’s leadership and its Western supporters as perhaps his most frequent targets. “I hate them,” he wrote on Telegram in June without specifying which “they” he means. “They’re lowlifes and rejects. They want death for us, for Russia. And while I’m alive, I will do everything [I can] so that they disappear.” 

One obvious explanation for Medvedev’s transformation is a struggle to remain politically relevant in a Moscow where hawks rule. As political scientist Ekaterina Schulmann observed, “He’s trying to save himself from political oblivion by out-Heroding Herod, and consequently posturing as a candidate in a Kremlin ‘Apprentice’ show.” Another Russian political scientist, Alexei Makarkin, concurs: “The goal is to remain in the elite.”

Below we have started collecting a sampling of Medvedev’s quotes since his time as president, meant to shed light on his views on issues that impact vital or important U.S. interests.


I. U.S. and Russian priorities for the bilateral agenda

Nuclear security and safety:

  • It seems like Kyiv … and their Western patrons are ready to orchestrate a new Chernobyl. Rockets and shells are falling closer and closer to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant reactor. They say it's Russia. This is obviously 100 percent nonsense even for the stupid Russophobic public [in the West]. … What can one say. Don’t forget that there are nuclear sites in the European Union, too. And incidents are possible there as well. (MT, 08.12.22)

North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs:

  • As far as North Korea goes, the situation arising there now worries me more [than Iran’s nuclear program] because Iran at least has communications with the international community, while North Korea has … all but cut off contact. (RIAN, 04.07.09)
  • In August 2011, Medvedev met with North Korea’s then leader Kim Jong Il, who made his first trip to Russia in nearly a decade. Reportedly the two discussed potential energy projects but also “how to restart the long-stalled six-party talks on disarming Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal in return for much-needed economic aid.” When Kim thanked Medvedev for flying out to Siberia for the meeting, Medvedev reportedly replied: When it comes to meetings with our partners, it’s not that far.  (LAT, 08.24.11)

Iran and its nuclear program:

  • We do have our own very developed relations with Iran. I truly believe that Iran needs a system of motives, of incentives with regards to its nuclear problem. … Iran must cooperate with [the] IAEA, that's for sure, if they want to develop [a] nuclear energy program. It is their duty, not a choice. Otherwise, indeed, the question will always be asked, what are they up to after all? That's very clear. (CNN rush transcript, 09.20.09)
  • We have never delivered anything to Iran—we will not deliver anything to Iran which is beyond international law. This implies that we have something to deliver, but they're always defensive systems. That's our clear-cut position, and I will adhere to that when adopting final decision on all existing contracts with Iran. (CNN rush transcript, 09.20.09)
  • Now that a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program has been reached in Vienna, new opportunities for deeper bilateral ties have opened up… Russia has always insisted … that the situation … could have only a political-diplomatic solution… [The new deal] will make it possible not just to return Iran into the fold of normal economic and political ties with the international community but also to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East. (TASS, 08.05.15)

Humanitarian impact of the Ukraine conflict:

  • During fighting in eastern Ukraine, Medvedev, then prime minister, ordered his Cabinet to draw up plans for providing humanitarian aid to the region—primarily food and medicine, but also natural gas after reports that Ukraine had cut supplies: People there should not freeze, so prepare the necessary proposals. (TASS, 02.19.15)
  • Speaking about the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which was taken over by Russian forces in May 2022 after two months of constant Russian shelling that, according to local officials, destroyed much of the city and killed thousands of civilians: The city has survived. It is now being rebuilt… Everyone who … has overcome this very difficult period of, essentially, truly Nazi rule, in Mariupol and elsewhere, deserves maximum respect. (RIAN, 12.01.22)

Military aspects of the Ukraine conflict and their impacts:

  • Medvedev said the "special operation … is proceeding in accordance with the most sparing, moderate" scenario and that the Russian military is conducting military operations only against the Armed Forces of Ukraine: If the situation had been different, then, as you understand, this military campaign could have ended much faster. But there would be completely different consequences for Ukraine. Its infrastructure would be completely destroyed, decision-making centers, authorities and so on would be destroyed. We didn't go for that option. (Meduza, 08.28.22)
  • The Ukrainian state in its current configuration with the Nazi political regime will pose a constant, direct and clear threat to Russia. Therefore, in addition to protecting our people and protecting the borders of the country, the goal of our future actions, in my view, should be the complete dismantling of the political regime of Ukraine. (Telegram, 10.10.22)
  • The fastest way to escalate the conflict in Ukraine to the irreversible consequences of a world war is to supply the psychos in Kyiv with long-range MLRS. (Telegram, 10.11.22)
  • It seems Israel is planning on supplying weapons to the Kyiv regime. A very rash move. It would destroy all interstate relations between our countries. (Telegram, 10.17.22)
  • Russia, for reasons obvious to all reasonable people, has not yet used its entire arsenal of possible means of destruction. And it did not strike at all possible enemy targets located in populated areas. And not only out of our inherent human kindness. Everything has its time. (Telegram, 11.12.22)

Punitive measures related to Ukraine and their impact globally:

  • It so happens that whoever I discuss these sanctions with [imposed over the Ukraine crisis beginning in 2014], for some reason, everyone looks down, at the floor, as if they have nothing to do with it… But this position is not quite honest. This was the consolidated decision of all our European friends. They all voted for this. Nobody blocked or opposed the vote. Therefore, it’s a consolidated position. … Say it openly: ‘We wanted to punish you.’ (Time, 02.15.16)
  • The U.S. president's signing of the package of new sanctions against Russia will have a few consequences. First, it ends hopes for improving our relations with the new U.S. administration. Second, it is a declaration of a full-fledged economic war on Russia. Third, the Trump administration has shown its total weakness by handing over executive power to Congress in the most humiliating way. (Facebook, 08.02.17)
  • We will steadily continue our work on developing the economy and social sector, take efforts to substitute imports and solve major national tasks, relying mostly on ourselves. We have learned to do so in the past few years, in conditions of almost closed financial markets as well as foreign investors' and creditors' fear of investing in Russia upon penalty of sanctions against third parties and countries. To some extent, this has even been to our advantage, although sanctions are meaningless overall. We will cope. (Facebook, 08.02.17)
  • I cannot agree with the assessment of sanctions as a “necessary response.” Necessary for whom? Crimeans who made their conscious and free choice within the framework of one of the most democratic procedures—the referendum? Or Russians in eastern Ukraine? (Luxembourger Worth, 03.05.19)
  • What was the real purpose of these sanctions? Undermine our economy. As you can see, this attempt failed. Today, sanctions only hinder the development of relations with European partners, not to mention the losses that everyone bears. (Luxembourger Worth, 03.05.19)

Ukraine-related negotiations:

  • The pointlessness and even harmfulness of relations with the current leaders of Ukraine also lies in the fact that the country is run by ignorant and unreliable people. They constantly change their position to please their overseas masters and [adjust to] the political situation. This is how they understand the art of diplomacy. … Toward such "partners" in international relations, who compete in constant fibs and empty talk, there is not and cannot be any trust. … [N]egotiations with them are absolutely meaningless. (Kommersant, 10.11.21)
  • NATO’s secretary general blurted out that Ukraine will win as a sovereign, independent state. But [he] said nothing about its territorial integrity. Like, it’ll win but, apparently, within [some] new, much reduced boundaries of its independence and, all sovereign like, will sit down at the negotiating table. This is already progress. (Telegram, 11.29.22)
  • Nearly a month before Russia’s full-blown invasion: It's obvious here that the most important and single route is actually to come to agreement on security guarantees, [through] political-diplomatic means, negotiations, the use of the principle of the indivisibility of security. (Reuters, 01.27.22)
  • [T]here is no point in negotiations with the current leadership due to known reasons: its anti-Russian course, the decision they make, including, for example, the decision on the so-called indigenous peoples or the language, and the decision they do not implement, such as the Minsk Agreements, for example. But, first, there is always hope for the best, and second, the political life works this way: a pendulum will swing back and forth regardless. (TASS, 01.27.22)
  • What the West’s non-cause-promoting [i.e., objective] little magazines and our mass media should note in particular about Zelensky is his refusal to negotiate. Thanks to this, Russia can finish its work to the very end … without wasting its energy on unneeded compromises. (Telegram, 12.08.22)
  • Any negotiations with the current puppet Ukrainian leadership have become absolutely meaningless. (RG, 12.25.22)

Great Power rivalry/new Cold War/NATO-Russia relations:

  • In the future, Russia will be an active and respected member of the international community of free nations. It will be strong enough to exert a significant influence on the formulation of decisions that have global implications. It will be able to prevent anyone's unilateral actions from harming our national interests or adversely affecting our internal affairs, from reducing Russians' level of income or damaging their security. (, 09.10.09)
  • I expect that our American partners will hear us on the Ukraine and Georgia issues. As for Ukraine, no referendum was carried out there. Two-thirds of the population do not support joining NATO in that country, but certain leaders in the Ukraine are relentless, in a constant pursuit to push the state into NATO. (CNN rush transcript, 09.20.09)
  • We do have normal good relations with the northern alliance [NATO]. They are now stabilized after the harsh period of last year. Now we want to develop them further, but one needs to remember that NATO is a military bloc, as its missiles are pointed at Russia, and if the number of countries joining NATO is getting greater and greater and NATO [is] approaching Russia, it doesn't give us any satisfaction. We don't like it. We're openly stating that. (CNN rush transcript,, 09.20.09)
  • I never said that a new Cold War has begun. I said that NATO’s decisions are pushing us toward a new Cold War. I said this and I will again confirm it. Because before me, my former counterpart Mr. [Jens] Stoltenberg—he is now NATO secretary general—spoke [at the Munich conference], but what did he say? He said Russia should be contained; [military] contingents should be beefed up and defenses mounted along the borders in all areas. If this isn’t preparing for another Cold War, what is it for then? For a hot war? Such is the reality. (Time, 02.15.16)
  • [Georgia's entry to NATO] could provoke a terrible conflict. I don’t understand what they are doing this for. … As for the recent NATO decision reaffirming its commitment to eventually admit Georgia, what can I say to this? It is an absolutely irresponsible position and a threat to peace. … [W]e view Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. We understand that if any other country claims that they are part of its national territory, this may have severe consequences. Therefore, I hope that the NATO leadership will have enough sense not to take any steps in this direction. (Reuters, 08.07.18)
  • We are interested in peace and stability in Europe, and, of course, we are engaged in dialogue with NATO member countries. We are cooperating with them on a whole range of issues, we are cooperating constructively. And we expect the same approach from our partners. (Luxembourger Worth, 03.05.19)
  • Of course, they [the West] did not like the fact that Russia has again become a strong power, capable of defending its interests, protecting its own citizens in other countries. Fierce Russophobia … literally "broke loose," choking in impotent rage. After all, our country must be driven into a corner, put on its knees and re-educated according to the patterns of the Anglo-Saxon world. Made weak and completely submissive. Better yet, tear it apart. (Telegram, 03.17.22)
  • Any attempt to encroach on Crimea is a declaration of war on our country. And if a country that is a member of NATO does this, this is a conflict with the entire North Atlantic alliance. Third World War. Total disaster. (WSJ, 06.28.22)
  • In the event of such an expansion of NATO [the accession of Sweden and Finland], the length of its land borders with Russia will more than double. We will have to strengthen these borders. The Baltic region’s nonnuclear status will become a thing of the past, the group of land and naval forces in the northern sector will be seriously increased. No one is happy with this, not the citizens of these two NATO candidate countries. It’s not the best prospect for them to have our Iskanders, hypersonic missiles, warships with nuclear weapons on their doorstep. (WSJ, 06.28.22)
  • We must do everything so that the third world war does not happen, and the policy of our country is aimed precisely at this. [Medvedev] explained that World War III could start if Ukraine joined NATO and then launched a military operation against Russian territory. (Meduza, 08.28.22)
  • Western countries are pushing the world toward a global war. And only the complete and final victory of Russia serves as a guarantee against world conflict. (Telegram, 11.01.22)
  • It is Russia today that is shaping the future world order, and not the states with Britain or ignorant Kyiv. And this new, equal[-rights-based] world order will be built. (Telegram, 11.12.22)
  • Russia alone is fighting NATO and the Western world. Therefore, any parallels with the past are incorrect or conditional. Except for one thing: we alone can destroy a powerful enemy or enemy alliances. (Telegram, 11.12.22)
  • Since the moment of its formation, NATO has repeatedly proved its purely closed corporate essence, acting in the interests of a handful of Anglo-Saxon countries and their henchmen. At the same time, no more than 12% of the world's population lives in NATO countries. The civilized world does not need this organization. It must repent before humanity and be dissolved as a criminal entity. (Telegram, 11.29.22)
  • Rabid pseudo-Ukrainian lapdogs with Russian last names, choking on their own toxic drool, declare that their enemy is within the boundaries of Russia… We have a more difficult situation: Our enemy has dug in not just in the Kyiv region of our very own Little Russia [a historical term for parts of Ukraine that has been periodically resuscitated] but in Europe, North America, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and … other places loyal to the modern-day Nazis. So we are ramping up production of the most powerful means of destruction, including those that are based on new principles. (Telegram, 12.11.22)
  • After a rumination on international humanitarian law, Medvedev gives a list of legitimate targets in war, then poses what he calls “the main question”: Can the hybrid war declared de facto by NATO against our country be seen as the alliance’s entry into a war against Russia? Can the deliveries of huge volumes of arms to Ukraine be seen as an attack on Russia? And, consequently, are the NATO military targets listed … above legitimate military targets? The heads of NATO countries unanimously claim that … [they] are not at war with Russia. But everyone understands perfectly well that this is not the case. (Telegram, 12.16.22)

China-Russia: Allied or aligned?

  • Our countries are close neighbors bound by centuries-old traditions of friendship and trust. And we highly appreciate that the Russian-Chinese relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation, entering a new era, have reached an unprecedented level, have become a model of efficiency, responsibility and commitment to the future. Our countries defined the basic principles and guidelines for joint work in the Treaty of Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation, the 20th anniversary of which we celebrated last year. (Chinese Embassy in Russia, 03.02.22)
  • A mutually beneficial energy alliance is being formed between our countries. Along with long-term supplies of Russian hydrocarbons to China, we plan to implement a number of major joint projects. One of them is the construction of four new power units at Chinese nuclear power plants with the participation of State Corporation Rosatom, which began last year. All this significantly strengthens the energy security of China and the Asian region as a whole. (Chinese Embassy in Russia, 03.02.22)

Missile defense:

  • A European missile defense system can become truly effective and sustainable only in the case of equal participation of Russia. (MT, 05.15.11)
  • In late 2011, Medvedev announced a set of measures to counter planned U.S. missile defense deployments in Europe, which one analyst described as sounding “more threatening than it actually is.” (MIIS, 12.02.11)
  • Three days before a meeting with Obama at a nuclear security summit in South Korea, Medvedev “reiterated his objections … to NATO’s missile defense plan, saying it would undermine nuclear parity and demanding written proof that Russia is not the ultimate target.” (WP, 03.23.12)
  • [U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty was meant to hide the country’s plans] to have a free hand to develop an advanced system of national missile defense. … This is lame, if not to say erroneous, logic. Russia has always had enough possibilities to protect its national security in case of such steps by Washington. The Americans still have no reliable shield against other countries which possess nuclear weapons, including the ones they sought to make outcasts of through sanctions. (TASS, 12.14.21)
  • If, as [NATO chief Jens] Stoltenberg has hinted, NATO supplies the Kyiv fanatics with Patriot [missile defense] complexes along with NATO personnel, they will immediately become a legitimate target of our Armed Forces. I hope the Atlantic impotents understand this. (Telegram, 11.29.22)

Nuclear arms:

  • What has Mr. Biden in fact said? He said almost literally the following: Russia agrees with us on the nuclear weapons issue because their economy is weak and they cannot maintain that weaponry themselves. It's a mistake! First, the nuclear weapons are such a sphere of influence that any state who has it pays great attention to it, and I'm sure that even the weakest states would reduce their defense expenditures last of all. Therefore, it is my understanding that if this is a reflection of the opinion of one individual, then it's the question for the U.S. administration. But if it's a reflection of the policy, then we'll need to give it thought, about what's going on and what's about to happen. (CNN, 09.20.09)
  • [N]ot Russia at all but the United States of America is withdrawing from the basic treaty in the field of global security—the INF Treaty. That is why the president of Russia, as a mirror response, signed a decree suspending the implementation of the INF Treaty until the United States eliminates its violations of its obligations. (Luxembourger Worth, 03.05.19)
  • Our hypersonic missiles are highly accurate and reliable, so nothing threatens your [Luxembourg’s] gardens. Speaking seriously, we do not threaten anyone, and even more so we are not going to attack anyone and fight with anyone. Any attempts at nuclear blackmail, in our opinion, lead to increased international tension. (Luxembourger Worth, 03.05.19)
  • Everyone will be calmer when all American nuclear weapons return to U.S. territory, and the infrastructure in Europe that allows the storage, maintenance and rapid deployment of these weapons will be eliminated. This also applies to exercises related to the preparation for the use of nuclear weapons, which are regularly held in NATO countries. These exercises add nothing but unnecessary worry, primarily to the NATO countries themselves. (Luxembourger Worth, 03.05.19)
  • We have, if you like, a genetic aversion to war. We view our nuclear arsenal solely as a deterrent, a guarantee of Russia's national security. This is also enshrined in our military doctrine, which is purely defensive in nature. This is an open document, and anyone can read it. (Luxembourger Worth, 03.05.19)
  • On the possibility of the International Criminal Court (ICC) punishing Moscow for alleged crimes in Ukraine: The idea to punish a country that has the largest nuclear arsenal is absurd in and of itself. And potentially creates a threat to the existence of mankind. (Telegram, 07.06.22)
  • We will do everything to prevent the appearance of nuclear weapons in our hostile neighbors. For example, in Nazi Ukraine, which is directly controlled today by NATO countries. It is pointless to count on the reason and political will of the Kyiv regime. But there is still a fragile hope for common sense and a sense of self-preservation of the enemy countries condoning them. They understand that if the threat to Russia exceeds the established danger limit, we will have to respond. (Telegram, 09.27.22)
  • Russia has the right to use nuclear weapons if necessary. In predetermined cases. In strict accordance with the Basic Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Deterrence. If we or our allies are attacked using this type of weapon. Or if aggression with the use of conventional weapons threatens the very existence of our state. The President of Russia spoke about this directly recently. (Telegram, 09.27.22)
  • If Russia does not win, then, apparently, Ukraine [does]. The goal of Ukraine in the war was named by the Kyiv regime—the return of all territories that previously belonged to it. That is their rejection from Russia. This is a threat to the existence of our state and the collapse of today's Russia. And that means a direct reason for applying clause 19 of the Basic Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Deterrence. (Telegram, 11.01.22)
  • The only thing that stops our enemies today is that Russia will be guided by the Basic Principles of State Policy on Nuclear Deterrence and it will act in accordance with these principles if a real threat emerges. The trouble is that in this case, no one will be able to subsequently figure out what it was—a retaliatory strike or a preventive one… [The world is balancing on] the edge of WWIII and nuclear catastrophe… Is the West ready to unleash a full-fledged war against us, including a nuclear one, with the hands of Kyiv? Western politicians avert their eyes and hesitate to give an honest answer. (RG, 12.25.22, Reuters, 12.25.22)
  • New disarmament agreements are currently unrealistic and unnecessary. The sooner the maximum security guarantees that suit our country are received, the sooner the situation will normalize. If we do not receive them, the tension will persist indefinitely. (RG, 12.25.22)


  • [W]e pledged today to take additional steps to safeguard the citizens of our countries, and at the same time safeguard civil liberties and fundamental freedoms. Our military structures are considering questions regarding the conduct of joint counterterrorism exercises. … We also aim to jointly lead an effort within the Group of Eight countries on the role and experiences of victims and survivors of terrorism, while we continue to work closely together within the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, a successful U.S.-Russia project created in 2006. (Joint Statement by President Barack Obama and President Dmitry A. Medvedev of Russia on Counterterrorism Cooperation, 06.24.10)
  • Nor did the Americans achieve the main goal, which President George W. Bush announced after the September 11 attacks—to defeat terrorism in Afghanistan. Due to numerous U.S. miscalculations, including in Middle East policy, terrorists continue to operate on the territory of the country. The Americans were unable to oppose the militants of the Islamic State with anything … [and they] moved en masse from Syria to Afghanistan. According to the intelligence services, there are now tens of thousands of IS fighters and their followers in the region, a significant part of whom are concentrated in the northern and eastern provinces bordering the states of Central Asia. (, 09.13.21)
  • [W]e are talking about countering terrorism, which has not disappeared in twenty years. Moreover, it is obvious that this is not a problem of a single region, but of all mankind. Terrorists at any moment can commit attacks no less bloody than in September 2001. This means that it is necessary to direct the efforts of the entire international community to combat the evil that the United States and its allies have not been able to eradicate. (, 09.13.21)
  • Russia has always been ready for such work [countering terrorism], despite difficult relations with the West. For the good of the people, the governments of different countries should put aside their differences. Of particular importance is the deepening of cooperation between Russia and the United States in the fight against terrorism. However, for this our partners need to part with the illusions of their own exclusivity. No nation, no single alliance is capable of solving this problem on its own. Only together, showing the necessary solidarity, can we destroy this evil. (, 09.13.21)

Conflict in Syria:

  • We simply believe that there is currently no other legitimate authority in Syria apart from Bashar al-Assad. He is the incumbent president, whether anyone likes it or not. Taking him out of this equation would lead to chaos. We have seen that on numerous occasions in the Middle East, when countries simply fell apart, as it happened with Libya, for example. It is for that reason that he should take part in all the procedures and processes, but it should be up to the Syrian people to decide his destiny. (Euronews, 02.14.16)
  • Russia doesn’t intend to stay in Syria forever. We are there to fulfill a limited, specific mission that is related to protecting our national interests, albeit at the request of President Assad. (Time, 02.15.16)
  • [W]e are involved in a military campaign that we undertook to protect our national interests. What does this mean? It means that we must prevent extremists and terrorists from getting to Russia from Syria. This is an obvious thing. When you have thousands of militants from Russia and Central Asia fighting in Syria, this is a real threat to us. That is why we made this decision. (Time, 02.15.16)
  • Russia’s position is that there is no military solution to the Syrian issue. This is not about the fate of certain leaders, although, certainly they cannot be taken out of this context. This does not concern the discussion on the personal issue linked to Bashar Assad, although he is current president and legitimate president and should take part in this. (TASS via RBTH, 11.04.16)
  • The Trump administration has proved that it will viciously fight the legitimate government of Syria—in blatant violation of the norms of international law, without the approval of the U.N., violating [the United States’] own procedures establishing the need to notify Congress about any military operation that isn’t tied to an attack on the U.S., and on the verge of a conflict with Russia. (The Moscow Times, 04.07.17)

Cyber security:

  • Cyber sovereignty must be preserved; we must be independent but not closed. (, 11.30.17)
  • At a minimum, unlike many other areas, they [the U.S.] actively ask for cooperation here [in the cyber domain], [and] share certain information, because there is no way without it. And all these cases, all these operations that were carried out, are, in essence, joint operations. It seems to me that this is a really good example, especially since the real threats from this are very large, they concern a huge number of people." (RIAN, 01.27.22)
  • In reference to hacking of his page in Russia’s VK social network: This is a manifestation of the information war. (RIAN, 08.04.22)

Elections interference:

  • After Medvedev appeared on Israeli television amid allegations that Moscow had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Russian media paraphrased him as saying that influencing U.S. elections from the outside is impossible: President Vladimir Putin said it correctly a few days ago: What’s America, some sort of banana republic that can be pressured and told, “Now your president is going to be so-and-so”? … The American political machine is very powerful. It actively interferes in political processes on every continent and they [Americans] consider this totally normal, acceptable… In other words, they have the right to do a lot, but other countries shouldn’t do anything of the sort. (EurAsia Daily, 11.03.16)
  • According to the data we have, during those three-day [parliamentary] elections [Sept. 17-19, 2021] the servers of the Central Elections Commission sustained a huge number of attacks. According to the Ministry of Digital Development, about 50% of these attacks originated in the United States of America. Now, isn’t that reason enough for an investigation? (RT, 09.28.21)
  • [Big Tech has] enormous power. … [I]n essence, they interfered in the political life of the Russian Federation. … [Prior to the first day of voting] that whole machine was whirring and … promoting videos of a person serving a criminal sentence [opposition politician Alexei Navalny]. And … they did it in order to push their own political line in someone else’s country. That’s unacceptable. (RT, 09.28.21)

Energy exports from CIS:

  • We proceed from the assumption that Europe will remain a major consumer of Russian gas. Despite the dynamic development of green energy and the LNG segment. In any case, as long as decisions are made on the basis of economic expediency. … In recent years, Russian gas supplies to the European market have been growing. … So, I think that in the foreseeable future, Russian gas will cover a significant part of the energy needs of European countries. (Luxembourger Worth, 03.05.19)
  • In response to the Western price cap on Russian oil: These actions by our “friends” remind me of a crowd of carousing burghers who, after gorging on schnapps, frankfurters and beer, take their first dip in icy water. Some of them will quickly sober up and jump out. Some will learn to swim in freezing-cold water but badly… And some will drown. And they’ll be buried with dreary toasts about them falling in an unequal fight with the Russian bear and General Frost. Well, good riddance! (Telegram, 12.05.22)
  • The [European] decision on a “price cap for gas” is … dictated not by economic logic but by a zoological hatred for Russia based on the maniacal thesis that “Russians are to blame for everything.” … Moreover, it [the measure] has been adopted with a huge number of caveats making it possible to block its use. Hence, it won’t seriously work. … [I]t’s been adopted because of the EU’s powerlessness… Simply based on the principle “we’ve got to do something.” (Telegram, 12.23.22)

Climate change:

  • I support the development of alternative energy. … [O]ur country is one of the leaders in the field of hydropower. In Russia, large hydroelectric power plants produce about 18% of electricity. Of course, the dream for many is their own home, which is provided with environmentally friendly energy from the sun or wind. … For Russia, with our open spaces, this is especially true. And we are now working on creating the conditions for its development. A corresponding draft federal law has been prepared. (Luxembourger Worth, 03.05.19)

U.S.-Russian economic ties:

  • To be updated.

U.S.-Russian relations in general:

  • Interviewer Fareed Zakaria says: “Russia's great challenge, as you have outlined, is modernizing its economy. To do that, it needs to have constant interaction and good relations with the centers of modernity in Western Europe and the United States and Japan. Russia's strategic challenge is a radical, violent Islam and Islamic movements to its south, a complicated, potentially chaotic situation in the Far East, where there will be 30 million Russians and 1 billion Chinese facing each other. In these circumstances, to have these constant frictions with the West and with the United States does not serve Russia's national interests.” Medvedev responds (through translator): I agree with you almost completely, with one caveat. Indeed we need to have good developed relations with the West in all senses of the word … precisely because of what you have just mentioned, that there are so many challenges we need to respond to jointly, we need to develop good relations with countries, including those you've just referred to in other parts of the world. We are living in a multi-polar world, which is acknowledged by everybody today, and we count on good relations not only with the Western world but also with the other parts of the planet. (CNN, 09.20.09)
  • I like to communicate with President Obama. We held … a very serious meeting with him during his visit to Russia. … I'm thankful to my colleague for the fact that he wants to sort out many problems. That's important. He has another good quality: He listens to your arguments. He formulates his position, which may not necessarily coincide with the Russian position, but at least this is a result of a thought-out policy, thought-out approach as to what is useful or not useful to the United States of America. … But what people expect from us is results, not just good joint time spent together, although that is important too. … What really matters here is that we try to hear each other. (CNN, 09.20.09)
  • Unfortunately, in the wake of developments in Ukraine and owing to efforts of U.S. President [Barack] Obama’s administration, this relationship [of Russia and the U.S.] has dropped to the lowest level ever, just hit rock bottom. … [W]hen we began contacts with the current administration of President Obama, I could not even imagine that they would have dropped to such an unprecedentedly lowest level. (TASS, 11.05.16)
  • I would not want to comment on discussions of future sanctions, but I can say one thing: If something happens of the kind of a ban on bank’s activities or on the use of a certain currency, then we can call that quite straightforward by its name, that’s a declaration of economic war. And to that war we will definitely have to react—with economic means, political means and if necessary also with other means. (FT, 08.10.18)
  • It is obvious that all sorts of sanctions, talks about sanctions against Iran, sanctions against the Russian Federation, restrictions on supplies and duties against the EU, China are made in order to solve domestic political problems. (RFE/RL, 11.08.18)
  • In recent years, relations between Russia and the United States have actually moved from rivalry to confrontation, in fact, returned to the era of the Cold War. (RIAN, 04.23.21)
  • The ground for this "rabid hatred" of Russia was laid by the United States and its satellites throughout all thirty years of the new Russian state’s existence. It's just that for a long time it was masked by the hypocritical white-toothed smiles of politicians and diplomats who said one thing and did something completely different. Simply put, they blatantly lied to us for the sake of their own interests. (Telegram, 03.17.22)
  • For the past thirty years, Russia has been the target of the same mediocre and primitive game. There is only one explanation: It is an enemy. What other legal successors of the USSR are there, even if there are no more fundamental ideological contradictions? This means that Russia must be humiliated, limited, shaken, divided and destroyed. (Telegram, 03.23.22)

II. Russia’s domestic policies

Domestic politics, economy and energy:

  • Twenty years of tumultuous change has not spared our country from its humiliating dependence on raw materials. Our current economy still reflects the major flaw of the Soviet system: it largely ignores individual needs. With a few exceptions domestic business does not invent or create the necessary things and technology that people need. We sell things that we have not produced, raw materials or imported goods. Finished products produced in Russia are largely plagued by their extremely low competitiveness. (, 09.10.09)
  • The growth of modern information technologies, something we will do our best to facilitate, gives us unprecedented opportunities for the realization of fundamental political freedoms, such as freedom of speech and assembly. (, 09.10.09)
  • Vladimir Putin, when he met with his colleagues and with political analysts, he told me that he and I have the same blood. If you understand, by blood, our education, then yes, that's the case. … Putin has a degree in law. He was not raised in the KGB or intelligence. He graduated from one of the country's best universities. Therefore, we are close in our convictions. Now, when talking about some nuances and preferences, yes, clearly there could be differences. I have my own views; he has his own views. (CNN, 09.20.09)
  • [I]n the modern age of global information there are no subjects you can conceal. You can sometimes be silent about or hold back certain things on TV, but remembering the fact that there are around 40 million Internet users in Russia today, people from across the country will learn of the news within five minutes. Therefore, trying to curtail press freedom is a totally hopeless thing to do. (CNN, 09.20.09)
  • [O]ur democracy is quite young. Russia has never known a democratic society prior to the existence of this new country. Democracy never existed in the Soviet times. Democracy in our country has been existing only for 18 years now, which is not that much when compared to the United States of America. (CNN, 09.20.09)
  • It's easy to say that corruption has turned into part of the national system, that everybody needs it and basically it helps to govern the country. That's not true at all. Had it been the case, we wouldn't have faced problems. Corruption is not an efficient means to control the economy, though it exists in any given country. (CNN, 09.20.09)
  • To be frank, we’ve always differed in our views on the situation with the freedom of expression and the media in Russia. We’ve often been criticized and we are still coming under criticism. We have our own position on the issue. Perhaps in Russia, the media are somewhat different, for example, from the European media. (Euronews, 02.14.16)
  • Our party [United Russia], and I personally, will support [Putin] in [seeking a new presidential term] in every possible way. Because we believe that he is a successful president who is leading our country. (Reuters, 11.30.17)
  • Traitors who hate their country so much that they call for its defeat and demise must be regarded as hostis publicus, enemies of society. Irrespective of the legal assessments of their actions. As enemies of the state… This definition should be firmly affixed to them [even in the absence of criminal or administrative charges]. … Such persons should not be allowed back into Russia until the end of their days. They must be fully cut off from sources of income in our country… A return home by such persons can happen only in the event of unambiguous public repentance, … amnesty or [official] pardon. Though it would be better if they didn’t return. (Telegram, 12.28.22)

Defense and aerospace:

  • Drones have proven effective in modern conflicts. Their use in the zone of the [special military operation] is an urgent need. Russia has yet to establish a large-scale production of UAVs of various types.  (Telegram,10.14.22)

Security, law-enforcement and justice:

  • If you are a traitor who committed such a crime [as sabotage] during wartime, you have no … right to the protection of your life. (Telegram, 11.02.22)

III. Russia’s relations with other countries

Russia’s general foreign policy and relations with “far abroad” countries:

  • Naive notions of the infallible and happy West and the eternally underdeveloped Russia are unacceptable, offensive and dangerous. But no less dangerous is the path of confrontation, self-isolation, mutual insults and recrimination. (, 09.10.09)
  • Nostalgia should not guide our foreign policy and our strategic long-term goal is Russia’s modernization. Along with this Russia is one of the world's leading economies, a nuclear power and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. It should openly and explicitly explain its position and defend it in all venues, without weaselling or giving in to pressure to conform. And in the case of a threat to our own interests we must strongly defend them. (, 09.10.09)
  • We want sound, advanced relations both with the United States and the European Union. The European Union is our most important trade partner, a group of countries located on the same continent as us, so we are bound by our shared European identity, history and values. These continuing tensions aren’t doing us any good. But if we are told that they no longer want us around, of course, the first steps towards reconciliation should be taken by those who initiated the alienation. As for us, we are ready to discuss any issues. (Euronews, 02.14.16)
  • They have always been trying to intimidate us with some sanctions, which were introduced even in the Soviet period, many times. It never brought them anything but lost profits. What is happening now is no different. (Euronews, 02.14.16)
  • On the move to oust Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro and recognize opposition chief Juan Guaidó as interim president: We have witnessed the “election” of yet another head of state on a square, in violation of the constitution. Moreover, this quasi-coup has been supported by the heads of some countries. Very quickly. As if on someone’s command. (FT, 01.24.19)
  • Do you think that Russia is a European country? Russia is a democratic country, we have different opinions and views on Europe and its values, including critical ones. But they did not arise over the past few years, as you say. … We are, of course, inseparable from Europe, from those political, economic, civilizational processes that are taking place on this continent. And at all times we have not been a closed space, closed to international contacts. In turn, a truly united Europe is unthinkable without Russia. (Luxembourger Worth, 03.05.19)
  • If you look historically, Russian civilization is an integral part of world civilization, and Russian culture is a part of European. At the same time, Russia is a unique country. We have always been at the crossroads of Western and Eastern civilizations. This was facilitated by our geographical position, and a vast territory, a significant part of which is located in Asia. We have learned to understand the culture of the East, which has enriched us and had a significant impact on various areas of our lives. … We are not inclined to set the western and eastern against each other, but, on the contrary, we see this as our advantage. (Luxembourger Worth, 03.05.19)
  • Overall, I think we are interested in good relations with Europe … [W]e do not have irresolvable disputes with Europe. We are interested in these relations being good, being as economically beneficial as possible, and we can and should work toward this. (TASS, 01.27.22)
  • The interests of Polish citizens are being sacrificed for Russophobia by these talentless politicians and their puppeteers from across the ocean with clear signs of senility. … [N]ow it is much more important for the vassal Polish elites to swear allegiance to their overlord - the U.S. - rather than help their own citizens, so they will keep stoking the bonfire of hatred against the enemy that is Russia. (TASS, 03.21.22)
  • Germany does not have full sovereignty over its land. Decisions on issues of the German energy sector, industry and defense are made by “America’s deep state,” … not even by the Washington elders, who are in [a state of] fragmentary dementia. (Telegram, 12.07.22)
  • All British politicians are exceptional b***s and hypocrites. Take the young prime minister [Rishi Sunak], with a last name previously uncharacteristic for Foggy Albion, who said that until Russia withdraws its forces from Ukrainian territory there can’t be any negotiations. Meanwhile, all this time … the Anglo-Saxons have been crowing from every treetop that the Ukrainians themselves will decide whether to hold talks or not. Turns out that’s lies, two-facedness and unimaginable cynicism. It would be better if the British finally got out of the Malvinas Islands and gave them back to Argentina… And [I congratulate] Argentina’s national team with [its] well-deserved victory in soccer. (Telegram, 12.19.22)


  • [T]here is a clear understanding of how to move forward—by implementing the Minsk Agreements. They should be implemented fully and in their entirety by all the parties. In fact, Russia calls on all the parties to do so, both those in power in the southeast, and the Kyiv authorities. It is not a matter of Russia having some disagreements with Kyiv or mutual dislike. … Finding political and legal solutions in keeping with the Minsk Agreements has now become vital. Whose responsibility is it? Of course, it is Ukraine’s responsibility. If Ukraine regards the southeast as part of its territory, it is within the jurisdiction, competence and authority of the President, Parliament and Government of Ukraine. (Euronews, 02.14.16)
  • Crimea is part of Russia. A referendum was held there, we amended the constitution. The Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol are part of the Russian Federation. (Euronews, 02.14.16)
  • Despite the humanitarian aid from Russia, the situation there [in the Donbas] is very difficult. Tens of thousands of people practically in the center of Europe in the 21st century live under the conditions of an energy and transport blockade. In fact, in a humanitarian catastrophe. Unfortunately, a full settlement is still far away. First of all, because of the unconstructive position of the Kyiv authorities, who, apparently, have no intention of fulfilling the Minsk agreements. And the sanctions are against Russia. Strange logic. (Luxembourger Worth, 03.05.19)
  • The current Ukrainian administration is trying to torpedo the Minsk process and it will use the image of Russia as an occupant country to justify its own failures, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said. At the same time, Medvedev said he believes there is no alternative to the Minsk process. (Interfax, 02.01.21)
  • Ukrainian leaders of the current generation are absolutely dependent people. … The country is under direct foreign control. … In Ukraine, the dependence is complete - from cash injections into their economy (handouts from the US and the EU) to direct leadership of the Ukrainian special services (from their American patrons). … [T]he United States does not need anything from Ukraine, except for confrontation with Russia, total containment of our country and the creation of what was aptly named "Anti-Russia". This means that such an alliance is extremely fragile and at some point will crumble to dust. Hopes for membership in NATO and the European Union are also ephemeral for obvious reasons. Ukraine itself has no value on the line of direct confrontation between Western forces (including potentially military ones) with our country. There are no fools to fight for Ukraine. And it is pointless for us to deal with vassals. Business must be done with the suzerain. (Kommersant, 10.11.21)
  • The Ukrainians are people who are very close to us and very pragmatic. And, I believe, they will get enough of this mess eventually, and they will have to elect a leadership that will carry out—no, not a pro-Russian policy, of course, but a pro-Ukrainian one. But it will be a policy aimed at normal economic relations with Russia, at the achievement of a reasonable balance on a wide array of issues, at the recognition of geopolitical realities, including Crimea, and a wide array of other issues. (TASS, 01.27.22)
  • Previously, these radical nationalists, the ‘true Ukrainians,’ made up about 5-10% of the population, mostly in the western regions. But, at some point from the known events, they imposed their ideology on the entire country, which has never shared such sentiments. And, I believe, at some point, they will have enough of this, and some reasonable middle trend towards the development of relations with Russia and simply for a reasonable policy will prevail. Otherwise, it is a dead end. (TASS, 01.27.22)
  • [Zelensky] did not disappoint me in any way. I believe he does exactly what a man with his level of readiness, with his level of fitness for the office must do. And, unfortunately for himself, probably, this eventually leads to the destruction of Ukraine itself. (TASS, 01.27.22)
  • Who said that in two years Ukraine will even exist on the world map? (Telegram, 06.14.22)
  • Referendums in Donbas are of great importance not only for the systemic protection of the inhabitants of the LNR, DNR and other liberated territories, but also for the restoration of historical justice. (Telegram, 09.20.22)
  • I want to remind them [those in Kyiv who want to return Crimea to Ukraine] of the indisputable facts: 1. Kyiv was the capital of Ancient Rus’. 2. Kyiv was a large city in Malorossiya within the Russian Empire. 3. Kyiv was a republican capital in the USSR. And finally, Kyiv is simply a Russian city where people have always thought and spoken in Russian. To make everything very clear regarding what needs to be returned and how. (Telegram, 11.20.22)

Russia's other post-Soviet neighbors:

  • If it weren’t for the irresponsible, immoral, criminal behavior of [then Georgian President Mikheil] Saakashvili and his henchmen, there wouldn’t have been any war [in August 2008]. (Kommersant, 08.07.18)
  • It used to be said that this is a kind of civilized form of divorce between the former republics of the Soviet Union. No, today the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States]—with all the difficulties, costs, nuances—is still a genuinely functioning project. (TASS, 06.01.19)
  • With friends [fellow CIS, CSTO and SCO members] we talk directly and frankly, without ambiguity. Hostile forces will not make us quarrel. We are allies not only in official declarations but in deeds, in resolving daily issues affecting the interests of our countries and our peoples. (Sputnik, 08.04.22)
  • In reference to French President Emmanuel Macron’s accusation that Russia provoked clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan: The statement is more than inappropriate. … [It is] perverted and unacceptable, as the president of our country has called it. But, I will add, it is quite understandable from the position of a flawed and obsequious Atlantic perception of reality. (RBC, 10.15.22)

This is the second installment in our series of compilations of quotes by Putin’s potential successors; the first covered Nikolai Patrushev. All sections may be updated in the future. The quotes above are divided into categories similar to those in Russia Matters’ news and analysis digests, reflecting the most pertinent topic areas for U.S.-Russian relations broadly and for drivers of the two countries’ policies toward one another. Bulleted text that is not italicized, bracketed or in parentheses is a direct quote from Medvedev. Quotes linked to English-language sources were taken from the source indicated; quotes linked to Russian-language sources were translated by RM. Entries in each subsection are in chronological order, from oldest to newest.

This item is also part of Russia Matters’ “Clues from Russian Views” series, in which we share what newsmakers in/from Russia are saying on Russia-related issues that impact key U.S. national interests so that RM readers can glean clues about their thinking. The opinions expressed in the compiled quotes are solely those of the speaker.

Photo shared by the Government of Russia ( under CC BY 4.0 and CC BY 3.0 licenses.