As the director of Moscow’s Institute of Political Studies, a former Duma member and close ally of President Vladimir Putin, Markov defended the annexation of Crimea as Russia’s response to “a hostile world,” calling the western nations’ packet of economic sanctions an “attempt to humiliate and weaken Russia,” and suggesting there was an anti-Russian “racism” abroad.
"The problem is that the Western ruling elites suffer from Russophobia. Russophobia is racism directed against Russians. Make your states abandon Russophobia and life will be much easier," Markov said.
He argued Western countries were to blame for the conflict in Ukraine, saying that Moscow was defending its "compatriots" from what it calls a “fascist regime” in Kiev.
"When ultranationalists kill our people, we must rescue them. What the junta that rules Ukraine does is only fascism and terrorism. Where Russian soldiers are, there's democracy and freedom of speech," Markov said.
Meanwhile, a report by think-tank European Leadership Report called on Russia’s ruling power structure to urgently rethink its aggressive military posturing and the risks it is taking with its “dangerous brinkmanship.”
Western diplomats should continue to pursue diplomatic measures while both sides should preserve military and political “restraint”, and “improve military-to-military cooperation and transparency” to avert the kinds of near-misses between Russian navy and air forces and western allied armed forces that have increased to a worrying degree this year.
Indeed, some incidents of Russian jet near-misses with civilian passenger planes over Europe have been cited in the aftermath of the MH17 disaster, further fueling the airline traveling public’s trepidation.