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317 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     309 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko: History proves the need for collective leadership

Global development processes are going through a transition phase, and so are international relations. What we may be witnessing now is yet another change of epochs. This change also marks the completion of processes of various durations Р from the Cold War and its intellectual and geostrategic momentum to the 500-year long domination of the West in global politics, economics and finance.
What is happening now has clear causes. We shouldn't panic when trying to respond to the current developments. We need to have a cold-eyed analysis in a broader historical context making use of the categories going beyond the narrow framework of the ideological discourse of the Cold War. History didnХt start in 1945, and neither did international relations. We can draw some really reassuring conclusions from this broader unbiased perspective and identify the real potential for convergence and synthesis in North Atlantic politics.
Seeing things in a historical perspective is not just useful, but often imperative. Upsetting the European balance, which had secured peace in Europe for more than 40 years, the Crimean War started the countdown for the First World War and the tragedies that occurred in Europe and the world throughout the 20th century. It paved the way for the aggressive nationalistic mutual demonisation of the leading European nations as an excuse for not only the war, but also the subsequent humiliation of the loser, including its territorial partition. Russia was followed by Denmark, Austria, France and, finally, Germany, which caused a collapse of the European and world order.

Karl Jaspers wrote in the middle of the 20th century that there could be two options for the world to continue: either a global empire or a world order. The developments of the past two decades make it clear that the former option is impossible, which makes the latter the only one worth pursuing.
History also shows that we shouldn't take what we have for granted, especially the United Nations, which was quite wisely established to balance our multipolar world. The bipolar confrontation became a time warp. We can't tear it all down to the ground the way Bolsheviks and Puritan fanatics before them wanted to; to build a whole new world from scratch while denying others their right of salvage.

The question is how the UN has managed to adapt to reality. However, the fundamental health of the postwar adjustment shouldn't be questioned. This includes the principles of the UN Charter and international rule of law.

The main feature of the current epoch is the variety of scenarios, according to which things can develop, and the lack of definiteness, hence the need for diplomatic instruments to pursue flexibility. There are no more reasons to have the cumbersome military and political alliances of the past. A network of multivector diplomacy is a good alternative. It has been Russia's official strategy since the Foreign Policy Concept was adopted in July 2008. Since then, this idea has gained public support, including in the United States and the UK.

An essential common denominator is for all countries to make development challenges their chief priority. Everyone agrees that sustainable socioeconomic (as well as other) development is a key foreign policy resource. It should become a rallying principle, because unlike in the colonial epoch, global development can't remain a zero-sum game.

The new challenges and threats emphasise the need for bringing development levels closer, the more so because the growth potential of large dynamic developing economies and ordinary developing economies is to become the main source of the economic revival of the industrially developed nations.
To effectively address the insecurity issue, one needs to overcome the downturn and restore its paying capacity.

Globalisation (and Gordon Brown was speaking about the threat of de-globalisation) calls for a new level of understanding. So far, unfortunately, it has addressed challenges in the same way empires did in the past, namely, it has exploited development potential in a zero-sum game. Only "capital-intense" social groups became winners, which impaired social integrity. Incomes on investments were essentially removed from the country, disregarding national development priorities. It appears that this globalisation pattern became one of the reasons behind the current crisis in the West, the kind of crisis that virtually eliminated the middle class in one European country.
The "new" players will get what they want sooner or later, albeit based on their own development progress and benefiting from other nations' development experience. A challenge for "old" players is how to formulate their foreign policy objectives in a way for them to be compatible with the interests of the international community as a whole. This would be possible if all nations were making concerted efforts to tackle the entire range of international problems, including the form of collective leadership of the leading nations of the world. This mutual engagement envisions the phasing down of unilateral response, let alone forceful response.

The article is based on a speech given at the recent conference Global Power Shifts in Ditchley Park.


09.08.2018 - Letter from Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to the Guardian’s editor

In response to the Ambassador Beruchashvili’s letter, offering not so much a recollection of the August 2008 events in the Caucasus, but rather a misleading reiteration of the Georgian claims against Russia I have to refer to some of the universally recognized facts and consequences resulting from those tragic events.

24.07.2018 - Eastern Economic Forum: the East is bright (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

When talking about Russia’s Far East, you invariably remember its stunning natural beauty, abundance in natural resources and vast territories. But when one thinks of its investments prospects, you also invariably remember its harsh climate, low average population density and the lack of transport and other infrastructure. But now the situation is changing fundamentally. The region is undergoing a huge and qualitative revival. The development of the region has been declared one of the national priorities for Russia. In the last 5 years 18 advanced development zones and 5 free ports have been established in the Russian Far East. Long-term tax exemptions have been provided for large investment projects. Paperless e-visas for visitors of Vladivostok are available for citizens of 18 countries.

03.05.2018 - SALISBURY: A CLASSIFIED CASE (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

On 4 March 2018 two Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal were reportedly poisoned in Salisbury, Wiltshire with the toxic chemical named A-234 under the British classification. On 12 March Foreign Secretary Johnson summoned me to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and said that Russia was “highly likely” responsible for the attack. He invited us to respond by the next day, whether this had been a direct act by the state or Russia had lost control over this nerve agent. The incident had international repercussions, including expulsion of 150 Russian diplomats from 28 countries, notwithstanding the fact that the charges were based on assumptions and unverifiable intelligence. The Western countries lost the same number of Moscow-based staff. Meanwhile, the British government provided no evidence either to the public, its allies or Russia. Subsequent events revealed that no proof of Russia’s involvement existed. On 1 May, National Security adviser Sir Mark Sedwill confirmed that (despite a number of previous leaks) no suspect had been identified, a statement that speaks for itself.

14.02.2018 - The international community needs a unified legal base to combat information crimes (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Amid the rapid advance in technologies we face a growing number of cyber-crimes: in 2016, these offences caused damage of $445 billion and by 2020, according to experts, this figure can reach up to $3 trillion, exceeding the overall income received from the Internet.

26.01.2018 - UNGA: Glorification of Nazism must stop (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In December the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the traditional resolution on “Combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. It was supported by an overwhelming majority of UN Member States: 133 states voted for this document, 57 became its co-sponsors, and only Ukraine and the United States voted against.

29.11.2017 - Afghan opium production jumps to record level (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for RT)

According to the latest Afghanistan Opium Survey released by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in 2017 opium production in Afghanistan increased by 87 per cent to a record level of 9,000 metric tons. The area under opium poppy cultivation also grew by 63 per cent to its highest level of 328,000 hectares. Afghanistan is the world's top cultivator of the poppy from which opium and heroin are produced. The 2017 record levels of opium production and poppy cultivation create multiple challenges for the country, its neighbours and many other countries that serve as a transit for or a destination of Afghan opiates. The significant levels of opium poppy cultivation and illicit trafficking of opiates fuel instability, insurgency and increase funding to terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

19.10.2017 - Why to fight with memorials (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The campaign in Poland against World War II memorials to Soviet officers and soldiers, who had liberated the country from the Nazi occupation, is gaining momentum. Warsaw has created a legal framework allowing the disposal of Soviet/Russian memorial objects or taking them out of public sight, including the most widespread monuments of gratitude to the Red Army. Why?

18.10.2017 - Syria: collective humanitarian efforts, not sanctions, are needed more than ever (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The situation in Syria is undergoing serious transformation. Due to the de-escalation process, it has now become possible to drastically reduce the level of violence, to improve the humanitarian situation as well as to fight terrorists more efficiently. The ISIS-controlled territory is shrinking. On 14-15 September, at the international meeting in Astana all four de-escalation zones were finalized.

05.10.2017 - What You Have to Know about Status of Crimea (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The coup d’état in Kiev in February 2014 backed by the West tore up the constitutional space in Ukraine. The legitimate President of the country was overthrown. It was marked by a severe lack of democracy and violence that posed a direct threat to the well-being of Russian-speaking population of Crimea. Citizens of Crimea faced the choice of becoming an oppressed minority or severing their ties with the hostile regime to secure a future for themselves and their children. The decision to hold a referendum was made by legitimate local authorities. The independence of Crimea was proclaimed and an appeal to enter the Russian Federation was made based on the indisputable results of the popular vote. Standards of international law were fully observed as the right of nations to self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter was exercised freely by the Crimeans. Crimea was recognized as an independent and sovereign state by Russia and on 18 March 2014 in Moscow the two countries signed a Treaty of Unification, under which the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol became two new regions - subjects of the Russian Federation.

05.10.2017 - NATO increased military presence in Europe: road to nowhere (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

As part of the implementation of the conclusions of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, four multinational battlegroups have been deployed in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia with the total number of troops exceeding 4500. The idea of creating similar rotating units in Bulgaria and Romania in 2018 is being widely discussed by NATO members. If put together, these battlegroups amount to a motorized infantry brigade with heavy weapons.

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