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AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

11.05.2013

What World War II can teach us about today’s divided Europe (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK)

World War II was one of the most tragic pages in Russian history: We endured suffering unparalleled in modern history. The four-year struggle against a foreign invasion ended in victory over Nazi Germany, and still holds important lessons for us today.

One of the key lessons is that the fight against war must be waged before the outbreak of war, not after. Collective efforts by all peace-loving nations, by all who cherish freedom, are an absolute necessity. World War II was not inevitable. It could have been prevented but for political errors and strategic blunders made by elites blinded by ideological considerations that distorted the geopolitical calculus. It was Germany’s direct aggression both in the West and East that brought common sense back into strategic thinking.

The most important lesson of World War II lies in the fact that states with different ideologies could unite in the face of a common threat. “Today, when the world faces the rise of extremism and terrorism, such an experience of unity is especially valuable," President Vladimir Putin said.

The whole experience of the interwar period – from the Treaty of Versailles to the outbreak of WWII – shows that an effective system of collective security in Europe ought to be universal, with all countries of the continent – including Russia – taking part. There can be no security if it is based on somebody else’s insecurity, or done at somebody else’s expense.

Unfortunately, no conclusions were drawn from how Europe slid into the First World War, or the diplomatic preparations for it, including methods of secret diplomacy; the League of Nations and the Kellogg-Briand Pact were failures.

Finally, the history and results of World War II are still subject to acute ideological and scientific dispute. This dispute often contains distortions, bias and sometimes lies. And for obvious reasons: The Cold War that followed simply continued the tradition of confrontational politics in the Euro-Atlantic and worldwide.

The ideal of a Europe whole and free brought into being a set of principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act at the time of detente. Unfortunately, the OSCE has proved unable to evolve into a full-fledged regional security organization. So, Europe remains a patchwork of areas of various levels of security. This, no doubt, negatively impacts its ability to be an effective global player in security matters.

The answer to this challenge is clear. We have got to go beyond all the existing structures on the continent while leaving their integrity intact and drawing, finally, a line under the Cold War era, its instincts, prejudices and dangerous illusions of uniform existence.

If it is true that it took two world wars to make capitalism and democracy compatible, then it is hard to imagine how this historic achievement could be preserved in a divided and fragmented Europe. This is precisely the aim of a possible European/Euro-Atlantic security treaty: To help ensure a common space of indivisible security as a precondition for a politically united Europe.




LATEST EVENTS

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.


30.09.2017 - Russia’s initiative on protecting SMM OSCE in South-East of Ukraine (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

On 5th September, at the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has announced an initiative to establish the United Nations Mission on Support in Protecting the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) OSCE in the South-East of Ukraine.


25.09.2017 - Eurasian Economic Union today (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Though hardly noticeable in the Western media, the Eurasian economic cooperation is booming, with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) becoming an increasingly effective integration project. The unique format of enhanced economic coordination along with the EAEU member states’ retained political sovereignty and cultural identity is proving itself.


25.09.2017 - On Russia's assistance to Central Asia (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Russia attaches great importance to the issue of sustainable development as it is underlined by the UN. Among our priorities in this area is the development of Central Asia. We contribute to the development of this region on a regular basis, regardless of the global economic crisis and its negative effect on Russia’s economy. In today’s world, international aid is often politically motivated and aimed at exerting one’s influence. Russia has a different approach.


25.09.2017 - IX BRICS Summit – turning into a global organisation (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The 9th BRICS summit in Xiamen, China, has emphasized the proximity of positions of the member states on the current global problems. It demonstrated that over the last 10 years BRICS has grown into a full-fledged international mechanism for global cooperation.


08.09.2017 - SCO sets standards for countering extremism (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In June 2017, the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) signed the SCO Convention on Countering Extremism, which will help strengthen the international legal framework to address new challenges and threats as well as increase the effectiveness of cooperation between relevant authorities of the member states and to improve legislation in this area.



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