15 January 2019
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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



UKRAINIAN CRISIS: ROOT CAUSES AND BLAME GAME (by Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to UK )

The scale of the Ukrainian crisis eclipsed a fundamental issue of who and why provoked it. All the ratchet, which broke loose like hell in Western media seems to avoid a reasoned debate on this issue of culpability. It is obvious that those who hid behind colorless personalities of Brussels bureaucracy knew full well what they were doing when offered Kiev a deep integration short of full membership. They knew also that this deal would have a serious impact on an extensive Russo-Ukrainian trade and economic relationship. If Moscow was engaged in such talks when the EU admitted new members, why not now? Now they feign ignorance, though, as it looks, Russia’s part in that geopolitical exercise was to be a shock-absorber to soften the disastrous consequences of shock therapies to be prescribed to Ukraine through the IMF. The EU didn’t want to deal with that issue when it was raised fairly by President Yanukovich, supposedly, to keep the entire nation in a fix, thus breaking its will to decide for itself. And it was hatched in secret both from the Ukrainian people and Russia.

Now, the new authorities in Kiev ask for pretty much the same financial assistance for the same reasons. And it is being dealt with by Brussels as a sound and legitimate request.

Against this background the entire situation cannot help being seen as an irresponsible geopolitical gamble with stakes sky-high. Irresponsible because our response was easy to foresee. But with that in mind, Moscow did its best to soft-land the fast-evolving crisis through international mediation. On 21 February such an agreement was reached between the Government and the opposition with the help of Foreign Ministers of Germany. France and Poland and a representative of President Putin, who, our partners admit, played critical role in getting President Yanukovich’s consent to this broad, far-reaching and fair compromise. It had nothing to do with the personality of Victor Yanukovich and it did everything with Ukrainian national interest. If took into account the fragile state of the Ukrainian statehood, deep divisions within Ukraine on its national and historical narrative. It didn’t rock Ukraine’s boat, but provided for everything required to preserve that frail consensus in its society that had ensured its survival as a sovereign state since independence.

Under the pretext that President Yanukovich had to flee the country, the 21 February agreement was reneged on by the opposition. Our Western partners do not deny that. A blatant power grab followed by a partly legitimate Rada, which acted in a climat of intimidation by armed protestors, claiming a “revolution”, which, as is well known, always means destruction of the entire constitutional order and the balance of interests if sustains. No impeachment procedure was followed, and the Constitutional Court which plays an important part in it, was disbanded with the Judges prescribed by new authorities to be meted out revolutionary justice.

President Putin, talking to media on 4 March, explained Russia’s view of the situation in great detail, leaving nothing to guess. It is an honest and open position. We want the 21 February agreement to be followed through in due course. That means an extensive constitutional reform, agreeing the prospect of a national unity government and only afterwards holding elections.

Vladimir Putin referred to the experience of the Russian Revolution of 1917, when extremist political forces grabbed power through better organization and ruthlessness to their opponents among moderate opposition. At the time “due course” meant vesting power in the Constituent Assembley, already elected by the time of the Bolshevik takeover in late October 1917. It was disbanded by the revolutionary authorities claiming their own legitimacy. Pretty much like Cromwell did to the Rump in 1653 to establish his Protectorate.

Likewise, revolutionaries unleashed a campaign of terror and intimidation against the rest of the society. Turning a blind eye to this rise of violence, in fact denial of the right to peaceful protest, is aimed at effective cover-up of the origins of this entire enterprise. We are open to be convinced of the opposite.

Rule of law, legitimacy and Constitutional order are not empty words nor abstract categories. In politics it is about the proper process that defines a just and sustainable outcome. Or is it too much for Russia to ask in this particular case?

As to recognition of the revolutionary authorities, the precedents of the Soviet Government’s recognition by Western powers provide a good case in point. It was not automatic nor immediate. It took Washington 16 years and the painful experience of the Great Depression to establish diplomatic relations with Moscow.

Everybody knows that a new Crimean War is out of the question. But that war was as unnecessary as the present crisis in and about Ukraine. Like any human condition, this situation is open-ended. There is still time to save Ukraine from the dire prospect of civil war, since if the nationalist minority begins to impose its will and its narrative upon the rest of the society by “revolutionary” terror, the people, protesting peacefully now, will rise in self-defense.

Russian doesn’t intend to extend its humanitarian mission to other part of Ukraine, but may be compelled to. In the final count its about the old dilemma – the state for the people, or the people for the state. Silence is a sign of spiritual and, ultimately, physical death. Moscow answers calls by Western leaders and its Foreign Minister has been keeping in touch with his counterparts. Leo Tolstoy in his “War and Peace” wrote about Napoleon being indifferent to the truth. If that is the case for the West as a whole, then we are facing a genuine cultural divide. And I don’t know how to overcome it, since its seems again that the only thing our Western partner understand is crude force of facts.



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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