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Not everybody shares the spirit of Gaddafi’s opponents which smacks of Khrushchev’s Soviet era agitprop - Article by Evgeniy Satanovskiy

We don’t know it yet, and until a trustworthy neutral centre performs an expertise, be it a DNA test or any other, we shall not know whether Gaddafi is dead. Chances are fair that he is not. It is equally possible that Colonel set up one of his doubles, which authoritarian leaders keep in case there is a need to “die in an emergency”. All in all, he lost the struggle for power, however, he is left with enough money to live a well-to-do life, though not so luxurious as he used to.

 His African assets and what had been transported by convoys, in aggregate coming up to hundreds of units of equipment, are estimated at roughly $25bn. The majority of the countries who kept these assets will let Colonel’s family negotiate them at a fair discount to meet the interests of local leaderships. The example of Egypt where such transaction was operated with obvious tacit approval of the authorities suggests that this will be just the case with Algeria, and other Latin American and post-Soviet partners of the Jamahiriya’s former leader. Anybody may at some moment face a difficult situation, and, by all means, not everybody shares the spirit of Gaddafi’s opponents, which is so high-pitched and passionate that it smacks of Khrushchev’s Soviet era agitprop.

Whether Gaddafi departed this life or, as his loyal adherents would have it, just lay low having become a hero of future chronicles and adventure novels, has nothing to do with the civil war. The war runs its course and I dare to suppose that it will go on for a long time. Gaddafi might have encouraged, organized and funded this war, but it is rooted in something else and will not stop after his physical of virtual death. Drawing intermediate conclusions, indeed, one can say in a mixed Prokhanov-Obama style that the bloody hand of imperialism has brought democracy to the freedom-loving people of Libya, liberating it from the odious dictator. Well, it has, so what? Historic analogies sound anything but reassuring. In our own country His Majesty the Emperor, the future martyr, and all of his family were executed, but the civil war did not come to an end after that. They hung Saddam but the war of all against all is still being waged. They killed Bin Laden, but Al Qaeda did not turn into a Salvation Army.

The Middle East is not Europe, Libya is not Switzerland and local tribal sheikhs are not burghers from canton municipalities. They can be suppressed by force or bribed. All of the other things are very good for editorials and speeches at the UN or at the Congress but have little to do with reality. There are a lot of people, few resources and, no matter how you divide them, there will not be enough for everyone. If you look at it closely, the Libyan huddle shapes up to be an interesting scenario. A couple of hundreds of Arab tribes, or nearly one thousand if you count clans. Up to a hundred of Berber tribes. The Tubu and other African groups from the hinterland. Al Qaeda on the coast. Al Qaeda in the Maghreb Muslim countries and the Tuareg in the Sahel. Religious orders: the Senussi, the support of the deceased monarchy in Cyrenaica, and Tijaniyyah in Tripolitania. Sufi communities, deadly enemies of Salafis. Hundreds of thousands of guest workers, those who hadn’t enough time to escape across the Egyptian or Tunisian border. African illegal immigrants, willing to get to Europe.

Everyone hates everyone. Everyone distrusts everyone. Temporary alliances are possible, permanent are not. Appearance of any money prompts mortal combats between yesterday’s allies. Blood vengeance flourishes. Personal relations of leaders remind of Europe’s Middle Ages. Noble appeals of Eastern experts to civil peace and mutual responsibility in Libya are as effective as propaganda of healthy lifestyle in a Colombian drug cartel.

The Colonel’s overthrow gave advantage to many. Saudi Arabia and Qatar by proxy neutralized a dangerous competitor on the hydrocarbons market and gained several dozens of billions of dollars, aside from future profits from Gaddafi’s projects in Africa, which they will share with Turkey. Europe and the USA will repay the military expenditures with Libya’s construction using the experience of budget embezzlement they had acquired in Iraq and Afghanistan, in cooperation with corrupt Middle Eastern bureaucrats. The Salafi have lost a dangerous enemy and gained one more springboard for politico-military activity, expanding significantly their influence zone in the Maghreb. Radical Islamist groups have established control over territorial enclaves like the “Islamic Emirate” in Derna and reached Gaddafi’s arsenals: the tens of thousands of man-portable ATGMs and MANPADs, not to mention the rest of the weapons in their hands make them the largest armed force in the African Sahel.
The triumph that Colonel’s personal enemies experience over the news of his death is quite understandable. Among those people there are kings, prime-ministers and presidents whom he bombarded with abuse at the Arab League for decades. Islamists against whom he waged war of extermination. Benghazi supporters of the dethroned king, “moneyless dons” of the Libyan opposition. Ex-ministers scared of atonement for treason they would suffer in case the NTC forces are defeated. But this victory is Pyrrhic.

The action of North Atlantic Alliance made it obvious that its best times are behind: half a year of costly bombings yielded almost no results. The outcome of the war was eventually decided by bribery and special forces. The Western political and media machine lost its credit of trust in Libya and when it tried to repeat the Libyan scenario in Syria it got stalled having run into the diplomatic opposition of Russia and China. The turncoat ministers have got no chance in the carve-up of power and money in the “terrarium of the like-minded” comprised of the new authorities. The liberal opposition will go empty-handed as usual. Moderate Islamist communities that were kept down under the previous regime with its Green Book will not survive a head-on clash with Salafis. Those who believe that it is going to be possible to manage processes in Tripolitania or Fezzan from Cyrenaica will be very much disappointed. Russia, having preserved her partnership contracts with Western European corporations will lose all the others. To be sure, this is our fate in the Middle East, the Devil take it.

Evgeniy Satanovskiy is a political scientist, President of Moscow Institute of the Middle East.



The current round phase of Russia’s pivot to the East was conceived in the second half of the 2000s as a largely belated economic response to the rise of Asia, which opened up a plethora of opportunities for the development of the country and primarily its eastern regions. This rise offered a chance to turn the territory beyond the Urals and the Russian Far East from predominantly an imperial burden or rear in the confrontation with the West, and sometimes the forefront in the rivalry with Japan or China, into a springboard for the development of the whole country.


Oleg Barabanov, Timofey Bordachev, Fyodor Lukyanov, Andrey Sushentsov, Dmitry Suslov, Ivan Timofeev, Moscow, February 2017

18.02.2017 - Global riot and global order. Revolutionary situation in the world and what to do about it - report by Valdai discussion club

(Report in Russian, English version to be published shortly) Спустя много лет после студенческих волнений, которые охватили практически весь мир в 1968 году, активист тогдашнего движения Даниэль Кон-Бендит так вспоминал суть происходившего: «Это было восстание поколения, родившегося после Второй мировой войны, против общества, которое военное поколение построило после 1945 года». Бунт проявлялся по-разному– в зависимости от места действия. В Варшаве и Праге люди протестовали против коммунистического режима, в Париже и Франкфурте клеймил и буржуазно-консервативное засилье, в Сан-Франциско и Нью-Йорке возмущались милитаризмом и неравноправием, а в Исламабаде и Стамбуле отвергали власть военных. Всех объединяло нежелание житьпо-старому.«Мы были первым медиапоколением. СМИ играли большую роль, потому что они передавали искру жгучего неприятия, и она воспламеняла одну страну за другой», – вспоминал Кон-Бендит.

03.02.2017 - Sergei Karaganov, Dean of the School of International Economics and Foreign Affairs of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, "A view from Moscow"

The victory of Donald Trump reinforced international tendencies, which had been obvious for Russians and which had been guiding Russian behavior for last few years. Among them – deglobalization led by forces, which previously created it, but started to retreat from it, when they saw that it benefits others equally or more. The change in correlation of forces against the old world and towards Asia will continue, though at somewhat slower pace than in previous decades. China will continue to become in the very foreseeable future an equal to the U.S. in cumulative power. Europe of the EU will continue to muddle down. (Hopefully, not towards a collapse, but something leaner, more stable and healthier like a Common market, Schengen minus, two Eurozones or a Eurozone minus). The rivalry between the U.S. and China will continue to exacerbate. The confrontation between Russia and the West will continue, but will gradually dampen.

20.08.2015 - The Interview: Henry Kissinger

The National Interest’s editor, Jacob Heilbrunn, spoke with Henry Kissinger in early July in New York.

10.08.2015 - "Shame on UK for Sham Litvinenko Trial", by William Dunkerley for "Eurasia review"

What started off as a massive fabrication in 2006 just received a great boost from a complicit British government. The mysterious polonium death of reputed former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko is the focus. An inexplicably long series of official UK hearings on this nearly 9 year old case has just concluded. That’s prompted a new flurry of sensational media reports.

02.06.2015 - Eurasian Way Out of the European Crisis (Article by Sergei Karaganov, to be published in late June in "Russian in Global Affairs")

I have already written before that having emerged victorious from the Cold War, Europe lost the post-war peace. The continent is on the verge of strategic degradation that may either become a caricature of military-political division into opposing blocs or a time of disquieting uncertainty. The military-political conflict over Ukraine can escalate as well.

13.03.2015 - NEW RULES OR NO RULES? XI Annual Valdai Discussion Club Meeting Participants' Report

In Search of an Order For those who believe in the magic of numbers, the year 2014 was further proof in its existence. The World War I centenary had been anticipated in awe and History, by taking another dramatic twist, confirmed the worst of expectations. It pronounced that centuries-old conflicts are still with us and that such concepts as the balance of powers, borders, and sovereignty are still relevant even in the era of a global interdependence.

15.09.2014 - Western delusions triggered this conflict and Russians will not yield (by Professor Sergey Karaganov for FT)

The west is without direction and losing sight of moral convictions, writes Sergey Karaganov

29.05.2014 - It’s not just about gas: why China needs Russia (by Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor in chief of the journal Russia in Global Affairs, Chairman of Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy)

In a pre-election article published a little over two years ago, Vladimir Putin wrote that Russia wanted to harness the Chinese wind for its sails of development. Every sailor knows that in stormy weather, and the world is a stormy place today, controlling a sailing ship is incredibly difficult. But by working skilfully there is a chance of inching one's goal much faster.

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