Despite the existing problems, the EU hopes for an adequate response from Moscow and wants to maintain open communication channels
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov admitted that the Russian authorities would stop dialogue with the leaders of the European Union. The minister said this the day before, speaking at the discussion platform of the Valdai Club.
Lavrov insisted on the need for a “mutually respectful conversation” between Moscow and the people who are in charge of foreign policy in the West. Otherwise, according to him, “we should probably just stop communicating with them for a while”.
We will remind, on Tuesday, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell spoke by phone with Sergei Lavrov. The ministers discussed the situation in a number of regions, the latest events related to the poisoning of the Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, as well as relations between the EU and Russia in a broader sense.
Regarding the assassination attempt on Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny using a banned chemical nerve agent, Borrell informed Lavrov of a political agreement reached by EU members on October 12 to begin preparations for taking action against those involved in the assassination attempt. Borrell stressed that the Russian government should do everything possible to thoroughly investigate this crime in full transparency and fully cooperate with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Borrell also informed Lavrov of the agreement reached by the EU foreign ministers to continue the current approach to relations between the EU and Russia, according to which the full implementation of the Minsk agreements remains key. He called on Russia to fully comply with the Minsk agreements.
As noted in the statement of Brussels, the European Union wishes to maintain open channels of communication with Russia and expand cooperation on issues of mutual interest.
Alexander Golts: “It looks like cognitive dissonance”
Political scientist Alexander Golts called Lavrov’s statement a return to the Soviet practice of diplomacy. According to him, earlier, in a situation when there was nothing to say, they simply turned the negotiating table over with a scandal..
“For example, Soviet diplomacy behaved in exactly the same way in 1984, when it was not possible to come to an agreement on medium-range missiles in Europe,” he recalls in a commentary to the Russian service of the Voice of America. “A year later, Moscow had to painstakingly figure out how to return to the negotiating table without finally losing face”.
Together, the political scientist noted that while Mr. Lavrov only threatens to break off relations. At the same time, it seems to him, the minister puts himself in a rather delicate position. “The leader of the state can still say that he rejects dialogue with someone,” he says. “But when the foreign minister, whose job it is precisely to engage in dialogue, makes statements like this, it looks like cognitive dissonance.”.
The question is also that the dialogue in this case should be stopped not only with the leaders of the EU, but also with the heads of the overwhelming majority of countries in the world, believes Alexander Golts.
“It is impossible to show respect for Moscow after chemical weapons were used against the leader of the Russian opposition,” he stressed. – Otherwise, it could be regarded as indulging in criminal inclinations. It is obvious that the Kremlin is at a dead end. Perhaps they realize that they need to explain themselves, but it is absolutely impossible to explain themselves here … In the same way, Russia will not enter into negotiations regarding the Crimea. Like, they took it off, so they took it away “.
Such a model of behavior cannot be called reasonable, but everything comes from hopelessness, the political scientist concluded..
Igor Yakovenko: “Lavrov is a propaganda weapon, but not a diplomat”
The Russian Foreign Ministry has long ceased to be a diplomatic agency, says Igor Yakovenko, a publicist and former secretary general of the Russian Union of Journalists. According to him, this is the “information war department”.
“What Maria Zakharova (the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry) does and says, the same Sergei Lavrov, the representatives of Russia in the UN are all activities that are not aimed at establishing good-neighborly, mutually beneficial relations,” he added in an interview with the Russian service of the Voice of America – and the broadcast of some rhetoric of the Kremlin, which is largely intended for the domestic audience. Their performance can be assessed by the results achieved. Throughout the entire time that Putin is in power, and Lavrov is in the Foreign Ministry, the number of countries in relation to which Moscow’s positions have worsened has seriously increased. “.
In fact, the goal of Russian politics is not to find a compromise, because it is impossible, says Igor Yakovenko. “The fact is that the Kremlin and Lavrov, as his mouthpiece, operate, from the point of view of game theory, in a zero-sum logic,” he explained. – And in this case, a compromise is just impossible. Therefore, Lavrov is a propaganda tool, but not a diplomat. “.
The peculiarity of the situation that is developing around Russia is that both Putin and Lavrov have ceased to be full-fledged interlocutors, the journalist believes. And not only for Angela Merkel, who declared that Putin lives in some other dimension, but also for other world leaders. However, of course, no one will stop communicating with them, because Russia is a country with nuclear weapons. Therefore, they have turned from interlocutors into an object of close, alarming observation. This is how they observe a mine that lies in the water, but for some reason it cannot be neutralized. “.
Of course, there can be no talk of respect here, in principle, summed up the former secretary general of the Union of Journalists of Russia..
Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, at Raisina Dialogue 2020
The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier called on the FRG to explain itself about the situation with Navalny, noting allegedly "stubborn reluctance" Berlin to do it. The Foreign Ministry also indicated that all chemical weapons in Russia were destroyed under international control, and with a chemical warfare agent "Newbie" allegedly worked in more than 20 countries.
German authorities claim to have transferred all information through the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
On October 12, it was reported that the foreign ministers of the EU member states supported the proposal of France and Germany on sanctions for the poisoning of Navalny. The sanctions list prepared by them, as the newspaper Le Monde wrote, included nine people from the presidential administration of Russia, special services and the State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry, in which, presumably, was invented "Newbie". According to the newspaper, their assets in the European Union will be frozen, and they will be banned from entering European countries..
Earlier, laboratories in Germany, France, Sweden and OPCW experts confirmed that the founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, Alexei Navalny, was poisoned with a military nerve agent from the family "Newbie". Poisons of this type were developed in the USSR and the Russian Federation, and Russian special services are suspected of their repeated use..
Alexei Navalny himself believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in the attempted assassination attempt on him. As evidence of his position, Navalny refers to the fact that Russia has not yet launched an investigation into his emergency hospitalization in August..
Moscow, in turn, claims that Russian doctors did not find traces of poisons in Navalny’s analyzes. The Investigative Committee refused to check the version of the poisoning of the oppositionist, and the Russian courts confirmed this decision, radio notes "Liberty".
The situation related to the poisoning of Alexei Navalny is just one of the factors that contributed to the deterioration of relations between the EU and Russia. A sharp aggravation began after the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea to the Russian Federation in 2014 and the outbreak of an armed conflict in Donbass, where pro-Russian military formations are fighting under the flags of the DPR and LPR. Also, the cooling of relations between Moscow and the West was influenced by the chemical attack in British Salisbury. There was also applied "Newbie" for the poisoning of ex-GRU colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The Russian authorities call all accusations against them unfounded and unproven.