Tag Archives: USSR

Putin: Russia ready to cooperate with NATO

President Vladimir Putin criticized NATO’s steady expansion, something he suggested was pointless given the absence of a threat from Moscow following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, and Communism as the major foe of the Alliance.

Addressing a meeting of Russian military leaders in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin said NATO expansion posed a threat to Russia, but added he hoped that a shared interest in common security would prevail.

Despite tensions, Moscow remained ready to cooperate with the military alliance.

MEPs defend Lithuanian judges

Russia should stop prosecuting Lithuanian judges and EU countries should refuse any legal assistance, says European Parliament.

In the text adopted by 493 votes in favour, 43 against and 86 abstentions on November 28 MEPs call on Russia to end the “politically motivated” prosecution of Lithuanian judges and prosecutors who found 67 Russian, Belarussian and Ukrainian citizens guilty of war crimes against Lithuania, following the events of 13 January 1991 in Vilnius.

Parliament denounces Russia’s actions as “unacceptable external influence”, “politically motivated” and a “violation of fundamental legal values”, especially the independence of judiciary.

MEPs ask all member states to refuse the transfer of any personal data to Russia that could be used in criminal proceedings against Lithuanian judges as well as to refuse Russia’s requests for related legal assistance. EU countries and Interpol should also ignore all international arrest warrants against the accused Lithuanian officials”, MEPs say.

They also call for EU member states to be more consistent in their policies towards Russia.

On 13 January 1991, following Lithuania’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union, fourteen peaceful civilians were killed and nearly 800 wounded during a crackdown by Soviet troops on the Vilnius TV tower.

In March 2019, a Lithuanian Court issued a ruling on this act of aggression against Lithuania by finding 67 people, including the then Defence minister and KGB chief of the Soviet Union, guilty of war crimes.

Russia did not respond to the Lithuanian judiciary’s request for cooperation. The majority of those accused were therefore put on trial in absentia. In 2018, Russia retaliated by starting a criminal case against the Lithuanian judges, prosecutors and investigators involved in investigating the tragic events on 13 January 1991 in Vilnius.

Berlin Wall fragments sales at BRAFA

The 65th edition of BRAFA art fair, which will take place from 26 January until 2 February 2020 in Brussels, Belgium, will be celebrated in a highly original manner with the exclusive exhibition and sale of five segments of the Berlin Wall.

The proceeds from the sale will be split among five beneficiaries (associations and museums) in the areas of cancer research, the social integration of people with disabilities and the preservation of art heritage. This initiative is only possible due to BRAFA’s nonprofit status which it has retained for 65 years and allows for greater investment in the arts and support of other non- profit organisations.

BRAFA’s visitors have come to expect a different guest of honour every year. These have included international museums, foundations and artists, who have all added their own unique touch to the event. In 2020, the art fair is choosing an innovative approach, launching an unusual initiative on the occasion of the 65th BRAFA in the form of a charity sale of original segments of the Berlin Wall.

These segments were already acquired in 2018, in anticipation of the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 2019. They were taken from the Hinterlandmauer, or the 68-km ‘inner wall’ that blocked off the border strip to East Berlin. The segments were dismantled by the armed forces of the former German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, during the demolition works following the Fall of the Berlin Wall. They were subsequently acquired and re-used by a public works company that is based in a Berlin suburb. The segments, which are 3.8 m tall and 1.2 m wide, weighing 3.6 tons each, feature graffiti on both sides by anonymous street artists from different periods.

Russians were “too naive”…

Dr Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann OPINION

The philosopher Schopenhauer’s Three Stages of Truth:
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

Declassified cables examined by academics from Georges Washington University (https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/russia-programs/2017-12-12/nato-expansion-what-gorbachev-heard-western-leaders-early) proves that Western leaders gave multiple assurances to Soviet Union that NATO should not enlarge to the East and this promise was made to also secure Soviet support for German unification. American and German (the most pro-enlargement) but also French and British Governments later have not kept the numerous promises they made to the Russian government, and pushed for NATO enlargement.

Vladimir Putin recently underlined that Russian officials were too naïve at that time since these assurances were not written clearly in treaties. The declassified documents prove that everything was done by the Western  political leaders a that time,  Bush, Gates, Baker, Kohl, Gensher, Woerner, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Major,  to make believe the Soviet government in these assurances. This latest research work reinforces the Russian interpretation and “Realists” academics, that the “West ” did not give a proper place to Russia in the new European security architecture, but tried to take advantage of the situation. The objective was to weaken further Russia, instead of bringing it into a “New Concert of Nations”, like Metternich and Talleyrand did with France after the Fall of Napoleon, in order to bring more stability to the European continent and overcome divisions.

We can bet this episode will be considered by future historians, as the biggest geopolitical mistake made by European politicians. But when you look at the Ukraine crisis and the alignment of most European governments on the Euro-Atlanticist priorities, in contradiction with their rational interest and those of the European nations they are in charge of, what is new ?

It is time for change and work for European strategic autonomy, in the form of cooperation between sovereign nations from “Brest to Vladivostok”, outside EU and NATO frameworks unless they can reform. However, these organizations were created during the Cold war, their paradigm are obsolete and face huge difficulties to reform properly since member states do not share the same European finalities. There are still many hurdles to overcome but this is the only reasonable project for the next decades and the only way to preserve the European civilization in the multipolar world.

Dr Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann –  Geopolitician – President of Eurocontinent

 

Lavrov: NATO ambitions “never changed”

NATO’s plans have never changed and have always been aimed at acquiring free geopolitical space, including in Eastern Europe, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Belarusian mass media on occasion of the 25th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties, Russian ITAR-TASS agency reports.

“We have repeatedly realized that all these preparations, which are now being fulfilled, when NATO’s infrastructure is approaching our common borders, when new units are sent there, under the slogan of permanent rotation, what means permanent deployment in all practical senses. We understand very well that pretexts used to justify such steps are far-fetched,” Lavrov said.

“If there had not been the coup d’etat in Ukraine, after which we were forced to defend those people who refused to obey neo-Nazi perpetrators of the coup, then something else would have been invented,” he said.

“NATO’s plans have never changed and with different intensity degree have been aimed at greedily acquiring geopolitical space, which they considered as unclaimed after the collapse of the Soviet Union,” Lavrov said

Regrettably, this strategy prevailed over those who after the collapse of the Soviet Union called not to strengthen NATO and deepen division lines in Europe, but to draw up a joint approach under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) or other universal organization, Lavrov said. “This approach should be based on ensuring equal and indivisible security for all countries of the North Atlantic region,” he said.

The European politicians’ NATO-centric way of thinking cannot help build confidence and strengthen good-neighborly relations, he went on.

“When several years ago Russia proposed that an agreement be made that would enshrine the western politicians’ statements about the need to refrain from attempts to ensure one’s security by damaging the security of others, we were told that ‘this political slogan should remain a slogan, while only those who join NATO will receive legal security guarantees from the West’,” the Russian top diplomat pointed out.

 

 

Poland clashes with Russia over diplomatic edifices

The court in Warsaw requested Russia to pay $ 2.3 million for use of a diplomatic building located in Warsaw, TASS news agency reported quoting court spokeswoman Dorut Trautmann.

Reportedly that the state treasury and the mayor’s office in Warsaw accused the Russian side of using the building located at 2B Bobrovetska Street, without an agreement in 2009-2015. The Polish state calculated and demanded to pay off debts in the amount of 8.9 million zlotys (USD2.3 million). According to Trautman, the court decided to recover this amount with interest. The verdict of the court is not final and can be appealed within two weeks.

The current dispute is not exceptional. In October last year, the Warsaw District Court ordered the Russian Federation and its legal representatives to transfer the other building to the plaintiff represented by the State Treasury, which is represented by the City Hall of Warsaw, located at Jan III Sobieski Street. Earlier, the court decided to recover from the Russian Federation 7.8 million zlotys ( USD2 million) for the use of this building without an agreement in 2012-2015.

According to the Polish side, a number of objects of diplomatic real estate used by the Russian Federation in Warsaw and Gdansk, from the legal point of view, are not registered. In Moscow, they believe that the objects of Russian diplomatic real estate located on the territory of Poland are the property of the Russian Federation.

“We proceed from the premise that all land plots were leased to our real estate on the basis of relevant bilateral agreements, and all diplomatic property located on these sites was either built by the Soviet side from our budget or legally acquired. Objects are our property, “- said to TASS news agency, the Russian Ambassador in Poland, Sergei Andreev.

Is Pence pessimistic about EU?

pence-merkel

While “unwavering” in its support for Nato, vice-president Mike Pence was silent about the European Union at the Munich Security Conference.

In his address to the European leaders he underlined that US would “stand with Europe today and every day”, but the same time he regretted that the majority of the Euope’s governments were “failing to pay their fair share” for defense, “eroding” the foundation of the alliance. Apparently, enjoying the US security umbrella, only four Nato countries had met a 2014 commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence. Nato estimates for 2016 among allies the UK, Greece, Poland and Estonia met the obligations, while the other were US security ‘consumers’.

However the concerns about the ‘moderation’ of US support to NATO in case the situation will not improve, is secondary to the notion of the disbelief of the new US administration of the survival of the EU beyond 2017.

The US vice-president’s silence does not send an encouragement sign to Brussels, already concerned by the personality of the new US ‘ambassador to be’ to the EU, who compared the current situation in the block with the crumbling USSR. Ted Malloch, belonging to the president’s inner circle, has raised a wave of protests from Brussels politicians by comparing the EU to the Soviet Union, profiling himself as an active contributor to its collapse.

 

Navalny conviction means Putin forever?

 

navalny-barred

Anna van Densky

COMMENT: Barring of Russian politician, and fighter against corruption, Alexei Navalny turns next year presidential elections into a soap a long time before it starts. The powerful opponent of Vladimir Putin is out of the race, so Kremlin can be sure there will no unpleasant surprises while opening of ballot boxes.

The farse of the politically motivated trial does signal a clear message to the Russians, and to the world: the autoritarism is there to stay. In a way Putin beats Leonid Brezhnev record of 18 years: from inauguration on 7th May 2000 to potential 2024 makes his reign 30% longer that the tzar’s late Soviet stagnation.

The mechanical removal of Navalny is meaning Russia’s return to it very self developing from crisis to crisis, with biological renewal of the leadership over periods of stagnation in between.. “White tzars, red tzars, grey tzars”, – Johan Le Carre’s definition of Russia’s political history can’t be described better in a few words.