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PRESS RELEASES

13.10.2014

FT cannot muster political will to publish Russian Ambassador’s letter on Ukraine

Since 3 October the Embassy has been waiting for a positive response from FT on publishing Ambassador Yakovenko’s letter as part of the ongoing debate on Ukraine. We have only heard that our letter is under consideration. So, we have decided to publish the text of this letter on our web-site for the British public to see for themselves that there is nothing subversive, corrupting nor seditious in it, but legitimate desire to make a point on an issue of public interest and huge consequences for Ukraine and Russia-West relationship.

Regrettably, we have to conclude that FT’s caution, to put it mildly, is indicative of the overall unwillingness on the part of the West to discuss specific issues involved, including the suspicious silence on the MH17 tragedy of 17 July. A good illustration of such an approach is provided by the latest Chatham House piece by Sir Andrew Wood, who like Sir Tony Brenton served in Moscow as British Ambassador. This material is fascinating in the ability of its author to sidestep real issues, including the big ones, like the West’s policy towards Russia after the Cold War end, and engage in Cold War time invectives and stereotypes which lead away from the slightest possibility of a reasoned debate. Sir Andrew, obviously, entertains strong feelings towards Russia. It seems that Russia is again scapegoated for everything that goes wrong in the West and the world. What is deplorable is the evidence that the Western elites take cover under the concocted Russia threat to distract the public opinion from their policy failures both domestic and international.

Ambassador Yakovenko’s letter to FT follows.

 

The Financial Times

 

Dear Sirs,

The recent article on Russia by Martin Wolf, for whom I have a lot of respect, has attracted many comments, including those by Prof Geoffrey Roberts and Sir Tony Brenton. May I join the fray.

From what has already been written and said on the Ukrainian crisis, one can draw a conclusion that this is a serious case that has led to far reaching consequences for European affairs and Russia’s relationship with the European Union. It needn’t be so at all, had the EU acted in Ukraine openly and collectively, with due regard for past precedents and mutual commitments with Russia. It was a blunder of immense proportions, since it is obvious to everyone that a country of the size and complexity of Ukraine cannot be managed from outside without and against Russia. Sir John Sawers in his recent interview with the FT was wisdom incarnate on the issue of revolutionary change and its consequences, which is not beside the point on Ukraine.

What we object to in the first place is the secretive method of the EU in dealing with Ukraine on such a scale in our, presumably interdependent and globalised world. A flawed method produces flawed outcomes. It won’t be a stretch to refer to World War I, which broke out, among other things, because of attachment of European elites to secret diplomacy. Among other things this is a clear case of responsibility and accountability for what has already occured as a matter, I’d like to believe, of unintended consequences. It’s obvious, that geopolitics, especially the outdated type of “Great Games”, simply is not the EU’s cup of tea. If we are to rebuild trust, it would be necessary to know what analysis was behind Brussels’ Ukraine enterprise.

Since A.M.Urdank (30 September) raises the specter of the Cuban crisis, it would be helpful to remember, that, contrary to American Cold War mythology, it was a matter of Moscow deploying medium range missiles close to the US territory in response to similar missiles, deployed by Washington in Germany and Turkey. So, naturally, the removal of both underpinned the eventual US-Soviet compromise. What is relevant today, however, is the fact that both capitals acted unilaterally in the absence of agreements in the area of their strategic forces. That flaw was subsequently remedied. As regards Ukraine, there is similar lack of understandings, which ought to have been part of a formal post-Cold War settlement. That’s why experts like Samuel Charap (Current History, October 2014) are right to raise the issue of filling this fraught void in Euro-Atlantic security architecture with something institutional that would be genuinely inclusive.

 

Yours truly,

Alexander Yakovenko

Russian Ambassador




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