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AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

25.06.2015

Waterloo and Vienna: learning from history (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

These days, as the celebrations of the Waterloo 200th anniversary have just concluded in Europe and Britain, it is time to reflect on the legacy of the turbulent era that ended in 1815.

The popular memory of European nations preserves the battles fought during the Napoleonic wars – Trafalgar, Austerlitz, Borodino, Leipzig, Waterloo to name the key ones – but, regretfully, not the peace that followed and that was conceived at the Congress of Vienna, which agreed its decisions several days prior to Waterloo.

The grand diplomatic gathering did not only redraw borders of the traumatized continent. It designed the first collective security system that guaranteed peace in Europe for decades to come.

At the Congress, the so called Concert of Europe was established – balance of power maintained by agreement among the leading nations: Russia, Great Britain, Austria, Prussia and France. Just like Russia had contributed to the military victory over Napoleon in the campaigns of 1812 and 1813-1814, the Russian Emperor Alexander I made a crucial contribution to the Congress by his vision of a fair and sustainable settlement in Europe, which brought France as an equal power to the Concert of Europe.

In Vienna the monarchs and their ministers realized that peace could only be maintained through continued diplomatic interaction and coordination of the major powers. They were guided by magnanimity and foresight, born at the age of Enlightenment. The next years saw a number of pan-European congresses, and in Vienna the first ever permanent intergovernmental organization was established - Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine, still in existence today. These were the first steps which 130 years later led to the creation of the United Nations.

Significant effort was put in Vienna to create a peace in which all countries’ interests would be protected. Notably, Duke of Wellington vigorously insisted that France should have equal rights with other major nations. This makes a striking contrast with the flawed Versailles system, which humiliated and excluded both   Germany and Russia. The tragic consequences of such settlement were foreseen early on by John M. Keynes in his “The economic consequences of the peace”.

The system created in Vienna was far from perfect. It did not take peoples’ right to self-determination into account. The rivalry between its founding members led to the senseless Crimean War and sowed the seeds of the First World War. The United Nations Charter laid foundations for a world system of collective security. Nothing was done for Europe divided between two opposing alliances. The end of the Cold War provided opportunity to fix that flaw, but it was missed and inevitably led to the present state of European affairs. It’s not late yet to learn from history and agree a post-Cold War settlement, which would save us a lot of trouble and lost opportunities in a radically changed global environment.

 




LATEST EVENTS

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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.


30.09.2017 - Russia’s initiative on protecting SMM OSCE in South-East of Ukraine (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

On 5th September, at the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has announced an initiative to establish the United Nations Mission on Support in Protecting the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) OSCE in the South-East of Ukraine.


25.09.2017 - Eurasian Economic Union today (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Though hardly noticeable in the Western media, the Eurasian economic cooperation is booming, with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) becoming an increasingly effective integration project. The unique format of enhanced economic coordination along with the EAEU member states’ retained political sovereignty and cultural identity is proving itself.


25.09.2017 - On Russia's assistance to Central Asia (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Russia attaches great importance to the issue of sustainable development as it is underlined by the UN. Among our priorities in this area is the development of Central Asia. We contribute to the development of this region on a regular basis, regardless of the global economic crisis and its negative effect on Russia’s economy. In today’s world, international aid is often politically motivated and aimed at exerting one’s influence. Russia has a different approach.


25.09.2017 - IX BRICS Summit – turning into a global organisation (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The 9th BRICS summit in Xiamen, China, has emphasized the proximity of positions of the member states on the current global problems. It demonstrated that over the last 10 years BRICS has grown into a full-fledged international mechanism for global cooperation.


08.09.2017 - SCO sets standards for countering extremism (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In June 2017, the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) signed the SCO Convention on Countering Extremism, which will help strengthen the international legal framework to address new challenges and threats as well as increase the effectiveness of cooperation between relevant authorities of the member states and to improve legislation in this area.



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