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562 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     554 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

15.08.2019

The liberal "end of history": what's next?

Following an interview with President Vladimir Putin published by the Financial Times a month ago, the issue of the future “liberal world order” in its idealistic version has been part of London’s political discussion agenda, with the emphasis being put on moral and political leadership in the present-day world.

Throughout post-war decades, America remained an unchallenged leader of the Western world, also by cultivating liberal values in occupied Germany. Europe followed suit. This situation seems to be coming to a close. Following the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, Angela Merkel was widely seen to become the new leader of the Western world. Her words to the effect that Europeans should take their future into their own hands and rely mostly on themselves caused a wide-ranging response worldwide. But many experts acknowledge that what needs modernization is the world order advocated by the West, and it should be done in line with the well-known postulate - if you want things to stay intact, change!

A growing public mistrust in government policies and in the elites in general in Western countries, a widening gap between different sections of the population and the destruction of the pillar of Western democracy - the middle class - all this, being the result of global integration processes on the basis of liberal economy, aggravates social confict and threatens democratic foundations. In the meantime, direct democracy, which the elites tend to associate with authoritarianism, backs up representative democracy when the latter fails. This was illustrated by the British referendum on Brexit.

Since then, the Western house has been “in turmoil” having entered a transitional state after the comfort of the announced “end of history”. For this reason Trump is in a sense a revolutionary figure, not only for America. He is able to thoroughly shake up the entire American system, and along with it the state of affairs in the world, in an  isolationist and protectionist format. A new world order and a new format of relations between Russia and the West will begin to assume shape only on the basis of the outcome of this so-called “Trump revolution” (experts predict him re-election in 2020). By and large, it remains to be seen, as experts point out, whether capitalism of the 19th century is compatible with widespread democracy of the 20th century.

The Anglo-Americans do it easier - they take the initiative in their own hands and go further along the path of economic liberalization. As for Europe, things are more complicated, as it is necessary to uphold the foundations of the liberal "end of history" which is understood by Europeans in a much broader sense - not only as a neoliberal economy, but also as a welfare state which Washington has lost interest in. These two do not match - hence, the crisis of the western society, which marks a rerun of history.

By London standards, Moscow poses a major challenge to West-promoted values. Russia is believed to be seeking recognition of its proper role in global politics and is against the basic foundations of the West-led "liberal order", which developed de facto but never came to become a subject of a genuinely collective regulation after the end of the Cold War. The West allows for humanitarian intervention, change of regime, destabilization of rogue countries, primarily through sanctions-based pressure, which has become the main instrument for waging hybrid wars.

They won’t openly admit that the Russian Federation respects the realities of the postwar international world order with the central role of the UN. For Russia, it is essential that these standards are applied universally, and not selectively. However, the outcome of the “all against all” competition announced by Trump, and this must be acknowleged, does not depend on the effectiveness of the corresponding efforts by Moscow, but by the course and results of the transformation processes that unfolded in the West a quarter of a century later than in the Soviet Union.

The so-called “Russian interference” in the domestic affairs of leading Western countries has become a hot issue for discussion simply because protest moods, dissatisfaction with the existing governance model, which, in fact, precludes any alternatives, have acquired dangerous proportions. If the West succeeds in solving its system-related problems, and its citizens come to believe in the viability of their national governments and in the effectiveness of their policies, this issue will disappear by itself. According to British experts, for Russia to adopt the Western version of the world order the Western countries should first restore confidence in the liberal democratic values they advocate, modernize their party and political systems, and come up with effective solutions to urgent global issues, such as climate change, which for many have become a matter of primary concern.

According to UK analysts, in case of success, talking with Russia will become easier. The Russian leadership, even if not right away, “acknowleges the realities” and gradually reformulates national priorities to match a new Western consensus, the parameters of which are not yet visible. Any such consensus can be effective only provided it is achieved through truly collective efforts, that is, with the direct participation of Russia. Thus, it will become pan-European, it will create a foundation for political unity on our continent.

In the meantime, Moscow has no reason to agree with the rules-based world order, which it considers exclusive by definition, unviable, and which, it says, is proposed by countries whose models of internal structure have yet to prove their efficiency in the changing conditions of present-day reality. "By challenging liberal values," experts say, Russia is seeking to ensure that Western countries do not force on others the principles of world order that lead to chaos, as demonstrated by Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, migration and financial crises, and finally, by the crush, through Washington's fault, of key arms control agreements.

Moscow has no intention to take ideological and political revenge over the West. The revenge is being taken by history for its proclaimed "end." The West must prove its ability to adapt to new conditions, which, in fact, came into reality in 1989 but grew to crisis only 20 years later. Like at the beginning of the 20th century, globalization, with its excess and uneven distribution of benefits and costs, would  come into conflict with the internal development of states anyway. To overcome these discrepancies, a war is not needed – what is necessary is to restore social consolidation, which is easier to do at the national level, that is, within the framework of each particular country. Here, indeed, the advantage belongs to the Anglo-Americans – this gives sense to Brexit and Trump. Europe will also need to maintain the pace of integration, which is by far more challenging, which explains the intensity of the struggle over Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Over the next 10 years, the economic and technological power of states, in tandem with social policy, will lead to a geopolitical re-division, where technology will take center stage. The “rule-based world”, as it was seen in the West at the end of the 20th century, will come into ever greater conflict with the cultural and civilizational diversity of the real world, which can hinge only on international law, as a universal regulatory mechanism, as it was always the case in history.

 

Alexander Yakovenko,

Ambassador




LATEST EVENTS

09.07.2019 - What has happened to Western liberal idea? (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

In the recent interview with President Putin, the Financial Times seems to have launched a discussion on liberalism only at its own peril. Inadvertently, a real problem was touched upon, whose pressing nature is no longer denied by anyone in the West. The newspaper had to admit it in its Editorial of 29 June. Its authors claim that the threat to liberalism comes from within, including President Trump and his policies, Brexit and, certainly, the rise of “populist nationalism”. They refer to voters’ disillusionment with liberalism and loss of confidence in the economic system and trust in political elites. The latter are invited to redouble their efforts to take into consideration issues raised by voters and “to renew liberalism”.


09.08.2018 - Letter from Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to the Guardian’s editor

In response to the Ambassador Beruchashvili’s letter, offering not so much a recollection of the August 2008 events in the Caucasus, but rather a misleading reiteration of the Georgian claims against Russia I have to refer to some of the universally recognized facts and consequences resulting from those tragic events.


24.07.2018 - Eastern Economic Forum: the East is bright (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

When talking about Russia’s Far East, you invariably remember its stunning natural beauty, abundance in natural resources and vast territories. But when one thinks of its investments prospects, you also invariably remember its harsh climate, low average population density and the lack of transport and other infrastructure. But now the situation is changing fundamentally. The region is undergoing a huge and qualitative revival. The development of the region has been declared one of the national priorities for Russia. In the last 5 years 18 advanced development zones and 5 free ports have been established in the Russian Far East. Long-term tax exemptions have been provided for large investment projects. Paperless e-visas for visitors of Vladivostok are available for citizens of 18 countries.


03.05.2018 - SALISBURY: A CLASSIFIED CASE (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

On 4 March 2018 two Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal were reportedly poisoned in Salisbury, Wiltshire with the toxic chemical named A-234 under the British classification. On 12 March Foreign Secretary Johnson summoned me to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and said that Russia was “highly likely” responsible for the attack. He invited us to respond by the next day, whether this had been a direct act by the state or Russia had lost control over this nerve agent. The incident had international repercussions, including expulsion of 150 Russian diplomats from 28 countries, notwithstanding the fact that the charges were based on assumptions and unverifiable intelligence. The Western countries lost the same number of Moscow-based staff. Meanwhile, the British government provided no evidence either to the public, its allies or Russia. Subsequent events revealed that no proof of Russia’s involvement existed. On 1 May, National Security adviser Sir Mark Sedwill confirmed that (despite a number of previous leaks) no suspect had been identified, a statement that speaks for itself.


14.02.2018 - The international community needs a unified legal base to combat information crimes (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Amid the rapid advance in technologies we face a growing number of cyber-crimes: in 2016, these offences caused damage of $445 billion and by 2020, according to experts, this figure can reach up to $3 trillion, exceeding the overall income received from the Internet.


26.01.2018 - UNGA: Glorification of Nazism must stop (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In December the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the traditional resolution on “Combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. It was supported by an overwhelming majority of UN Member States: 133 states voted for this document, 57 became its co-sponsors, and only Ukraine and the United States voted against.


29.11.2017 - Afghan opium production jumps to record level (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for RT)

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.



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