21 February 2018
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

25.07.2017

Embassy comments on The Sunday Telegraph Christopher Booker’s piece on Dunkirk

        It is preposterous to say that Russia would rather forget Dunkirk. We had a similar tragedy in the summer of 1941, and had no other option but keep on fighting. Russia was the means of last resort in dealing with that existential threat to European civilization.

In our Twitter poll (on 19 July) we wanted to draw attention to the origins of that calamity on the Western front. And those are in the policy of appeasement. In fact, the British and French troops were badly let down by their Governments. Since they stayed idle along the border with Germany for eight months (September 1939 to April 1940), it was impossible to see where the will to fight would have come from. All the more so that the Germans executed the same Schlieffen plan, they couldn’t successfully accomplish in August 1914 because of an early action by the Russian army in East Prussia. Like in 1914, they moved through Belgium, and the Maginot Line didn’t protect that breach. We didn’t mention the Cliveden Set, Munich etс. for the sake of level-headed debate.

         But the most important thing from the point of view of contemporary European politics is that the Versailles system was utterly flawed. It marginalized Germany and the Soviet Union, leaving them no other choice but to cooperate bilaterally. Unlike the Western neighbours of Germany, her Eastern neighbors’ borders were not guaranteed. The plans for an Eastern Locarno were defeated by the Western elites. What came out of this project was a system of two bilateral treaties between Prague and Paris/Moscow. In the fall of 1938 the Soviet Union was willing to come to Czechoslovakia’s assistance, but could do so only together with France, and the French Government preferred a sellout to Hitler in Munich. Obviously, Nazi Germany was easier to defeat in 1938 than in 1939, and in 1939 than 1940.

We didn’t say that the Revolution in Russia was to a great extent due to the consequences of WWI, and even the Provisional Government could have done better and haven’t lost control, had it not been pressed by the allies to continue the war effort that the country couldn’t afford. Shall we mention that the Western powers were well aware of the futility of the war by the first Christmas, but still didn’t have enough wisdom to stop the slaughter? Another chance for peace arose in the spring of 1917, but was also missed. Then Paris and London failed the Wilsonian “peace without victors” test. J.M.Keynes in his “Economic Consequences of the Peace” made a convincing argument why the Versailles created economic conditions for another war in Europe. A big issue of causality in terms of European order/national regimes.

It is obvious that the Western powers failed to create a region-wide collective security system to prevent war in Europe. Instead they reacted to “the mass political awakening” (Zb.Brzezinski) with the “Soviet threat” in mind, and wouldn’t mind fascism as a way to manage it. That is why the appeasement and the effort to channel the German aggression eastwards. The partitioning of Czechoslovakia and invasion of Poland were viewed as necessary to ensure direct territorial contact for a military clash with the Soviet Union.

         We are very much in favour of good knowledge of history, including the Phoney War and Dunkirk. By the way, the Phoney War proved Moscow right in that it couldn’t count on Western powers had it chosen to stand up to Hitler in 1939. The Phoney War is hardly ever mentioned in history books here. It ought to be explained, however difficult it might be. But without that one cannot understand the tragedy of Dunkirk and the scale of courage of the troops put in that impossible position by their own government’s folly. It also illustrates the elites’ capacity for self-delusion and outright lunacy, which is always useful to bear in mind.

         Naturally, bigger issues of history arise. It is easy to understand the eagerness to disown Germany as black sheep (or later prodigal son) of the West. Yes, indeed, Germany was the first major European power to occupy another major European power since Napoleon in its war with France in 1870-1871. Prior to that Prussia had wars with Denmark and the Austrian empire. But the European order, agreed at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, was destroyed by the Crimean War in 1853-1856, which re-introduced war into European politics. Orlando Figes calls it, quite rightly, the first total war. Some historian would call it unnecessary. For others it was World War Zero, for it started the countdown to WWI, having provided the window of upportunity for the wrong unification of Germany, i.e. as a Prussian empire. 20 years before it happened, Fedor Tyutchev predicted that it would bring about a European catastrophe. Here, in Britain, that war is mostly remembered for the Charge of the Light Brigade. As Lord Tennyson put it, “someone had blundered.” It was the least consequential of the blunders in European politics that followed, including the British Government’s insistence on humiliating provisions in the Peace of Paris. Overall, this is about the importance of being knowledgeable in history, the view that we wholly share.




LATEST EVENTS

20.02.2018 - DRAFT UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON COOPERATION IN COMBATING INFORMATION CRIMES



15.02.2018 - Embassy Comments on statement of Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad

The statement of Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad regarding Russia’s alleged responsibility for the NotPetya cyber-attack is, like many other similar accusations, not backed by any evidence. It is another example of irresponsible and hostile rhetoric of British officials towards Russia. The Embassy considers it as a part of the continuing campaign aimed at the stigmatisation of our country, that we have witnessed in the UK over the recent months.


15.02.2018 - The latest anti-Russian campaign in Western media (MFA comment)

We have noted a number of articles published by Western media in the latest campaign to denigrate Russia’s role in fighting terrorism in Syria. Here are just a few of the many examples: “Syria’s Idlib province pounded by Russian airstrikes, activists say” (The Washington Post, February 5); “Russia bombs Syria rebel strongholds after jet is shot down” (Newsweek, February 5); “Biggest airstrikes in a year hit Syria after rebels shoot down Russian jet” (The Guardian, February 6); “Devastating Russian airstrikes of retribution in Syria” (Deutsche Welle, February 5); “Russia launches an offensive after the jet is downed” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, February 5). These articles are obviously carbon-copies – their style and reasoning are strikingly similar. The misinformation comes down to allegations that the Russian Aerospace Forces are striking rebel strongholds in Idlib, killing civilians and damaging civilian infrastructure, including medical institutions. The Syrian Army is being groundlessly accused of using chemical weapons.


14.02.2018 - Embassy’s Press Officer on the chemical incidents in Syria

Q: Could you comment on the recent statements by a number of Western politicians and media claiming that Moscow and Damascus were responsible for the chemical weapons attacks in the course of the Syrian conflict? A: Russia is against any use of chemical weapons and is a strong supporter of chemical disarmament. In Syria we are in favour of conducting professional on-site investigations of all chemical incidents, something that has never been performed. Instead, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) relied on “evidence” provided by the self-styled activists and rescue organisations such as the White Helmets which are in fact colluding with al-Nusra and other terrorist groups.


12.02.2018 - Ushakov Medal presented to the Arctic Convoys Veterans

On 9-11 February 2018 Third Secretary of the Embassy Vadim Retyunskiy presented the Ushakov medals to the Arctic Convoys veterans Mr David SIMPSON and Mr George MOON


10.02.2018 - Embassy Press Officer on Boris Johnson’s comments on the humanitarian situation in Syria

Q: Would you please comment on the yesterday’s statement by the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on the humanitarian situation in Syria? What is Russia’s position on this issue? A: The humanitarian situation in Syria remains predictably difficult. Russia continues to take efforts to provide aid to the civilian population, both directly and through international organizations. As regards to the situation in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib as well as in Afrin, Hasakah, Raqqa, Rukban camp and other areas, we share concerns of the UN agencies in Syria and we have repeatedly called on all parties to stop the hostilities.


09.02.2018 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a ceremony on the occasion of Diplomats’ Day, Moscow, February 8, 2018

Colleagues, friends, We are grateful to our guests and comrades for accepting our invitation. I have the honour to declare this ceremony devoted to Diplomats’ Day open. (Anthem of the Russian Federation) * * * I would like to again express our gratitude to all those who have joined the Foreign Ministry staff and veterans on this occasion, including our colleagues from the Presidential Executive Office, the Government Executive Office, the Russian Security Council, ministries, agencies and other offices with which we maintain close and fruitful cooperation. My special thanks go to Valentina Matviyenko, Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.


09.02.2018 - MFA comment on the humanitarian situation in Syria

The humanitarian situation in Syria remains difficult. Given these circumstances, Russia continues to deploy multidimensional efforts to provide aid to the civilian population, both by directly bringing in humanitarian supplies, and facilitating the work of international humanitarian bodies. In this context, we paid attention to a statement issued by the UN agencies in Syria released on February 6 regarding the humanitarian situation in a number of areas, including Afrin, Hasakah, Raqqa, Idlib, Rukban camp, and Eastern Ghouta, with a call for a month-long break in hostilities in order to deliver humanitarian aid and evacuate wounded and sick people.


07.02.2018 - Shelling of the Russian trade mission building in Damascus

A 120-mm mortar shell hit the Russian trade mission building in Damascus (currently mothballed, but still under diplomatic immunity) on February 6 at approximately 4 pm local time. No casualties have been reported. The building was badly damaged. We strongly condemn this latest terrorist attack against the diplomatic mission of the Russian Federation in Damascus, which is part of a string of recent crimes committed by terrorists against civilians in the Syrian capital.


05.02.2018 - MFA statement on New START

According to Article II of the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, Russia and the United States were to meet the following aggregate limits on strategic arms by February 5, 2018: - 700 deployed ballistic missiles (ICBMs), deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments; - 1,550 nuclear warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments; - 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments. The Russian Federation has fully complied with its commitment to reduce its strategic offensive weapons.



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