Saturday

3rd Dec 2022

Opinion

Russia's EU envoy: The choice is always yours

  • Russia's EU ambassador Vladimir Chizhov (Photo: friendsofeurope.org)

On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory in the Second World War one can often hear people in the EU and Brussels talking about the need for historical truth.

I could not agree more - should such cardboard shield not hide unworthy attempts to downplay the role of the Soviet Union and its nations that sacrificed 27m lives for Victory, to equate Nazism to Communism, and, furthermore, to accuse the USSR of responsibility for this appalling tragedy of the 20th century.

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Thereby, I am sure Europeans deserve the genuine truth and should have the choice to have their own critical view of the modern world order.

In January 2020, president Vladimir Putin announced the opening a Centre of Archive Documents on the history of the Second World War, soon to be opened to enable all those interested in understanding historical processes to see documents with their own eyes. 

In the meantime, an avalanche of lies about my country and its history sweeping over European public opinion on the eve of the sacred date of 9 May makes me remove my pen-lid today. 

Our Anglo-Saxon partners were immediately dissatisfied with the world order established following the Second World War.

The accepted story is that the speech given on 5 March 1946 by the then former British prime minister Winston Churchill in Fulton heralded the beginning of the Cold War.

But it is a misconception. It was preceded by Operation Unthinkable, elaborated by the UK back in 1945 - a plan of war to be waged by the US and Great Britain against the USSR, and it was preceded by the American Totality Plan, developed by the US after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, to carry out nuclear attacks against 17 major Soviet cities.  

Churchill's statement templates are still used nowadays.

In his speech he named the USSR as the main source of international difficulties. Today the West applies it to Russia.

Take, for instance, disinformation campaigns launched in connection with unification of Crimea with Russia or the alleged Russian interference in democratic processes in the US, or in Europe.

But this bitter pill prepared for my country would have been inedible had it not been sweetened by an invitation "to take its rightful place among the leading nations of the world". The dramatic experience of the 1990s proves that it would have been a carefully prepared and comfortable one in return for total surrender of national interests.  

In the 1990s, the collective West missed its historic chance to establish a transparent system of equal and indivisible security in Europe and undermined a key asset - trust that just started to reappear after the Cold War.

Notions continued to be actively substituted. 

A "rules-based world order" was invented to replace international law. The warning issued by Vladimir Putin in Munich in 2007 that a unilateral world order cannot exist was simply ignored.

Instead, mankind was served a concept of "multilaterality" - a surrogate for multipolarity promoted by key world powers, including BRICS members. 

Denying the existence of a multipolar world with equal actors building their relations on the basis of trust and respect for sovereignty is already costing the European Union dearly. 

Playing with sanctions has already boomeranged on the EU when Washington punished European businesses for participating in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Russia is interested in having the EU as an independent player on the international arena, capable of promoting mutually beneficial cooperation. An EU that would not be senselessly searching for a "fifth column" and imaginary foreign enemies.

Basically, an EU that would live according to its own agenda.  

Russia, for its part, learned the necessary lessons from a recent painful period of its history and thus is again able to act as a leading world power.  

Russia is not acting against anyone on the international stage. My country defends its own sovereignty and interests, building trustworthy relations of mutual respect with its partners.

It is our choice that makes a significant contribution to reviving collective security in Europe and beyond.

We expect the EU, as a responsible and important actor in international relations, to make its own sovereign choice. It is  our duty to provide next generations of Europeans with a world free of danger of new military conflicts.

I find it crucial to reiterate this point today, on the eve of a glorious anniversary.

We need to trust each other and cooperate. The choice always remains with every responsible participant of international relations. And Russia always keeps the doors open to dialogue on an equal footing. 

Author bio

Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov is the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the European Union and Euratom.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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