UN Secretary General’s visit to Moscow: a breakthrough or a failure for the Kremlin?
Does Moscow have the right, under the auspices of authoritative international organizations, to speak out in support of international peace and security?
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres paid a several-day visit to Moscow. According to Russian media, the visit took place at the invitation of the Russian government. It is obvious that against the background of numerous scandals and aggravation of the international situation around Russia, the Kremlin is trying to show that it is returning to normal civilized communication and here the status of a permanent member of the UN Security Council, which the Russian Federation inherited after the collapse of the USSR, will come in handy. But does Moscow have the right, under the auspices of authoritative international organizations, to speak out in support of international peace and security? After all, it is the Putin regime that is the real threat today, not the guarantor of world security and stability.
The main topics of the visit, according to Russian media, were issues of further strengthening cooperation between the UN and Russia, international security and the fight against the pandemic. During his visit, Guterres stressed that the UN remains committed to maintaining the Normandy format and implementing the Minsk agreements to resolve the situation in Donbas. But is the Kremlin interested in even the slightest compromise on this issue? Obviously not, because Putin seeks to implement the Minsk agreements in his “own version” and on “favorable” terms. That is why official Moscow is steadily pushing Kyiv to negotiate with representatives of fake republics not only on humanitarian but also on legal issues, trying to legitimize their status and violating not only the laws of Ukraine but also international norms and rules.
Among the issues discussed, the issue of further promotion of the Russian coronavirus vaccine, which remains the subject of Russian pride and positioning itself as a country rescuing from the pandemic and at the same time ambiguous and “painful”, has gained special status. health organizations or the main EU regulators on this issue. Guterres actually supported the Russian drug and stressed that the UN would be happy if the WHO still recognizes the vaccine as effective and that the vaccine should be distributed fairly, because there is a situation where some countries have already vaccinated the majority of the population and others have not received any. doses. In this context, at least strange is the situation in Russia itself, where the vaccination of its own population with its own vaccine has actually failed.
The Kremlin constantly emphasizes that Russia is coping well with the pandemic, was the first to develop its own vaccine and is ready to export it to countries around the world. We are talking about more than 60 foreign states – this is the figure Lavrov said in a conversation with Guterres, clarifying Russia’s “contribution” to the fight against the pandemic and demonstrating its importance in this direction. But against this background, it is surprising that the situation with vaccination in Russia itself, even according to official data, remains one of the lowest in the world. Thus, according to the Associated Press, at the beginning of May, only 8% of Russian citizens received the first dose of the vaccine. Experts even agree that Russians are deliberately intimidated by the consequences of vaccination in order to leave more resources for sale abroad, because the Russian vaccine is catastrophically lacking.
In addition to talking to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, Guterres also had a telephone conversation with Putin. And while the Kremlin justifies the Russian president’s reluctance to appear in public on the advice of epidemiologists, it is clear that there are signs of old age and disease, rumors of which have long been circulating around the person of the Russian president. This can be confirmed by the fact that even the recent “victorious” parade in Moscow was received by Putin sitting down, which is unacceptable for the commander-in-chief. But Putin could not miss such a publicity stunt either, as last year’s triumphant pose to the international community and planned celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany during World War II had to be canceled due to a pandemic. The triumph did not happen, but Putin spent most of his time hiding from Russian society, as Russia is among the leading countries with the worst coronavirus spread in the world and a large-scale decline in human living standards. In 2020, Russia, due to the incompetence of the country’s leadership, found itself in a difficult situation, when in fact simultaneously erupted epidemiological, economic and political crises. According to the Russian government, last year’s natural population decline will be more than 350 thousand, which is 10 times more than in 2019.
Returning to the history of UN-Russia relations, it is worth mentioning how Moscow exploits its status as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and allows itself to ignore the “privileged” principles and norms of the organization, actively developing the importance of existence in the international veto system. It is thanks to this right that Moscow has managed to block the investigation of many crimes. In particular, downed passenger planes – a Korean Boeing shot down by a Soviet fighter in 1983, a Malaysian Boeing MH17 shot down by a Russian BUK-M1 missile in 2014, as well as the investigation of other war crimes, including chemical attacks by Syrian dictator B. Assad. against the civilian population. All this allows Russia to lobby its own interests, creating a cover for numerous war crimes. In addition, enjoying the status of a nuclear state, for the first time since World War II, it was Russia that dared to resolve the international conflict within Europe. The annexation of Crimea, the unleashing of a hybrid war in the Donbas, the transformation of certain territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts into a military training ground for the Russian army and mercenaries – these are the consequences of the Kremlin’s “peacekeeping” international activities.
Even the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, Moscow is trying to use in its own way and continue the idea of lifting international sanctions. So, using the international rostrum, inviting distinguished guests and talking about uniting in the fight against the coronavirus, Moscow is actually calling for forgetting about sanctions, but also about aggression against Ukraine, the problems of Donbass and Crimea and many other crimes.