My answer to Lavrov about the Crimea and “Malvinas”
As is often the case with propagandists of authoritarian regimes, Sergey Lavrov himself contradicts his own logic when he gets entangled in historical examples.
In a new paper published at the same time the magazine ” Russia in Global Affairs” and the publication ” Kommersant”, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is trying to call the civilized world to respect the rule of authoritarianism and “do not disturb” the Russian regime to establish these rules, not only in their own country, but also in neighboring states. But, as often happens with propagandists of authoritarian regimes, Sergei Lavrov himself contradicts his own logic when he gets entangled in historical examples, – Vitaly Portnikov writes for Crimea.
Of course, the head of the Russian foreign policy department could not do without Crimea.
“ When the principle of self-determination contradicts the geopolitical interests of the West, as in the case of the free expression of the will of the inhabitants of Crimea in favor of a common fate with Russia, they forget about it and angrily condemn people’s free choice, punish them with sanctions,” Lavrov points out. Well, what is on the other side of the scale that should prove the ” double standards” of the West? “When it is profitable, the right of peoples to self-determination is recognized as an absolute“ rule ”. In this row – Malviny 12 thousand km from Great Britain … “
Let’s just dwell on these very Malvinas. Moreover, most readers are unlikely to find them on geographical maps. Moreover, not only the majority of readers in Ukraine, but also the majority of Sergei Lavrov’s compatriots. Because there is no Malvin on Russian geographical maps either. And then there is the Falkland Islands – the overseas territory of Great Britain. The Falklands are called the Malvinas Islands in Argentina, this country makes its claims to the Falklands – much like Russia justifies its rights to the Crimean Peninsula. But from the point of view of international law, the Falklands are British, not Argentinean territory. In the same way, as from the point of view of international law, Crimea is the territory of Ukraine, not Russia.
In 1982, the authoritarian regime of Argentina, which is quite comparable with the authoritarian regime of Russia, decided that ” Malvins are ours” and occupied this territory – much like Russia occupied Crimea in 2014. And I have no doubt that if the Argentine junta had established itself in the Falklands, it would have held a referendum on the annexation of the territory to Argentina, and the dissenting ones would have been expelled or exterminated – the then rulers of Argentina had rich experience in this.
However, the then head of government of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher, decided not to surrender and sent the British naval forces to the shores of the Falkland Islands. And the British managed to defend their sovereignty. And the Argentine rulers went where they were supposed to go – to prison cells. The then President of the country, Leopoldo Galtieri, was not only imprisoned for several years. He was excluded from the list of the country’s presidents, like other authoritarian rulers in uniform. And by the way, the Argentines learned the most important lesson from the Falklands adventure. After the fall of the dictatorship, there have never been any coups and authoritarianism in the country. Argentina is no longer Russia.
So in the Crimea story, Putin’s Russia did not play the role of Great Britain at all. She, I’m sure, played the role of Argentina during the junta – a word familiar to Putin and Lavrov, right? It’s just that Argentina faced one of the most militarily powerful countries in the world. And Russia attacked a weaker country at the time of the destabilization of the situation. Or maybe at the time of the attack on Crimea, the fled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was not in Russia? Am I confusing something?
Therefore, the rules are in fact – they are the same, no matter what Sergey Lavrov invented. Both Argentina during the military junta and Russia during Putin’s time went in open violation of international law. It was just that in the case of Argentina, the violator was stopped, but in the case of Russia, it was not. And the occupied Ukrainian territory remains under Russian control. I’m sure – for now.
But no ” double standards of the West” are observed in all this, as we see. There is only one standard – international law must be respected. Even Sergei Lavrov.
Reprinted by permission of Radio Liberty / Radio Free Europe, 2101 Connecticut Avenue, Washington 20036, USA