A proverb – to play a dirty trick on respectable partners (for instance, to respectable partners of the European Union (EU) is used not only among Russian publicists (both pro-Kremlin and the ones who call themselves oppositionists), is being associated with the culture of ruse, which actually was discussed in the context of another article by Joshua Yaffa, a correspondent of The New Yorker and the author of the book Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambitions and Compromise in Vladimir Putin‘s Russia who has been living in Moscow since 2012 in the article ‘The Real Russia Story in the Politics of the United States‘ in the daily The New York Times (www.nytimes.com/2020/03/09/opinion/russia-trump-election.html).
A style called ‘to play a dirty trick‘, designated for tanglement and mischief of ‘respectable partners‘ by using unfair or simply shabby methods, in favour of their interests, of course. For instance, like that. On 14 April information about ‘commercial ‘proposals to Italians familiar to Russians living in Italy appeared on a public domain asking to post thank you notes to Russia and its President for humanitarian aid on Internet social networks – the daily of Rome La Repubblica found out that the price of a video report was EUR 200, for a photograph or text – a lower price. They even sent attachments with samples on p how they should look like and they suggested posting thank you notes on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. La Repubblica managed to reach one recruited ‘thank you note poster‘. She admitted that she earned EUR 200 promise; however, finally she was paid just EUR 20
Russians are up-and-doing at a diplomatic level, too. As Sergei Kislica, a representative of Ukraine in the United Nations (UN) noted in his interview to the American Voice on 5 April when he made comments on the attempt of Moscow to push up the resolution regarding coronavirus to the General Assembly, the Kremlin was plotting multilevel plans, in implementation of which Russian diplomats demonstrated high proficiency. Pushing up the resolution to the UN coincided with the speech of President V. Putin on 26 March during a virtual conference of G-20 on the same topic, as if it‘s time to lift sanctions and with one accord start fighting COVID-19 when everybody had to fight the crisis. Of course, firstly he had in mind sanctions regarding aggression against Ukraine.
Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the UN, has become a friend of the Kremlin when on 23 March he encouraged to call global truce and waive sanctions so the world could concentrate on fighting the coronavirus. It is odd that according to , which cited the initiative regarding truce of Emmanuel Macron, President of France and which was immediately supported by four from five members of the UN Security Council such as France, USA, China and Great Britain. The President of Russia was still contemplating, it seems, he was supercilious by faltering in a demonstrative way.
There are dozens of similar examples, especially in the front of disinformation and fake news. We have paid a lot attention on this in texts posted on this website. Indeed, ‘playing trick to respectable partners ‘is sticking or does not work at all increasingly. The resolution of Russia mentioned here has not been supported by the UN; accordingly the one suggested by Ukraine was supported. S. Kislica noted that the EU spoke up against these Russian documents a few minutes before the end of voting, thus they were trying to find a wording for all states of the Community to sign it up to the last minute. The attempts of solidarity were actually necessary trying to overcome the ‘under carpet’ Kremlin‘s plan to increase disagreements inside the EU under the excuse of coronavirus.
It seems that the breakthrough so desired by the Kremlin was close to being achieved. The demarche of the Secretary General in March (nobody knows how forceful) in regards to lifting sanctions and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission (EC) on 13 April admitted (by the way, she apologized Italy for delay with the European support) disconcert of the EU at the beginning of the pandemic when the members of the Community ignored solidarity and were concerned just about their own interests. However, the EU came to its senses and its goodwill to act in accord in the face of the disaster, has returned and according to U. von der Leyen, the EC in the short term shall give discreet recommendations how to get out of this regimen of special measures step by step.
According to the diplomat S. Kislica, 22-26 countries (out of 193) make a stable club of Russia supporters in the UN in recent years such as Venezuela, Syria, Burundi, etc. According to the diplomat, he has tried several times to convince representatives of the states that did not support Ukraine in the confrontation between Moscow and Kiev in non-adequacy of their position and gave his arguments. To this end there are some changes, for instance, at the beginning of the year nobody supported members from 15 members of the UN Security Council regarding the resolution initiated by Moscow ‘against Kiev’ as a result of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, even China.
To this end I should also recall an address of 19 representatives of the European Parliament (EP) to the leaders of the EU to further support sanctions against Russia as a result of Ukraine, which was abundantly signed by members of European Parliament of the Baltic States (Petras Auštrevičius, Andrius Kubilius, Rasa Juknevičienė, Sandra Kalnietė and Andrius Ansipas) and representatives of Poland (Anna Fotyga, Radosław Sikorski, Marek Belka, etc). The address recalls a lie of Moscow as if sanctions restrict possibilities to purchase goods and medical equipment required for fighting COVID-19 pandemic and specified that they do not encumber Moscow to act in solidarity with the world if it actually wants that. Sanctions are not applied to the trade in medical goods.
David Satter, a publicist and author of books ‘Never Speak to Strangers‘ and ‘Age of Delirium‘ started travelling in the Soviet Union further from the territory of Moscow in the middle of the 8 decade of the last century trying to get an interview with dissidents from the Baltic republics. The correspondent of The Financial Times had a lot of adventures when he was cleaned out in the night train car by an attractive stranger and became the subject of spying of KGB officers who pretended to be Estonian dissidents.
In the interview to ((www.svoboda.org/a/usa-today-satter-book/30529738.html) he told that he sees the origin of the present operating style of the Russian regimen in customs of the post-Soviet reality that has been forming during Presidency of Boris Yeltsin and later V. Putin (the publicist sees no big difference in that). Now the Kremlin explains its ordinary crimes to the locals by ridiculous and false arguments without any discussions when the civil society must demand its government to observe fundamental principles of moral. Russian society has no such possibilities, thus skills, either.
According to the publicist, this algorithm is ‘shifted ‘to international relations. The democratic world has not understood it for a long time. The U.S. for a couple of years tried to find out whether the President Donald Trump was the Kremlin‘s agent or not and missed an ostentatious murder of the oppositionist Boris Nemtsov in the capital of Russia. Moscow brazened out from responsibility regarding bringing down the aircraft of Malaysian Airlines in July 2014 that was over eastern Ukraine by a Russian missile surface-to-air when 298 people were killed, including 80 children. V.Putin is able to make situations when nobody has either possibilities or wish to get involved in his manipulations or crimes in Russia and outside its territory.
D.Satter believes that this is a criminal regimen, the foundations of which were laid by people of B.Yeltsin environment and the Federal Security Service of Russia who organized explosion of apartment buildings in Buynaksk, Moscow and Volgodonsk on 4-16 September 1999 when 307 people were killed and 1,770 were injured. The regimen that came into power by these methods may not be other than criminal. The terroristic style had and still has its continuation – hostage rescue operation in Moscow theatre Nord Ost cost lives of a number of people, in Beslan, killing of well-known people such as B.Nemtsov mentioned here, Anna Politkovskaya and Alexander Litvinenko, etc. However, the author of the book about fall of the Soviet Union ‘Age of Delirium‘) does not agree that V.Putin tends to go as far as to destroy the West.
However, fictional reality pushed up by the Kremlin and manipulations continue. President of Russia is a pro-active politician. The U.S. magazine elected him as the Man of the Year 2007 and emphasized that V.Putin wildly returned Russia to the list of the world power. We should remind that people nominated by Time as man of the year are not necessarily leaders of good will. Adolf Hitler was elected Man of the Year in 1938 and Joseph Stalin got this title in 1939 and 1942.
In honour to the Baltic States we should note that they have never lacked awareness; they have always been and still are almost the only ‘canaries‘that warn about a dangerous style of Moscow. It is quite logical: we are located very close to it.
This time without making any generalizations we should in paradox hear Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus who is a friend of Moscow and who in his interview to on April 3 only made loud considerations whether the most powerful in the world are not getting ready for a new division of the zones of influence under the shield of COVID-19. According to the leader of Belarus, Russians dispose oil and natural gas, China – huge economy, United States –a machine of printing dollar bills, thus we might even need a war so we could be re-divided with compulsory usurpation of neighbours. It is not hard to imagine what Moscow would usurp.
It is clear that this geopolitical fantasy by no means has been designated for internal market of Belarus, which should be considered this way. Nevertheless, the algorithm of fraud and open turpitude is very vital among those in power in Russia for seeking strategic plans, too. In this country we can also come across texts that COVID-19 pandemic will confront the United States and Europe for good and President of Russia will discuss global matters on an equal footing with let‘s say USA and China. As Russian political analyst Valery Solovei indicates V. Putin actually has such an ‘idee fixe‘and he wants to be written in the history as the one who reached the revenge for the fall of the Soviet Union and ‘corrected’ (restored?) the map of the planet. He will look for implementation of this ‘idee fixe’ in all possible situations and by all possible covers.
Despite the more frequent failures of the method to ‘play dirty tricks to respectable partners’, the game is not over yet and calming down would simply mean being naive.