What brought the meeting of Russian parliamentarians with the new head of PACE, what to expect from the NATO summit in Warsaw and the missile defense bases in Eastern Europe, the RG was told by the chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Alexey Pushkov.
Alexey Konstantinovich, last week a meeting was held between the chairmen of both houses of the Russian parliament and the speaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Pedro Agramunt. Was the possibility of resuming full participation of Russia in PACE activities discussed?
Alexey Pushkov: Let me remind you that the reason for the conflict with PACE was sanctions against the Russian delegation, which consist in limiting our powers. In this regard, in April 2014, we decided to leave the Parliamentary Assembly, and in January, 2016 decided not to go to Strasbourg and not to request authority at all until we see that the majority in PACE are for giving us authority without restrictions. At the same time, PACE now has a new leadership. The chair was Pedro Agramunt - a Spaniard from the European People’s Party, who belongs to the realistic wing of the Parliamentary Assembly. Changes occurred in the composition of the PACE political committee: today almost all of its members are for the return of the Russian delegation. This created an opportunity for political dialogue. In this regard, 20 in May in St. Petersburg met Sergey Naryshkin and the Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko with Pedro Argamount. They discussed the possibility of overcoming the resulting conflict situation. It was confirmed from our side: since Russia does not participate in the PACE activities, its observers will not be able to come to our Duma elections either. But I think the contacts will be continued, although it is already clear that Russia will not appear in PACE until January 2017. And then everything will depend on how we assess the mood in this organization.
- Who wins and who loses from the absence of Russia in the Parliamentary Assembly?
Alexey Pushkov: In my opinion, it loses, first of all, PACE. We have not lost anything, even on the contrary - in our absence it is more difficult to arrange carnivals for Russophobia, which some of the PACE deputies are famous for, first of all, from the Baltic states, Ukraine, Georgia, and Poland. And we are not in a hurry to return. PACE left the orbit of Russia, it lost the largest state of the Council of Europe, on which a lot really depends. She isolated herself, not us, because our country operates on other levels. Russia acts at the level of the UN Security Council, at the level of direct negotiations between the presidents and foreign ministers of the United States, France, Germany on the Syrian issue, in the Norman four, on the Ukrainian issue, at the BRICS level, at the level of the “big twenty”. We interact both at the highest and at the parliamentary level with China, where the trip of our delegation headed by Sergey Naryshkin, with countries such as Japan, Egypt, Iran has just taken place. PACE is not able to isolate Russia. But she managed to lose Russia as a partner. And thereby weakened itself.
- Some European politicians recently talk about the need to lift sanctions against Russia and less and less want to link them with the Minsk agreements. Do such signals come from European countries?
Alexey Pushkov: In my opinion, the logic of sanctions is coming to its natural end. This does not mean that they will be quickly canceled, but for Europeans their meaning is less and less obvious. And this opinion is not individual businessmen, but a wide range of European entrepreneurs and many politicians, in particular, parliamentarians. First, Europe is losing a lot from these sanctions. I was recently in Italy, they told me that only Campania - this is one of the regions of Italy - lost about 2015 million euros in the 100 year due to the sanctions. And how much has all Italy lost in these two years? The only European country that has won is Serbia, which, by 40-45, has increased the export of its agricultural products to Russia because it does not belong to the European Union and has not joined the sanctions. All others lost. Secondly, sanctions make sense when they lead to a change in the policy of the country against which they are directed. In the case of Russia, this does not happen. So, sanctions are ineffective.
Thirdly: in Europe, many people understand that sanctions were imposed by the Western alliance led by the United States and under US pressure, and the EU countries pay for them. Americans lost much less: trade with the United States fell from 26 to 20 billions of dollars. Compare this figure with 100 billions of goods turnover with Germany and 450 billions with the European Union, which after the introduction of sanctions and Russian countermeasures reduced by 30-40 percent. These are completely different volumes!
And the last thing: in Europe they are beginning to understand that the failure to comply with the Minsk agreements is connected not so much with the position of Moscow, as with the position of Kiev. Ukraine for two years enjoyed the status of the most political favored, she all said goodbye - it was such a democratic bride for marriage, which the European bridegroom was looking forward to. But now it turns out that under her dress is not at all what he expected. And the dress itself is heavily stained. Nine thousand dead civilians in the Donbass-is the result of the actions of the armed forces of Ukraine, and not self-shelling. And the Odessa massacre was staged not by "separatists", and Ukrainian ultra with the support of the Kiev regime. By the way, the Council of Europe recently admitted that no investigation had been carried out. The general secretary of this organization, Thorbjørn Jagland, is the only leader of the European parliamentary organizations who decided to create a special commission on the Odessa massacre. And the commission concluded that Kiev did nothing to find the guilty. A lot of noise was made in Europe by the film of French director Paul Moreira "Ukraine: masks of revolution", in which it was told about the role of neo-Nazi organizations and the true essence of Maidan.
In our absence, it is more difficult to arrange the carnivals of Russophobia, which some of the PACE deputies are famous for
All this greatly spoiled the image of the "bride". It turned out that her hands were spattered with blood, and on her shoulder, under her dress, a swastika tattoo. And now the European groom does not understand what to do with it. It is impossible to conclude a “European Union” with it, because it is not ready either, and the EU cannot endlessly finance a huge country that is in such a deplorable state.
The referendum in Holland, during which the majority of its participants spoke out against association with Ukraine, is a demonstration of common sense. And if the referendum was in Greece? In France? In Italy? If the same referendums were held in other EU countries, I am sure that many of them, especially in the countries of Central and Southern Europe, would have the same result as in Holland.
Today, Europe should finally come to the conclusion that the formula “sanctions will be lifted when the Minsk agreements are implemented” does not work, because under this formula Russia and the EU depend on the position of Kiev, which is blocking the Minsk process. And European companies, entrepreneurs and farmers pay for it.
- In June, a referendum on EU membership will be held in the UK. Regardless of its outcome, we see that centrifugal tendencies are becoming stronger and stronger in the European Union. Europeans are protesting against the “blurred European mentality” and putting on the national, the Visegrad Group openly criticizes the European Commission’s plans to overcome the migration crisis, the agreements with Turkey weaken Europeans' confidence in the authorities and question Merkel’s leadership. What's happening?
Alexei Pushkov: As in the case of sanctions, decisions on migrants are the standard method of the European Union: they make some decision and hide behind this decision, despite the obvious gap between the real situation and the ideological vision. There is a deepening gap between the official EU line and the readiness of Europeans to follow this line. This is not disintegration yet, but a noticeable weakening of the European Union. Look, for example, at a quota solution for refugees. Four countries do not want to talk about quotas at all. Poland declares: we will not allow the dictates of the European Union in this matter. It is supported by the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary. And a number of countries do not speak, but they think the same. For example, the Austrians simply closed the borders and restricted the reception of refugees. But the European Union is saved by an abstract formula: they say there should be a quota distribution. But will it? Another formula far from reality concerns the solution of the Syrian crisis: a political agreement must be concluded that will lead to the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad. But Assad now controls most of Syria. His position strengthened. There are no grounds for his resignation. If he did not leave a year ago, then why leave now - after the liberation of Palmyra, El-Karyatayn and many areas in the north and south of the country?
It is already clear to all that the "open door" policy towards refugees suffered a complete collapse, since it did not correspond to political realities. Germany cannot afford to accept two million refugees. They settled on 1 million 100 thousands, and this is already a giant figure. Now a third of them are going to send back. There will be thousands of 660, but in Berlin they don’t know what to do with them. Now for the work that refugees in Germany can offer, say, a street cleaner, competition - 14 people are in place! Therefore Merkel and concluded an agreement with Erdogan. Its essence is to keep refugees in Turkey. What does this mean? The German Chancellor confirmed that Europe would not give up its liberal principles, in particular, the "open door" policy, but an agreement with Turkish President Erdogan - this is a complete rejection of liberal values. The doors are closed - that's it! Political survival proved more important than liberal beliefs. Merkel realized that the gap between the values declared by her and the political reality lies in the abyss: after all, the citizens of Germany are already ready to give up her leadership. Now her rating is 46-48 percent, and her party has 30-32 percent. At the same time, the oppositional “Alternative for Germany”, which opposes immigration, according to all forecasts, will receive from 10 to 15 a percent of votes in the upcoming elections to the Bundestag. This means that beautiful words about the principles of humanism in the conditions when millions from the Middle East rushed to Europe, do not work. Five years ago there were two concepts of the European Union: the Europe of nations, that is, the union consisting of states with a high degree of independence, and the United States of Europe - a federation with its president, parliament, foreign minister. Now, the second variant is not only not spoken about, it is not even remembered: it turned out to be a rejected modern course. stories. Now the EU leadership, in an attempt to preserve external unity, frantically clings to sanctions against Russia. But I am sure that the sanctions will be rejected by the course of history.
- What is your forecast for the near future?
Alexey Pushkov: Life in the system of virtual realities, which actually lead to a dead end, on the one hand, and submission to the interests of the United States, on the other, will ultimately result in self-destruction of Europe as an independent subject in world politics. Until recently, Europe had two "sacred cows": a commitment to globalization and a reflection of its neoliberal ideology. But it turned out that both contradict democracy and European political identity.
The resistance of Europeans to globalization is so great that it has to be imposed through deception, manipulation of public consciousness, through the creation of pseudo-reality, which people are offered to perceive as genuine. But sooner or later they will surely come to the understanding that they are being deceived. In order to globalize Europe to the extent that the supporters of this process want, it is necessary that it abandon its own interests. And for this we need not democracy, but dictatorship - if not de jure, then de facto. And we are already seeing clear signs of a departure from democracy. Negotiations on a transatlantic partnership with the United States are conducted behind closed doors by faceless bureaucrats from the Brussels government corridors. And then the Europeans will then feel the consequences of decisions that they did not make and about which they even had no idea! And it turns out that liberal ideology is not the crown of democracy, but an instrument for creating a new dictatorship - a dictatorship of a global type, in the center of which are the United States.
Under American pressure, Europe not only begins to lose itself as an independent player, it not only cuts off Russia from itself, which is its natural part — civilizationally, historically and geographically, and therefore deprives itself of a huge additional potential for independent development, but also begins to lose your soul It starts to lose not only geopolitically, but also ideologically, morally, ethically, because it gives up its sovereignty in favor of the aggressive and aspiring to the hegemony of the United States. A reviewer of the Financial Times recently wrote fairly that the transatlantic trade and investment partnership between the United States and the European Union would further undermine the legal sovereignty of European states. And European societies feel this, they are disturbed.
All statements by Stoltenberg that it is necessary, they say, to resume the activities of the Russia-NATO Council, that the alliance "wants more dialogue" is nothing more than a fig leaf
In just two years, there has been a dramatic change in public relations in Germany towards the principle of "free trade". In the 2014 year, almost 90 percent of Germans were in favor of free trade and the transatlantic partnership, and now only 56 supported! And the number of supporters of globalization in American continues to decline. Over the same period, the number of Germans who reject the transatlantic partnership has grown to 33 percent. It was not by chance that at the end of April, 35 thousands of people took to the streets of Hanover to protest against the visit of US President Barack Obama to Germany. So Europe feels that it is starting to lose.
Excessive dependence on the United States has already led to the fact that the Europeans together with the Americans participated in the war in Libya and supported them in Syria. More than 20 European states together with the United States participated in one way or another in the war in Iraq. And now they are paying for it - a wave of refugees covers them, not the United States. Europe loses in perspective from the transatlantic partnership, because it implies obedience to American standards and to American transnational corporations, which are generally stronger than European ones.
Of course, growing centrifugal tendencies, strengthening of euro-skeptics are slow processes, but, in my opinion, they are irreversible. Could it have been several years ago to imagine that in the UK they would think about leaving the European Union? But now many are thinking. Therefore, in order for Europe to preserve itself, and not follow the path of self-destruction, it needs to revise the basic promises of its current policy, built on the ideology of neoliberalism and the subordination of its interests to the US - both in Russia and the Middle East, and in the transatlantic partnership.
- Last week, the American missile defense complex Aegis Ashore was launched at the Romanian military base in Deveselu, construction began on a similar base in Poland in the region bordering the Kaliningrad region. At the same time, we are told that the European missile defense system is not directed against Russia. Why does Europe need American missile defense bases and how should Russia respond?
Alexey Pushkov: Everyone understands that they are directed against us. All these arguments about the threat from Iran and North Korea look ridiculous. I once heard a statement by a NATO representative that as many as thirty states represent a missile threat to Europe. But to my question, what kind of states are these, I was told that this is “classified information”. Fictional - it will be more accurate. The meaning of the base in Romania is to control the situation in the Black Sea area. And the future base in Poland is close to the Russian border. This, among other things, shows that a number of Eastern European countries have their own agenda, which differs from the interests of a number of Western European countries. From a political point of view, the European Union made, in my opinion, a colossal mistake in accepting these countries. The elite that came to power in these countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union sees its main task as a geopolitical party against Russia. This is part of their identity. If now to deprive the Russophobic principle of the policy of Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania, then what will be left of it? The leadership of these states takes advantage of the fact that they border on Russia. And, in order to become a priority for the United States and for NATO, it is actively playing its “front-line” position. But for this you need to create a front. Italy, France, Spain, Austria, the front is not needed, but they need. And they create it artificially - with statements about the Russian threat, about aggression, which is not there, about Moscow’s insidious plans. How do we respond to this? President Vladimir Putin has already announced that we will stop the new threats to our security that are emerging. There can be no other options: when objects appear that threaten your safety, you must keep them under control. But I think that we are still not talking about the arms race that was during the cold war, when there was a fierce competition between us and the United States on the number of warheads, ICBMs and so on. The START-3 treaty continues to be in force, limiting the number of warheads and carriers on both sides. And neither side has yet violated this contract.
- Another unpleasant topic: a NATO summit will be held in Warsaw in July, at which the Baltic countries and Poland will demand the deployment of permanent NATO bases on their territory. German politicians have recently made it clear that this will not happen, but standing exercises and a “rotational” presence against the background of plans to build heavy weapons warehouses in Eastern European countries, experts say, is an absolutely adequate replacement for permanent bases. From whom is NATO going to defend itself and can this defense become an attack?
Alexey Pushkov: In NATO, there is a group of states that relies on a military standoff with Russia. These are the Baltic countries, Romania, Poland, the UK and the USA. We need to take this as a signal that there can be no talk of restoring relations with NATO in the foreseeable future. At least, until NATO refuses its new strategy of forward basing and intimidation of Russia, until it returns to the Founding Act, signed in 1997, until it explains to the “young Europeans” rushing into battle that they will not be allowed to drag the Western alliance into a potential military conflict with Moscow.
Recently, we have seen the real price of empty talk, that NATO is a "peace-loving alliance", which deals exclusively with "expanding the zone of democracy." It is difficult to understand how the creation of NATO bases in Poland or the strengthening of the military presence of the alliance in the Baltic States, which the Secretary General of the Alliance Jens Stoltenberg constantly talks about, can contribute to the "expansion of the zone of democracy". Or how do American reconnaissance planes, which only in May have already flown five times over our borders five times, are expanding the "zone of democracy"? Rather, it can be considered as preparation for military action. And all the statements of Stoltenberg that it is necessary, they say, to resume the activities of the Russia-NATO Council, that the alliance "wants more dialogue" is nothing more than a fig leaf, which is intended to cover up that NATO is strengthening its military presence at the borders with Russia and is preparing to accept new aggressive decisions at the summit in Warsaw. NATO’s actions are not a response to the Russian threat, because they don’t. This is the creation of a new geopolitical reality, an attempt to put Russia under the constant military-political pressure of the Western alliance. And with the help of this pressure to subordinate her to her, to force her to make concessions on all those issues that are important to the West. Through this pressure, they are trying to deprive us of independence, to impose on us limited sovereignty, as it was in the 1990s. But today's Russia will never agree with this.