Thus Spoke Lavrov

01.06.2016

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held an open press conference for journalists and readers of "Komsomolskaya Pravda”, one of the most popular Russian newspapers. The Foreign Minister outlined a number of Russia’s positions on foreign policy issues and demonstrated perfect knowledge of geopolitics.

Katehon presents readers with the following brief analysis of the most important statements of the Russian foreign minister.

1. Lavrov demonstrated that Russia’s foreign policy leadership thinks in terms of geopolitics, in which thalassocratic powers (formerly the British Empire and now the United States) and tellurocratic ones (Russia and Germany) are doomed to relentless struggle that has been dragged on for several centuries:

Since the beginning of the twentieth century and, speaking frankly, even earlier, since the days of Ivan the Terrible, no one wanted a strong, confident Russia. Throughout the past century, the British and the Americans have done everything to prevent the integrity of Eurasia, meaning both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, and including what is now happening in preventing efforts to promote integration processes in the post-Soviet space.

All of this fits into the concept that Zbigniew Brzezinski stated in his book The Grand Chessboard where he directly set the task of “not allow the barbarians to join together.” Although he used figures of speech, it is sufficiently telling to see where this thought has led.

2. Russia thinks of the world in a realistic manner, that is, from the standpoint of national interests and primarily hard power, i.e., military power.

We have to be friends with everyone with whom it is necessary to establish a good relationship. This is our principle. This concept involves a multi-vector foreign policy, readiness for partnership, and cooperation with all who are ready for this on an equal and mutually beneficial basis by taking into account each other's interests. But, in promoting this line, we must remember very well that our main allies still are the army, the navy, and now aerospace forces.

3. Autarchy. Russia is trying to use the fact that the West itself is shoving Russia out of the West’s system, thus forcing it to build a self-sufficient, independent, and sovereign, autarchic economy, as well as create alternatives to the Western system. Thus, the United States and the West, while maintaining sanctions against Russia, are allowing it to build mechanisms to counter US hegemony.

We perceive the economic restrictions that have been imposed upon us today as a window of opportunity that should be used to the maximum: to strengthen our food security, our technological security, and to continue to diversify the economic sector and international economic ties and, lastly, establish alternative, effective financial mechanisms and accounting systems.

For us the question is not when will the anti-Russian sanctions be lifted, because we did not introduce them… For us the crucial issue is how we will effectively use the current situation in the interests of our own economy and our own development.

4. In regards to the settlement of the situation in Donbass, Russia stands for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements by Ukraine. The main issue for Russia is the special status for Donbass. At the same time, Lavrov stressed that Russia does not recognize the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics out of fear of losing the trump card in negotiation with the West. On this he said: “I am convinced that this would be counterproductive. It would give the West reason to move away from the present, albeit delicate position of pressuring Kiev.”

5.. Lavrov stressed that Russia is ready for dialogue with Turkey in the event that the Turkish side will offer a formal apology for the destruction of the Russian aircraft on the Turkish-Syrian border, punish the perpetrators, and compensate for the damage. The Russian foreign minister was forced to fend off the aggressive anti-Turkish stance of journalists, noting that, while Turkey should be left with the chance to improve, Russia will still not compromise its national interests and international prestige.

6. According to Lavrov, the American coalition in Syria is just showing off anti-terrorist activity, while in reality, “The American coalition is just taking up space.”

The fact is that this coalition is now virtually inactive, but in the meantime ammunition and militants continue to move across the Turkish border. They are clearly preparing an offensive, which is prohibited by the agreements and resolutions of the Security Council

Interestingly enough, immediately after this statement, the Americans said that they and their puppet-militants launched an offensive on ISIS near the Turkish border.

The Russian prime minister revealed another uncomfortable secret that the US government does not want to communicate to its citizens: in fact, the Americans themselves admit that those Islamists, which they support cannot be separated from the terrorist groups:

They use this not so defensible logic that the terrorists are mixed with the good opposition, so when you strike terrorists, you’re touching the good opposition, which shouldn’t be done.

7. The most thoroughly discussed issue was the peaceful settlement in Syria. The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs welcomed the withdrawal of Alloush, the representative of the “Jaish al-Islam” militant group, from the negotiation process, and noted that this is a terrorist group supported by the US. The Russian minister called for fully engaging the Syrian Kurds in peace talks and said that calls to oust Bashar al-Assad cannot be pre-conditions for any talks.

In the face of Lavrov, Russia has once again expressed its readiness to use the "Kurd card” in supporting the Kurds in Turkey, opposing the presence of Turkish troops in Iraqi Kurdistan, and opposing Turkey’s military operations against the Kurds in the territories of neighboring countries.
However, Lavrov said nothing in response to a call to support the PKK.

In general, during the dialogue with the audience, the Russian Foreign Minister demonstrated that Russia continues to defend the strategy of a multipolar world. At the same time, Russia’s rhetoric shows a willingness to negotiate with all interested countries, including the United States. Russia’s stance on foreign policy is realistic, and on some questions even Machiavellian (such as using the fate of Donbass and the lives and hopes of compatriots in the region as a trump card in the game with the West), but it is consistent.