Rubicon war with Russia: three new principles of relations between the West and the Kremlin

Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..

Rubicon war with Russia: three new principles of relations between the West and the Kremlin

Ivanna Klimpush-Tsintsadze, Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration _ Friday, April 13, 2018, 08:58

The speech of the Vice Prime Minister at the closing session of the first day of the Kiev Security Forum. Photo Kyiv Security Forum

We are discussing security issues at an extremely important moment. It is possible that historians of the future will call it a breakthrough.

And in this context, I would highlight three fundamental things that must define our way of behavior in today's world - "Three P": Confrontation, Rethinking, Controversy.

The world is really on the verge of a new global confrontation. Between freedom and non-freedom. Between democracy and despotism. Between progress and archaic.

It seems that this confrontation is inevitable, it will not be able to escape it.


The situation is changing very quickly. The book of Condoleezza Rice came out last year, where the former Secretary of State of the United States thought over the question: "Does freedom depart from?". And today we can state with certainty: freedom does not retreat, but it has faced the strongest and most grateful opposition since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It can not be conceived of as "temporary difficulties", nor the nuclear blackmail of North Korea, nor the adoption of the Chinese leadership's lifelong powers, nor the cryptographic experiments of Nicholas Maduro, nor the rise of authoritarian populism in Europe. But the main thing is that one can not ignore the systematic and purposeful attack on the free world, which the Russian Federation has carried out in recent years .

"The Case of the Violinist" became a peculiar final Rubicon for Western democracy.

She became an event, after which it is no longer possible to continue to cherish the illusions of Russia's intentions and the means it uses in the struggle against the West. It became apparent to everyone that the Kremlin regime had no internal border that it could not cross.

Consequently, this limit must be established from the outside.

This was obvious to Ukraine four years ago. After all, the mechanism of systemic offensive on a free world was launched with the occupation of Crimea and the beginning of aggression in the Donbass. Russian aggression - without gaining a really constraining and sufficiently effective repression from the part of the world community - turned into an attack all over the front.

The attack, which was immediately noticed, but which did not immediately believe.

They did not believe it, because they were in captivity "the illusion of normality." Continued to perceive Russia as a regular (though not without "peculiarities") subject of world politics; a subject with which you can conduct business as usual, with which one can agree, despite ideological differences and aggressive rhetoric.

The price that you have to pay for this illusion is known.

There is virtually no major democracy that would not have been infected with the Russian attack in recent years.

Election interference in the United States, funding for radical forces in Europe, attempts to compromise Emmanuel Macron during the election run, Montenegro's coup attempt before joining NATO, disinformation campaign against the Netherlands and Catalan referenda, hacker attacks on the German Bundestag and National a democratic committee in the United States, systematic propaganda through the Kremlin TV channels and through trolls and bots in social networks.

According to the Brookings Institution's report on the latest weapons of political warfare, even the rise of populist movements in Europe was largely due to the Kremlin's actions, cultivating political allies on the continent.

And then - there was a chemical attack in Britain, which endangered the lives of dozens of people and had all the signs of an "act of war."

This list is not complete, it could be continued, but the Kremlin's goal is clear enough. To weaken Western institutions, to undermine the transatlantic partnership, to use the informational openness of democratic societies to manipulate politics.

It is not just an attack on Ukraine, the United States or NATO. It is a war against the basic values ​​and principles of democracy . This is an attempt to cast doubt on the democratic type of decision-making on a global scale.

Russia is struggling not only with states or military blocs. She is struggling with Western narrative. He is struggling for the depreciation of Western values ​​and, as Putin acknowledged in the pre-election interview, for giving the authorities "sacred" character. And this, of course, is a categorical denial of the foundation of world democracy, undoubtedly, overrides all its achievements over the past three centuries.

Against the backdrop of weakening the free world, the Kremlin expects to enter a higher league of global players that can not go through the natural way - through economic and social development, scientific achievements, civic consensus, or political innovation.

"We thought it was already bottom, but knocked from below".

This statement always comes to mind when you once again hear about "yhtamannets" in the Donbass, whether in Western social networks or in the media.

Putin's regime demonstrates a whole arsenal of the latest methods of political warfare - from direct bribery of politicians and disinformation in social networks to the creation of an "alternative truth" and a parallel reality - and this attack takes place against the backdrop of a complete denial by official officials of Russia's involvement in these events.


Re-thinking is a key concept for protecting freedom and democracy.

It is necessary to rethink the current reality and realize that surviving in the old paradigms is no longer possible. Russia pushes the world to division into spheres of influence. And again, this division, as in the Yalta Conference of 1945, is, above all, the division of the world into values.

Speaking with words of gratitude to the countries that sent Russian diplomats to solidarity with Britain, Boris Johnson said: "After all these provocations, the moment came when the world refused to continue to listen to the tumultuous streams of Russian deception, tyranny and intercontinental ballistic lies . "

Very strong words. But is it really so?

Did the Salisbury or perhaps the latest ferocious chemical attack in Syria help to understand Kremlin's insolent and aggressive vis-a-vis the democratic world? Has faith in the past gone at least to Putin's desire to comply with any international agreement on the Donbas? Has the dream come true about the possibility of lifting sanctions against Russia soon?

I very much hope that these questions have a positive response today.

For Ukraine, four years ago, it was obvious that the West began to think seriously and systematically only after a chemical attack in London. "Agree" with Russia will not succeed until the political system completely changes and until a complete policy change takes place.

By this time, Russia will pose a threat to global democracy, for the global world and for global peace.

Of course, Russia does not have the necessary capacity to overthrow global democracy by military force, economically or politically. But she will have enough aggressiveness, tools and instruments to break the socio-political order, even in the strongest democracies, to destabilize the western world from the inside .


Can we wait until the example of Russia starts to imitate other countries with ideological, political or economic differences with the West ? Could we wait for these countries to become friends against the West and make up something like a coalition? Obviously not. After all, the cumulative effect of anti-democratic operations can completely destabilize the world that is literally stuffed with conventional and nuclear weapons.


Thus, today's situation and the obvious prospects for its threatening development are forcing all countries committed to democratic values ​​and seeking to preserve a free world in the future. To act immediately and systematically, in cooperation and cooperation. It's time to make democracy strong again. "Make democracy strong again".

We must prove that we can defend ourselves from encroachment on our foundations without sacrificing democratic values ​​and practices. Create a broad coalition of countries to make a strong resistance to attacks on the free world. Let it not be a formalized coalition, but effective and efficient.

The countries that sent diplomats after the "Violinist case" may become its core.

It's not just about joining and demonstrating the strength of the position of democratic countries. It is a matter of concrete actions and the application of new approaches that are urgently needed in a changing environment. What does this mean in practice?

First of all, this means rethinking NATO's role and functions . Obviously, NATO is today the only international organization capable of organizing an effective rebuff to attempts to establish a hybrid world order.

The ability of the alliance to counter the threats of a new quality should be strengthened.

Equally important, reassessment concerns the procedures for NATO's relations with partner countries seeking accession, in particular, with Ukraine. NATO procedures were built on the presumption of respect for international law, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States. These principles were even shared by the Soviet Union and its satellites. Modern Russia does not have such respect .

It neglects sovereignty and territorial integrity openly and decisively. She manipulates the issue of NATO enlargement, forcing the West to be cautious, while acting on its own with impunity and almost unhindered.

It must be admitted: the delay in the renewal of Ukraine's membership prospects is by no means able to appease the aggressive intentions of the Kremlin . On the contrary, accelerating the integration of Ukraine, Georgia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina into the alliance will play a role of restraining security factor.


Probably the main direction in counteracting the threat to a strong global democracy is the rejection of the narratives imposed by the Kremlin and other customers of political influence.

These are narratives that spoil relations between countries (in particular, right-wing radical and nationalist). These are the narratives of the West's allies (for example, the narrative about "total corruption" in Ukraine).

Democracy is an open system that essentially abandons the full control over information. But the debunking of the propaganda myths, the disclosure of fake and the opposition of populism must move to the first positions of the agenda, since the Western populist is, as a rule, a realist, well-fed by Russia's money.

Protecting Democracies in Today's Conditions is also the economic strengthening of partners and the strengthening of mutual assistance. Economic barriers and barriers, a bureaucratic and formal approach to lending and helping countries in a state of transformation must finally go a long way.

For the economic ability of democracy, its ability to create long-term prosperity - the best weapon against the attacks of totalitarian regimes, which can not offer their own people anything but illusory "greatness."

Strengthening the economic potential of democracy and the economic unity of the free world must go along with the rejection of the practice of business as usual with dictatorial regimes that pose a threat to democracy. The existence of sectoral or sovereign agreements with the aggressor, such as the construction of the North Stream 2, violates the integrity of a democratic position and makes world democracy much more vulnerable.

When it comes to energy projects, this practice is a double danger, because it increases the dependence of democracies from dictatorial regimes.

Finally, the unity of democracies means joint protection against new types of threats: countering cyberattacks and information attacks, introducing hybrid threat protection infrastructure, investment in artificial intelligence and IT development that will enable an effective line of defense in the virtual space.

Recent cases - such as the reaction to the "Violinist case" and the expectation of a joint response to the events in Syria - prove that the aggressor is very well aware and afraid of the consolidated response of democracies . A decisive and powerful reaction, which is carried out by several countries simultaneously, although for some time reduces appetite of the aggressor. I have no illusions: to deprive these appetites forever or for a long time we will not succeed. But the consolidation of efforts, the strength of the positions, the commitment to values ​​and the community of actions - seems to be the only way.

This is the only language understood by the aggressors.

Ukraine will always remain committed to protecting democracy.

We are at the forefront of this struggle, we are on the forefront.

We are not happy about that. But we understand that we have nowhere to go, except to be at the forefront of the defense of democracy, along with the whole free world.

Belief in the best - a feature of our national character, shaped by history. If Ukrainians did not believe in the best - they would not have survived as a people in the grip of historical events that fell to our destiny. And today we have no doubt that freedom will win and that democracy will be strong again . And we really want our partners to share our confidence in a free world.

The father of the League of Nations, Woodrow Wilson, said: "The history of freedom is a story of resistance." And it was as if Winston Churchill continued: "It's useless to say: We do everything we can, we need to do what is necessary."

So let's do what is necessary to protect freedom.

Ivanna Klimpush-Tsintsadze, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic integration,

Kyiv, April 12, 2018

It was first announced in a speech by the Deputy Prime Minister at the Kiev Security Forum

The right to publish a text version provided to "European Truth"