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FM Lavrov: Dialogue for the Future

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks during a meeting with the participants of the scientific and educational programme, Dialogue for the Future, Moscow, November 30, 2022

Colleagues.

It is good to see everyone here at the Dialogue for the Future again. We hold this dialogue regularly, normally at the end of each calendar year. We find it very useful. I hope you will hear a variety of assessments and learn new things, which you can use in your work.

The programme includes global security. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the USSR which is a good occasion to review approaches to security issues that were used in the past; why the Soviet Union ceased to exist; what kept the international relations system, the UN structure and its Security Council stable during that challenging period of world history; how the treaties on arms control and reduction and the non-proliferation treaties came about; and how, later, as the Russian Federation proceeded to assume its legitimate place in the international arena, the United States began to destroy these fundamental tools for ensuring global security and stability.

Today, we are left with the START-3 Treaty alone, which we proposed renewing without any conditions to the previous US administration, but it chose not to. After Joe Biden was elected president and took office, this decision was nevertheless made. Everyone took it with great relief. There remains only one meaningful tool to ensure global stability. The Russian Federation and the United States have recently reiterated their commitment to honour the treaty.

The war unleashed by the collective West against Russia has impacted strategic stability, among other things. They are not hiding this. Ukraine and its citizens are being used as expendables. They are flooding Ukraine with modern weapons and inciting them to fight Russia until victory is achieved “on the battlefield.” They are making public statements to the effect that – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said so the other day – they are convinced that the path to peace in Ukraine lies through the further provision of modern weapons until it wins completely. What we are witnessing is a split personality and diplomatic and political schizophrenia. These statements only go to show that the Western claptrap about universal human values, a single humanitarian and economic space, or security from the Atlantic to the Urals was nothing but hypocrisy. The Westerners never had in mind establishing equitable relations with our country. This is a sad thing to say, but observing the ongoing developments and seeing how the vast majority of Western countries go about their relations with Russia, I’d be hard pressed to come to a different conclusion.

We will continue to uphold global security and stability. On Russia’s initiative, President Vladimir Putin and President Joe Biden reconfirmed the “Gorbachev-Reagan formula” on June 16, 2021: there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it must never be unleashed. Upon our initiative this time again, the leaders of the permanent members of the UN Security Council – the five official nuclear powers – reaffirmed that statement on January 3. Russia’s position goes further than that: in addition to recognising such a war as unacceptable, it is important to avoid military clashes between nuclear powers, even with the use of conventional weapons. Escalation can easily spiral out of control. Our Western colleagues are trying to ignore this part of the formula. This speaks volumes about their true motives, including in the context of their policy on Ukraine, which they are literally pushing to continue a war that is being waged by the West against the Russian Federation.

We are now at a challenging junction in world history. We will not hide it, but we will not fret about it either. Historical periods of this nature invariably encourage diplomats, politicians and statesmen to come up with new approaches to making things work in the modern world based on comprehensive assessments of ongoing developments. Clearly, “business” as usual with Westerners is a thing of the past. The West must redefine its place not only in its relations with the Russian Federation, but in global politics as well. It cannot claim that only a group of countries, a minority of the international community, will determine the factors, criteria and other parameters of life on the planet. This is exactly what the West is trying to do. For a long time now, it has been talking not about the importance of respecting international law, but about following the “rules” underlying the world order. They change them to suit a particular circumstance, depending on what the Westerners need in a particular region of the world.

The blistering pace of NATO evolution, including in the context of the war unleashed by the West against us in Ukraine and global security, is of great concern to us. Until recently, they tried to talk everyone into believing that NATO was a defensive alliance protecting the borders of its members. After the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist, the rationale for NATO’s existence came to an end. After all, all they wanted to do was “defend” against the USSR-led socialist camp.

However, the alliance did not go anywhere, but continued to look for a raison d’etre. At first, they tried to find it in the Afghan campaign. Then, after the shameful retrograde from that country, NATO started looking for another reason. They found it in containing Russia and stoking Ukraine which they turned into a tool for containing Russia and a springboard for attacking Russia’s interests in our immediate environment for many years after the coup in Kiev. All along, with the direct encouragement of Kiev’s Western sponsors, it was destroying the Russian language, culture, media and education on a legislative level.

At the most recent NATO summit meeting held in Madrid in June, they announced that the alliance now had global responsibility. No one is talking about its “defensive nature” any longer. On the contrary, what they are claiming is that security in the Euro-Atlantic region is inseparable from security in the Indo-Pacific region. Now NATO will put up a “defence” in the South China Sea region.

The expansionist globalism displayed by this aggressive bloc is unprecedented in history. I’m convinced that most nations are perfectly aware of the threats posed by NATO policies and are aware that once the Westerners realise that they had lost their leading positions in the world NATO would start acting rashly and irresponsibly. These assessments will determine the positions of most countries when discussing the future of global security.