Monday, September 22, 2014

The Vineyard of the Saker: Listening to Lavrov giving up on the West

Yesterday, I watched with interest a talkshow called "The Right to Know" which featured an hour long interview with Sergei Lavrov (those who understand Russian can watch it here). It was an interesting exchange between Lavrov and five Russian reporters. It was not important enough to warrant translating it all into English, but I want to share with you something which I had noticed in the past but which was powerfully expressed during this conversation.

Predictably, the topics included the civil war in the Ukraine, the status of the investigation about the shooting down of MH17, sanctions against Russia, the expansion of NATO, the negotiations in Minsk and Russia's engagement with the BRICS countries.

All all these topics, the Q&A had a similar format. One of the reporters asked Lavrov to comment on what appeared to be a dead-end situation and Lavrov confirmed saying "we tried our best, but to our great regret, that had no effect". What was so interesting is that while the reporters were expressing bafflement that things had gone so far, Lavrov's reaction was "yes, you are right, this is truly hopeless". The overall effect was one of a PTA meeting discussing some hopelessly stupid and incapable student. Except the "student" in this case was the entire West.

For example, about MH17 the reporters voiced their amazement at the sterility and vagueness of the recently released report. They noticed that while the entire western media went into a full hysteria mode with headlines like "PUTIN THE TERRORIST!!!!" or "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!" they all apparently totally forgot that the investigation was still ongoing. Lavrov's reaction was "yes, I agree, well, we tried at the UN Security Council, we submitted our questions, we wanted a full ceasefire with a thorough investigation of the debris, we offered our own information, we spoke to the Malaysians, we wanted to speak to the experts, but they spent three weeks in Kiev talking to the Junta officials,, we still have questions but we are the only ones who apparently are still interested in getting a full transparent and accountable investigation going" (this is no a quote, but a faithful paraphrase, I think). The sense one got from listening to this was "frankly, they are hopeless, what else can we do?"

Touching upon the sanctions, the reporters said that many countries were surprised at the speed at which Russia turned away from the West and began building relations with Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Indian Subcontinent and, again, Lavrov replied "yes, we were even surprised by the pace of events ourselves, but we had no choice".

This is not the only show which sends the same message. The sense that I am getting is that Russia has given up on the West. Sure, she will continue talking, and she will try, against all evidence, to elicit some adult responsible behavior from western politicians, but nobody in Russia is holding his/her breath.

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: Listening to Lavrov giving up on the West

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