24 Jan 2023 23:00
By Andrei Restzhikov
With a few words, Lavrov provoked the Western opponents on their ideological terrain and presented them in the skirmish between Russia and Europe. Over the weekend, Russia’s Foreign Ministry called as hypocritical a statement by the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, in which he criticized Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for comparing the actions of the United States and its allies with the crimes of Adolf Hitler.
On Smolensk Square [dem Sitz des russischen Außenministeriums] It was stressed that Borrell’s words sound particularly hypocritical – “in the face of the racist remarks made by the head of EU diplomacy, dividing the world in two – into a ‘flowering garden’, inhabited by ‘one billion EU and US citizens’, and into one ‘Jungle’ harassing the garden – as well as the EU’s open support for the Kiev neo-Nazi regime”.
Recalling the EU’s rejection of Russia’s initiatives to combat anti-Semitism, Russophobia and other forms of discrimination against certain nationalities and ethnic groups at the UN, the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that “it is never too late to admit your mistakes and find the right moral To make a decision”. The ministry also received numerous letters from Jewish organizations and was taken aback by the European Jewish Congress’ request that Lavrov apologize for comparing the “Jewish question” with the “Russian question”.
During a January 18 press conference, Lavrov compared Washington, DC’s policy of building a coalition against Russia to Hitler’s actions against the USSR. According to him, the US is trying to unite Europe against Russia in order to finally solve the “Russian question”:
“Just as Napoleon mobilized virtually all of Europe against the Russian Empire, just as Adolf Hitler invaded most European countries, ‘armed’ them and drove them against the Soviet Union, so the US has a coalition of virtually all Europeans in the guise of NATO and the EU and are driving them through Ukraine as a proxy in a war against our country with the same goal – the final solution of the ‘Russian question’. And Hitler wanted the final solution of the ‘Jewish question’.”
The minister added that Western politicians (not only from the Baltics and Poland, but also from “sound” countries) declare that Russia must suffer a “strategic defeat”. He added:
“Several publications in political science are lively discussing how to decolonize Russia. Once again, our country is too big and standing in the way.”
In his response, Borrell criticized Lavrov’s “completely inappropriate” accusations that the West wanted to “solve” the “Russian question” once and for all. There is no parallel between the crimes of Nazi Germany and “international assistance to Ukraine to protect its territory and people from unjust aggression,” Borrell claimed in a written statement.
The EU diplomat called Lavrov’s words “disrespectful” because they “tramp the memory of the six million Jews and other victims who were systematically exterminated during the Holocaust.” “That’s why we’re marking the annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day next week,” he said.
Borrell added that there was a need to further arm Ukraine because:
“Russia is a great country, used to fighting to the end, used to almost losing and then building it all up again. That’s what Russia did to Napoleon and it did to Hitler. It would be absurd to think that Russia lost the war or that its military is incompetent.”
Incidentally, the EU diplomat’s statement about the division of the world into a “jungle” and a “garden” of Europe dates back to October last year. He later had to apologize for this comparison.
There was also a reaction to Lavrov’s press conference in the United States. John Kirby, the White House coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, said the Russian minister presented the situation in a “really offensive way”. The Jewish Congress also demanded an apology. According to a statement on the organization’s website, Lavrov’s words misinterpret the concept of the tragedy, and therefore the Congress is asking the Russian minister to “justify himself”. Russia’s Foreign Ministry declined to heed the organization’s request, which itself “has ignored the catastrophic level of anti-Semitism in Ukraine for many years.”
Stanislav Tkachenko, a professor at the Chair of European Studies at the Faculty of International Relations at St. Petersburg State University and an expert at the Valday Club, believes that Lavrov’s comments on the “Russian question” have, in a sense, entered the playing field of the West, who has always justified his foreign policy ideology with the “absolute condemnation of genocide and the Holocaust”. The West has “monopolized the topic of the Holocaust, so to speak” and is using it in arguments to its advantage.
As for the role of Borrell himself, for Russia he “lost his standing as a full subject.” This became clear for the first time during his visit to Moscow in February last year, just before the start of Russia’s military special operation in Ukraine. During this chilled meeting, Lavrov criticized Western countries for not respecting human rights. During lunch together, Borrell found out about the expulsion of three European diplomats from Russia – because of them [gänzlich undiplomatischer] “Participating in protest actions”.
“In February, the minister and our protocol showed that Borrell was no longer a worthy partner for them. These quarrels between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Borrell are rearguard action of the actual confrontation between Russia and Europe. Now, in the context of the special operation, our main adversaries are Brussels, Germany and France, but certainly not Borrell, who is trying to speak on behalf of Europe, although we know that he has no such powers,” says the political scientist.
Lavrov received support from the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, who described Russia’s conflict with Ukraine and the West as a new Patriotic War. He is convinced of Moscow’s victory, as was the case in 1812 and 1945. Medvedev wrote in his Telegram channel:
“Good boy, that Borrell with his bland face. Reminds me that our country had defeated Napoleon and Hitler. Note that he himself made that comparison. Accordingly, the Ukronazis and Western Europe are direct descendants of those who were at war with Russia . And the war with them is therefore a new Patriotic War.”
Sergei Ordzhonikidze, a member of the Public Chamber and a former UN deputy secretary-general, emphasizes that Lavrov “hit the mark” because nobody likes to admit to past crimes, especially in the West. “Borrell certainly knows the story and must be up to date that the volunteer troops of the ‘España Franquista’ within the Wehrmacht – as the ‘Blue Division’ – fought on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union during World War II. At that time, military contingents from practically all subjected fought European countries against us. Of course, they cannot and do not want to remember their crimes or be reminded of them. But we reminded them and that caused such a strong reaction,” explained the diplomat.
According to Ordzhonikidze, the EU is at least indirectly, if not directly, involved in the Ukraine conflict by supplying weapons “that kill Russian soldiers and civilians.” “NATO and the EU high command are made up of representatives from countries with limited sovereignty. My European colleagues were always very offended when I told them that I saw them as actors and heralds, playing from a script written in Washington. But how otherwise one should interpret the presence of American military bases on the territory of the European Union? How can one pursue an independent foreign policy under these conditions? That is absurd. This is also linked to an ever-increasing economic dependence on the USA. The fact, for example, that France and Germany did not agree with the US position on the Iraq question was of no importance at all,” the expert explained.
Translated from the Russian and first published by Vsglyad.
more on the subject – “Final solution to the Russian question” and a new epoch – press conference of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov
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