Vladimir Chizhov© Sergey Bobylev/TASS
Russian Permanent Representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov in an interview with TASS spoke about the causes and consequences of the confrontation between Russia and the West and its particular manifestations: the economic war and new sanctions, the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO, and Poland's probing the ground to realize its claims to Western Ukraine.
- In the conditions of a special military operation in Ukraine, what has the European Union become for Russia?
- It can be stated that today this is not the European Union, on which we bet as a strategic partner. He has degraded. At one time, the EU was created as a tool to prevent a new big war in Europe. And then there was no talk of any "values" - it all started very pragmatically, with the European Coal and Steel Community. The idea was to deprive Western European countries of the ability to independently and independently use these two key resources for the production of weapons.
It will be left to historians to assess how exactly these efforts allowed Europe to keep the peace in the following decades. However, the fact is that gradually the European Union began to acquire political functions. But what do we see now? This community has degraded from a powerful independent factor in a polycentric world, claiming strategic autonomy, into an auxiliary military bloc. You can even say even more offensively - an appendage of NATO. And the head of the EU Foreign Service, Josep Borrell, acts as a kind of head of the bloc's political department.
George Orwell would have every reason to roll over in his grave if he saw what was happening now. So the so-called "European Peace Fund" is being created - and it becomes a tool for pumping weapons into Ukraine. This fusion of opposites - the fund of peace and weapons - has its continuation. How can you call to "stop the war" and at the same time pump one of the sides with weapons? Nonsense.
In addition, here it is unacceptably easy and absolutely uncritical to treat propaganda and disinformation emanating from Kyiv. In particular, to statements that allegedly the Russian army suffered a complete failure and is on the verge of defeat. At the same time, the same people say: "After all, the "bloody Kremlin regime" will not stop in Ukraine, it will go further." Excuse me, but how can one fit in with the other in general? And most importantly - neither one nor the other is true.
What surprises me personally - and I have seen a lot both here and in general during my entire diplomatic career - is how, it would seem, experienced people, professionals readily repeat the Kyiv disinformation. And about the "mass executions" in Bucha, and about the "Russian rocket in Kramatorsk", and about the "evacuation" from Azovstal. Can't they see what's going on?
Do you think they don't want to see this, or do they understand everything, but they pretend, based on political expediency?
What is their advantage in agreeing to this? Their benefit would be if they really wanted to act as an independent factor. But no, the aforementioned Borrell said directly that they cannot be an intermediary. That is, the EU members actually admitted that they directly support one of the parties in this conflict.
In fact, the European Union has already signed off on the fact that it is not an independent center of power. Even when they talk about strategic autonomy here, it must be clearly understood: after all, autonomy implies the presence of some kind of dependence. So their notorious "strategic compass" only shows in one direction, its needle is jammed.This crisis grew out of the awareness of the collective geopolitical West that the world is changing and its unwillingness to accept these changes. They believed in the "end of history" and miscalculated, and now they are upsetVladimir Chizhov
- On the supply of weapons to Ukraine. The EU claims that these supplies "strengthen Ukraine's ability to resist aggression."
- The immediate result is the prolongation of hostilities "to the last Ukrainian." Previously, it was an ominous anecdote, but now a direct guide to action and a sad reality.
- Regarding Borrell, do you think that he is now largely driven by resentment for all the failures of his foreign policy on the Russian track?
- And why are you so sure that only in Russian? (Laughs.)
In general, I remember well that memorable visit of Josep Borrell to Moscow in February 2021. Then one of his main claims was that our minister at a press conference called the European Union an unreliable partner. However, all subsequent events confirmed the correctness of Sergei Viktorovich Lavrov. How can the European Union, which imposes illegitimate and unfair sanctions, go out of its way to oust Russia from all international structures, be considered a reliable partner?
At what point did the point of no return come in our relationship?
- The degradation of relations occurred in stages with cut-offs in 2008, 2014, and 2022.
In 2014, the reaction here was much lighter, probably because the events in Crimea took everyone by surprise. By the way, the vaunted intelligence services, to which my interlocutors like to refer here, to this day assure that they know best about what is happening in Ukraine. Moreover, they claim that they knew in advance that Russia would launch a special operation. And I ask them: why did you say until recently that you don’t believe in this? Be that as it may, it turns out that all the media hysteria around Ukraine is well organized and fully controlled.
Returning to 2014, then, of course, they were discouraged, but soon they launched their sanctions mechanisms against Russia for the first time, which they continue to develop today. It is noteworthy that economic restrictions were introduced after the incident with the death of the Malaysian Boeing. Moreover, neither on the Boeing, nor on subsequent events - the Skripals, Navalny and others - have there been any results of objective investigations. And even more so, there is not even a hint of any investigation into the tragedy in Odessa on May 2, 2014. On the contrary, EU members even have to be reminded of these events, to which they react languidly, brushing aside that, they say, it was a long time ago.
Now all the additions, for example, to the stop lists, are just an extension of the restrictions adopted in 2014.
- However, new types of sanctions have now been introduced?
- After the start of the special operation, the first packages of restrictions were accepted very quickly. This suggests that they were prepared in advance. Westerners do not deny this. At the same time, they say that both in 2008 and 2014, that is, in South Ossetia and Crimea, Russia reacted to the events. And now, allegedly, no one provoked Russia.
This is, to put it mildly, not true. I personally think that [President of Ukraine] Volodymyr Zelensky's speech in Munich about nuclear weapons can be considered the last straw. The question is not even what he said, but how everyone else reacted, how everyone applauded in unison and joyfully. Applauded for what? A public call to violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty? Is this what the notorious "international world order based on rules" looks like?
- However, the sanctions machine has clearly stalled on attempts to adopt an embargo on Russian oil?
Why did EU members have such painful labor pains under the sixth package of sanctions? Because they rested on the need to "strike where it will cause maximum damage." That is, oil. They dealt with coal in the fifth package of sanctions much faster (although we also exported enough coal).
At the same time, in both cases, Brussels without much hesitation stated that the rejection of Russian energy resources simultaneously contributes to the implementation of the "European green course." Now explain this to the people at the gas stations. You can talk all you want about the need to switch to electric vehicles, but where to get electricity? What are you going to do? Will you refuse to close, as the Germans think, the last three nuclear power plants and start building them again everywhere? Invest the next trillions in liquefied natural gas? This gas also needs to be produced and where to buy. And then deliver. How many LNG carriers are there in the world, will there be enough of them for this? And what is the "ecological footprint" of each of them?
Take the four main energy carriers: coal, oil, gas and electricity. Of these, oil and coal are global commodities for which world prices exist. With electricity and gas, the situation is different. There simply is no single global market for them, in part because the transfer of these resources requires complex networks, which can mean pipes, power lines or a fleet of gas carriers.
There are two groups of countries in the European Union. One group proposed to cover the purchase of Russian oil by sea, allowing to pump only through the pipe. These are Hungary, Slovakia and other countries, which, in fact, receive oil only through the pipeline. But another camp immediately formed - Greece, Malta, Cyprus, which proposed to close the pipe, but continue to transport oil using tankers.
Similarly, in another area - diamonds - the Belgians refused to impose sanctions on Alrosa, arguing that otherwise the diamond business would simply leave Antwerp for Dubai or Mumbai. And your shirt is closer to the body. Therefore, for almost a month they could not achieve any solution whatsoever.
- The European Union claims that energy resources from Russia should be abandoned, since Russia is engaged in energy blackmail, but, in your opinion, who is actually engaged in energy blackmail?
- If anyone conducts energy blackmail, then these are exclusively our counterparties. Since the time of the Soviet Union, no matter how tough the situation during the Cold War, but nevertheless everything worked, transit went on.
In those years, the leaders of Western European countries - Germany and France - found the political courage not to succumb to pressure from Ronald Reagan and his administration. Moreover, German companies have committed themselves to the production of a significant part of the pipes for the gas pipeline. There was a deal - "pipes in exchange for gas" on a non-currency basis.
These pipes are now in Ukraine. The paradox is that at that time Washington fought with foam at the mouth to prevent the appearance of the gas pipeline, the need to preserve which has been constantly declared in recent years together with Brussels.
The European Commission has also fought for many years against the system of long-term gas supplies from Russia, for free trade on hubs. What came out of it, we are now just watching.
- Is Russia ready to impose a ban on oil supplies and what consequences can be predicted for us and for the EU?
“I must state with regret that in recent years the EU has become so addicted to making unpleasant surprises that they have ceased to be such, having become a kind of routine. As for the consequences, they will undoubtedly come and will hardly bring satisfaction to the initiators of these steps themselves. So don't be surprised either.
- What are we going to do with the European Union? Some are already calling for severing relationships...
— I don't think it would be a far-sighted decision. We must look ahead. Winter will pass, summer will come. Of course, it has become much more difficult to work now. If only because 19 diplomats were expelled from our permanent mission alone. Moreover, these are people who dealt with specific, often the most promising subjects of our relations.
As of today, it would be either premature or naive to talk about the brilliant prospects for our relations. But calling for a complete break is also shortsighted enough. Just as a person does not choose his parents, so a country or an association does not choose its neighbors.
Yes, now we are with the European Union at the lowest point in the history of the latter. This is not our fault, we never aspired to this and did not take any initiatives in this direction. There will be no return to the previous model, as if nothing had happened. But this is also true of international relations in general. Our dialogue with the European Union in this regard is only one of the particulars, if you like. A new model of relations at the global level will soon emerge, the specific features of which are too early to speak about. But it's time to think about this topic.
— And can you formulate the main reason that led us to this crisis in relations between Russia and the EU?
“This crisis grew out of the awareness of the collective geopolitical West that the world is changing, and out of unwillingness to accept these changes. The end of the Western-centric development cycle is coming.
Although they did not reject the term "multipolar world" in principle, they interpreted it in a specific way. It always seemed to them that there would remain, as it were, the main pole and a handful of secondary ones.
Russia, which over the years has continued to strengthen its position - both economic, political, and military, and even in the field of soft power - has increasingly become a bone in their throats. Therefore, a practical course was taken to push us back, weaken, discredit us. All this was done over a number of years, and the countermeasures that were taken, including in relation to the special military operation, did not happen suddenly. Moreover, these decisions are to some extent forced, like the previous decisions on Crimea, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The only thing that distinguishes the situation with Donbass and Ukraine from the previous ones is that in Crimea, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, the actions were in the full sense of the reaction, and now they are preemptive. It does not radically change anything, but, of course, it has multiplied the painful reaction from the collective West tenfold. They believed in the "end of history" and miscalculated, and now they are upset.
- What will the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO lead to?
Sweden and Finland are two countries with which we have had special relations for many years. Finland is now actively recalling the Winter War of 1939-1940. It would be better if they remembered 1975 - the Helsinki Final Act, the creation of the OSCE, the event that turned the country with a population of five million into one of the pillars of the European security system. Everyone respected the Finns, they were considered. Until very recently, there was talk that in 2025 it would be nice to mark the fiftieth anniversary of these events by adopting a certain document under the code name "Helsinki 2.0".
What will happen now? Now it will be a backyard, a distant NATO periphery. A very costly backyard, taking into account more than 1,300 km of the border with Russia, is practically deprived of the opportunity to make military decisions even on its own territory.
As for Sweden, it fought for the last time more than 200 years ago, even against Napoleon - by the way, on the same side with Russia. Although we fought against Sweden almost as many times as with Turkey. Turkey is historically in the first place, Sweden is in the second place.
All this more than 200 years of experience of neutrality, which led Sweden through two world wars with minimal losses, all this "throw under the NATO bus"? And most importantly, for what? No answer.
By the way, the percentage of support for joining NATO in Sweden is lower than in Finland, although some time ago it was the other way around. Therefore, apparently, they do not want to hold a referendum - then they will have to think about what to do with the results.
- And how do you see the practical consequences of their entry?
- After joining NATO, the Finns and Swedes will have to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense, as required (not always, however, effectively) by the standards of the alliance.
There are two more practical issues that are somehow not being thought about now. First, what will happen to the Åland Islands (a strategically important archipelago in the Baltic Sea), which, being part of Finland, have the status of a demilitarized zone? There is an extensive legislative framework for this, including the Paris Peace Treaty of 1856, the League of Nations Convention of 1921, and the last Paris Peace Treaty of 1947 with Germany's former allies. And we will not allow this status to be reviewed.
Secondly, the most important Saimaa Canal, which connects the chain of Finnish lakes through Russian territory with the Baltic Sea. I remember this story well, because I was the deputy chairman of the Russian government commission for this channel. It even happened to go through it. By the way, this is a unique structure - there are gateways with a five-story building, when the ship descends, the sky looks like from a well. It began to be built under Nicholas I, and finished under Alexander II, when Finland was still part of the Russian Empire. And both have monuments at the beginning and at the end of the canal.
This canal is actively working as a transport artery; in particular, timber is transported along it. The first agreement on it dates back to 1962. In view of friendly relations, this was the only case in which Soviet land was leased to a foreign state. Finland received the right to lease the canal itself, the entire infrastructure of the locks, which, by the way, are strategic structures, and a dozen and a half meters of land on both sides of the canal, along which, in particular, a highway and a power line pass. Finland pays for all this, of course.
And now, if Finland is a member of NATO, ceasing to be a neutral country friendly to us, Russia may well denounce this treaty. Of course, the canal will remain Finnish on Finnish territory, but without the Russian section, it will lose all meaning. Don't forget about it.
In general, everything will depend on specific circumstances and consequences, on what NATO forces will be deployed in the region, what military infrastructure facilities will appear there. Of course, there will be a military-technical response from Russia.
- Do you expect the militarization of our northern border regions after the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO?
- I do not rule it out. And this may well happen in that part of Europe that we have always cited to other partners as an example of a reduced military presence on all sides and stability.
“We are seeing obvious attempts by Poland to probe the possibility of introducing its troops into Western Ukraine. Do you think this scenario is realistic and what risks does it carry?
I think that such attempts will continue. Our reaction, of course, will be negative. How exactly it will be expressed - again, depending on the specific situation "on the ground."
The most interesting question is how their "big brothers" from across the ocean will react to these plans. Since one of the key theses of the position of NATO and the EU on the situation with Ukraine is that Russia, they say, "violated the territorial integrity" and so on. Therefore, the possible invasion of the Poles into Ukraine may have fundamental reputational consequences not only for them.
By the way, the ill-conceived actions of the Westerners around Ukraine have already contributed to the destabilization of the situation in the Balkans. Brussels is now very worried about the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. And I ask them why, under the pretext of the situation in Ukraine, it was necessary to double the contingent of European forces in Bosnia? Did they threaten you? No, they answer, it's just not far from Ukraine. Agree, not a serious excuse.
- Do you think that with the help of Ukraine they are trying to implement the "Balkan scenario" for Russia in order to divide and destroy our country, like Yugoslavia used to be?
This hypothesis will remain a hypothesis. I am convinced that in our lifetime such a scenario is no longer possible, no matter who hopes for it.
Interviewed by Denis Dubrovin
The bottom line is for the people to regain their original, moral principles, which have intentionally been watered out over the past generations by our press, TV, and other media owned by the Illuminati/Bilderberger Group, corrupting our morals by making misbehavior acceptable to our society. Only in this way shall we conquer this oncoming wave of evil.
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