The Russian leadership’s decision to recognize the DNR and LNR was a forced and predictable measure. Although almost eight years have passed since the referendums in the former Donetsk and Luhansk regions of the Ukraine, Moscow’s recognition of the republics has generated public support, not only in the already legitimate republics, but also in Russia, Belarus, Serbia, and a number of other countries.
Kiev was guilty not only of the genocide of the Russian people over the years, but also of the glorification of Nazism, as well as its clearly destructive foreign policy, which included militarization with the help of Western countries and active attempts to join NATO.
These factors were fundamental to the decision, although Moscow had hoped until the last moment that the Ukraine would implement the Minsk agreements. This did not happen. So, such a U-turn in regards to the Ukraine was simply necessary—primarily for humanitarian reasons.
One should also pay attention to the strategic situation around the Ukraine. After the 2014 coup, the Belarusian leadership was loyal to the regime of Petro Poroshenko and later Vladimir Zelensky. Only after a similar coup attempt in Belarus itself, Alexander Lukashenko began to pursue a clear pro-Russian policy. And on the eve of the recognition of the DNR and LNR, a joint military exercise with Russia was held on the territory of Belarus. The country’s leadership also announced its intention to purchase a number of Russian-made weapons systems, including combat aircraft and air defense systems.
Therefore, Belarus’ role in the joint peacekeeping operation has become very important. Kiev found itself under an economic blockade, not only by Russia but also by Belarus. One of the avenues for advancing toward Kiev was chosen from this strategic position.
Now it is necessary to look at the procedure of recognition of the DNR and LNR, from the point of view of international law. By February 21, and even earlier, when Western politicians were hysterical about the imminent “invasion of Russia,” representatives of the neoliberal NATO cartel spoke in one voice about the violation of international law. But is it so? And what do they mean by international law?
Suffice to recall that the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 and the recognition of Kosovo’s independence violated the Helsinki Accord on the inviolability of political boundaries in Europe. But the West paid no attention to this. Since the law of precedence applies in the West, these events actually opened the way for further such actions.
But even earlier, in 1994, the U.S. invaded Haiti under trumped-up pretexts, while receiving UN approval. Almost immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was relatively easy to do so, especially considering that during those years Andrei Kozyrev was the head of the Foreign Ministry, who listened to Washington’s instructions in everything. Bill Clinton’s administration justified its decision to occupy Haiti by the need to protect U.S. citizens in that country.
Both cases, and later the bombing of Libya in 2011, are known as the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. This doctrine was developed specifically in the West. Meanwhile, it was implemented in the UN in 2005, at the instigation of Canada, which developed it in 2001. Its essence is that sovereignty is not only a right, but also a duty. And if some governments fail in their duty to respect the rights and freedoms of their citizens, they should be punished.
Another connection is the partition of Sudan. South Sudan gained independence through a referendum in July 2011, which followed an agreement between the government and rebels in the south. The process was directly overseen by high-ranking American politicians, who saw partition as an interest for the United States, including access to oil resources. Tellingly, this concern on the part of Washington did not save South Sudan—in 2013 it plunged into another civil war.
A legitimate question arises: Did the Ukrainian government manage to ensure the rights of the Russian-speaking population in the Ukraine after the coup in February 2014?
First, the government itself can hardly be called legitimate, because after the coup an alliance of neo-Nazis and Westerners began a policy of intimidation and blackmail. And the decisions made by the Ukraine’s parliament after February 22, 2014 cannot be considered legal acts.
Second, when political polarization clearly highlighted the two opposing camps, were there attempts made to resolve differences peacefully through negotiations? No. The Kiev junta sent not only law enforcement and special services units, but also military units into the regions where people spoke out to defend their rights (including speaking their native language). Donetsk and Luhansk were subjected to air raids and artillery fire.
Consequently, the Ukraine as a state has lost its right to sovereignty. And when Russia goes out to defend civilians in a neighboring country whose population is historically, culturally and spiritually bound to it by centuries-old traditions, it has far more right to speak of “Responsibility to Protect” than the United States and NATO countries, which have invaded other countries under far-fetched pretexts.
Finally, neither Yugoslavia, nor Haiti, nor Iraq, nor Libya, posed an existential threat to the United States. But the Ukraine, transformed by the West into an anti-Russia, certainly poses such a threat.
Consequently, we are dealing with double standards. And if we pay attention to the fact that the West refuses to allow Russia to come to its defense (we can recall the reaction to the operation to force Georgia to peace in August 2008), then it suggests a certain form of racism.
After all, it turns out that it is the Russians who are not allowed to come to the aid of their compatriots or other peoples. It’s almost like Orwell, where in his work Animal Farm, the pigs who seized power declared that all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. This is not explicitly stated, but clearly implied.
Moreover, the U.S. denies Russia the right not only to come to its defense, but also to criticize, point out violations and make comparisons—all of which are declared fakes at the instigation of the U.S. State Department; and Washington’s satellites are actively working to brainwash and psychologically manipulate both its own population and the Russian one through foreign agents, social networks and various grant programs through diplomatic missions.
The Western politicians’ backbiting of non-Western countries also clearly falls under the double standard. Take Turkish President Recep Erdoğan, for example, who said Moscow’s decision to recognize the LNR and DNR was unacceptable” “We call on the parties to be guided by common sense and respect international law,” the Turkish president said.
Doesn’t the presence of the Turkish military in Syria and Iraq violate international law? Did they receive an invitation from the authorities of these countries? Of course not. And the situation with Northern Cyprus clearly does not fit into the norms Erdoğan talks about.
By the way, for decades, the Republic of Northern Cyprus has been recognized only by Turkey, for obvious reasons. And the DNR and LNR have already been recognized not only by Russia, but also by the CAR. Syria, which has already supported President Putin’s decision, is the next one to do so. Official recognition will surely follow from Belarus, Venezuela and Nicaragua, whose leaders have supported Moscow’s decision. And also from Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Of course, Erdoğan is concerned about the Kurdish issue, because the Kurdish population of Turkey is growing every year, which will inevitably lead to political imbalances over time. But rather Erdoğan, himself in his country, is pursuing a repressive policy under the guise of fighting terrorism, since the Kurdistan Workers’ Party is regarded there as a terrorist organization.
However, Turkey’s role may turn out to be more destructive for the Ukrainian—where it is already supplying combat drones (Bayraktars), which can be used against residents of Donbass. And behind the Bayraktars, unprincipled fighters, used by Turkey in Idlib in Syria or Libya, may also be transferred. At least, the possibility of such a scenario should be considered. All the more so since there are already reports about recruiting fighters from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, and Kosovo to send them to the Ukraine.
To summarize, it is clear that Russia is on the right side of history. It will be difficult to break the information blockade and bring the truth to the citizens of other countries, especially those in the Euro-Atlantic community. Although there are adequate media and politicians there as well. It will also be difficult to overcome the new sanctions, which concern Russia’s sovereign debt and the ability to operate in Western markets.
But, on the other hand, this forces us to continue to develop our own global strategy, where there will be no place for Western totalitarianism. Consequently, recognizing the DNR and the LRN is another step toward an emerging multipolarity.
Leonid Savin is a geopolitical analyst, and chief editor of Geopolitica. He is founder and chief editor of the Journal of Eurasian Affairs, and is the author of numerous books on geopolitics, conflicts, international relations and political philosophy issued in Russia, Ukraine, Spain, Serbia and Iran. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Geopolitica.
Featured image: “The Last Chinese Wall.” Puck, April 24, 1901. [A Russian bear with a saber stands in front of Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Great Britain, the United States, Turkey and Spain; behind them sits a laughing China.]