An unusual ultimatum was recently sent to Moscow from the European Court of Human Rights, in which it seeks the urgent release from prison of the Russian blogger and oppositionist Alexei Navalny. As “Nova Gazeta” reported on that occasion, Olga Mihajlova, the convict’s lawyer, stated that the decision of the European Court was “the first of its kind and that the Russian authorities are obliged to implement it.” As might be expected, the request was flatly rejected.
After the real “own goal” that the head of European diplomacy, Giuseppe Borelj, scored during his visit to Moscow and talks with Russian Minister Sergei Lavrov, many things became clearer. “The conference of the two diplomats turned into a lesson about insolence and failure. Borelj occasionally acted as a student who did not prepare for the test. “Lavrov, known for not sparing his negotiating partners, even took away his political dignity,” the German “Deutsche Welle” reported.
Aside from the fact that many Western media assessed that a man who does not even remotely belong to the same class of negotiators should not have been sent to meet the world’s most distinguished diplomat, a much bigger problem is the conviction of major European players that the time has come for strategic autonomy. relative to the United States). In that outplay, the Europeans do not seem to understand that they still only have the role of a buffer zone between America and Russia. And nothing else.
There is no doubt that in the west of the Old Continent, they were aware that Moscow would not comply with the request of the court in Strasbourg, but some reaction related to the fate of Navalny had to follow. However, the question is what is really behind this “justice”: is it a matter of caring for one of the many opponents of the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin, or is it just an attempt to buy time until we get out of the period of confusion in which EU found after “Brexit”, changes in Washington, and due to the coronary virus pandemic?
Also, are Europeans even ready to give up Russia because of Navalny? They have had reasons for “concern” before. Let’s just mention the case of journalist Ana Politkovska, who strongly opposed the nine-year war in Chechnya. She also survived one poisoning, only to be killed in 2006 in the elevator of the building where she lived. But the world, no matter how shaken by her fate, did not react as angrily as in the case of the imprisoned blogger.
Truth be told, circumstances have changed. Today’s EU bears little resemblance to 15 years ago. The differences between the leading countries and those that follow them are still not overcome, neither economically nor politically, so that the disappointment of the “small”, who expected something to change in the new century, turned into a new “stone around the neck” communities. It turns out that the borders (those from memory) between the countries are still present and difficult to erase. Inequality towards America’s former key ally is also growing.
The coronary virus pandemic came to all this and the conflict of individual interests became even more visible. At the moment when Hungary decided to open the door to the Russian “satellite” vaccine, the structure of the union was dangerously shaken. But President Viktor Orban’s decision was only a consequence of the new situation. The community began to be crowned much earlier, and it turned out that in the onset of a vicious disease, each country must dedicate itself to itself.
In such circumstances, turning one’s back on the eastern neighbor of Europeans definitely cannot bring the desired peace. On the contrary. They would have to solve some key existential questions, first of all – does the continent divided into two worlds have a perspective at all? Experiences so far show that the construction of a new “Berlin Wall”, now even more cumbersome and inaccessible, would throw both sides back decades. With Russia leaving the way to the Far East, and the EU only to America. And that room for maneuver in the west has already become largely unusable. The natural economic, social, cultural … ally is not somewhere far away, but there, right across the border line. No matter how much they wanted the reality to be different, Europeans would once again find themselves trapped in the chains of post-Cold War politics, in which they were chained by the United States immediately after the end of World War II.
Europe without Russia is neither complete nor can it be fully functional. It is not difficult to imagine what would happen if Russian energy sources, Ukrainian food and German industry were united in a common work. There would certainly be no more room for Americans.
Giuseppe Borel’s “kick” in Moscow could prove to be a good lesson in that sense.
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