Connect with us

RussiaFeed

News

Politics

Navalny’s latest Moscow protest was a total FAIL

Alexander Mercouris

Published

on

20 Views

Much to the disappointment of the Western media, which has been building up the – illegal – run of the Russian ‘non-system’ neoliberal opposition politician Alexey Navalny in March’s Presidential election for more than a year, the protests he called on Sunday 28th January 2018 fizzled out to practically nothing.

Lest anyone think this is my assessment, here is the assessment of the protests given by Russia’s Human Rights Council as reported by Russia’s official news agency TASS

About 5,000 people took part in rallies organized by Russian opposition activist and blogger Alexei Navalny across Russia, chairman of the presidential human rights council, Mikhail Fedotov, told TASS on Sunday.

“According to preliminary data, about 5,000 people took part in rallies of Alexei Navalny’s supporters, both authorized and unauthorized,” he said, adding that final data would be available when all public rallies were over.

He called on both Navalny’s supporters and the authorities to demonstrate restraint. “Rallies are still going on and I call on both side to show restraint and observe laws,” he stressed.

Kirill Kabanov, a council member, said earlier the unauthorized rally in Moscow had brought together 400 people, including reporters.

 According to the official website of the human rights council, about 1,000 people took part in Navalny’s rally in Yekaterinburg, about 600 people – in Novosibirsk, some 550 – in Nizhny Novgorod, 380 – in Perm, 350 – in Chelyabinsk, 270 – in Omsk, 230 – in Saratov, 220 – in Samara, 205 – in Krasnoyarsk, 200 – in Tomsk, 200 – in Vladivostok, 190 – in Irkutsk, 150 – in Khabarovsk, 150 – in Barnaul, 150 – in Kemerovo, 120 – in Izhevsk, 115 – Tyumen, 100 – in Orenburg, 80 – in Kurgan, 70 – in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, 63 – in Chita, 60 – in Ulan-Ude, 50 – in Astrakhan, 35 – in Yakutsk, 35 – in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, 20 – in Magadan, 16 – in Blagoveshchensk, and one person – in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
Russia’s Human Rights Council stands at the extreme liberal end of the Russian political establishment.
Not only did it actively campaign for the release of the then jailed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, but it also published a report claiming that Sergey Magnitsky, William Browder’s associate and the person who is at the focus of the so-called Magnitsky scandal, was mistreated and probably tortured by the Russian authorities and that this was the cause of his death.
The report of Human Rights Council on the causes of Magnitsky’s death has been challenged by a different report by Russia’s Investigative Committee, which unlike the Human Rights Council is a police and investigative agency.  It concluded that Magnitsky had died because of negligent treatment by the prison authorities of a pre-existing medical condition.
Western governments have however unsurprisingly preferred the Human Rights Council’s report, which is cited in the preamble of the US’s Magnitsky Law.
More recently the Human Rights Council had a long and heated meeting with President Putin on 30th October 2017, over the course of which the well know former Soviet dissident Lyudmila Alekseyevna lobbied on behalf of Nikita Belykh, the former Governor of the Kirov Region who is being prosecuted on fraud charges, whilst other members of the Human Rights Council brought up subjects close to Russian liberal hearts such the murder of the liberal politician Boris Nemtsov, the supposedly ‘hysterical’ nationalist atmosphere in Russia, and the alleged denial by the authorities in St. Petersburg of venues for protests called by none other than Navalny himself.
The members of the Human Rights Council are not therefore in any sense the sort of people who would be expected to downplay the size of any protests called by a liberal ‘non-system’ politician like Navalny.  On the contrary they are far more likely to overstate their size and significance of the protests rather than downplay them.
Their estimate that the total number of people taking part in the protests called was 5,000 across the whole of Russia must therefore be treated if not exactly as definitive then at least as authoritative, even if the estimate of 400 people at the Moscow protest is almost certainly too low (other estimates put the size of this protest at between 1,000 and 1,500 people)
A protest wave totalling 5,000 to 6,000 people in a country of 144 million people hardly qualifies as a protest wave at all.  As my colleague Seraphim Hanisch correctly says, it is not even newsworthy, and if it happened in any other country it would almost certainly not be reported at all.
Even Navalny’s most fervid supporters in the Western media have been unable to conceal their disappointment.  Here is a typical description of the protests in a report by Reuters

The numbers attending Sunday’s protests across Russia — some shouting “Putin is a thief” — appeared lower than previous demonstrations staged by Navalny, Reuters reporters said, suggesting momentum may have shifted away from him.

(bold italics added)

The whole Navalny phenomenon serves as a case study of Western wishful thinking about Russia.

 A bizarre editorial published today by the Times of London – obviously written in anticipation of much bigger protests on Sunday – highlights the extent of this.  It makes the simply extraordinary claim that Navalny is more in tune with the opinions of Russians than is Vladimir Putin

After 18 years of Putinism, the country’s political process has all the verve of the Novodevichy cemetery.

It is no triumph to rule over a forcibly becalmed people. Mr Putin has yet to come up with an election programme. There are hints of a readiness to make some kind of peace in Ukraine and rebuild relations with the West to ease sanctions. But even this suggests that the president is more concerned with enriching his courtiers than improving the lot of the Russian people.

The core issues are those being addressed by Mr Navalny. In unashamedly populist style, he has highlighted the feathered lifestyle of the oligarchs, promising “hospitals and roads instead of palaces for officials”. Uprooting corruption, he says, will free up cash for education and healthcare. Courts will become more independent, media given more freedom, safeguards introduced for competitive elections. There will, he promises, be a generous minimum wage and subsidised loans to allow more young people to buy homes.

The programme may not be realistic but it addresses the concerns of the middle class — the garage owners who are fed up with paying bribes, the entrepreneurs squeezed out by fixed procurement contracts, and young families in small towns who just want better schooling for their children.

Mr Putin has neglected such concerns. If he thinks Mr Navalny is a charlatan, he should fight him on the election stump. Instead, he sends in his goons and in doing so says everything Russians need to know about the hollowness of his rule.

To suppose that Navalny, who can bring out crowds of no more than 5,000 to 6,000 people across the whole of Russia, is more in tune with public opinion in Russia than Vladimir Putin, who has an approval rating of over 80%, is not just outlandish; it is positively fantastic.

Even as propaganda it is simply too ridiculous to work.

Yet this is the delusional thinking which underpins far too much Western reporting of Russia.

Before leaving the subject of Sunday’s protests a few further points about Navalny need to be made:

(1) The constant practice in both the Western and even in parts of the Russian media of saying that Navalny has been ‘banned’ from standing in the Presidential election needs to be seriously challenged.

Navalny was not ‘banned’ from standing in the election since he was not eligible to stand in the election in the first place.

Navalny is not eligible to stand in the election because he has two unspent criminal convictions both of which come with suspended prison sentences, and his standing in the election as a result of these convictions would be contrary to the provisions of Russia’s constitution and election laws.

Russia’s Electoral Commission – chaired by the liberal former Yeltsin era government minister Ella Pamfilova – has ruled as much, as have Russia’s Supreme Court and – more recently – its Constitutional Court.

Given this clear legal position – which is by the way the same in most countries – these institutions had no choice but to make the rulings that they did since for them to have done otherwise in order to allow Navalny to stand would have broken the law.

As I have discussed previously, Navalny, who is by training a lawyer, undoubtedly knows this. His entire ‘election campaign’ was therefore phoney from the start, notwithstanding which he persisted in it, and raised money from the public in support of it.

(2) One of the reasons why the protests Navalny calls are invariably small – and this was also true by the way of his ‘bigger’ protests last year – is because he persists, completely unnecessarily, in staging his protests illegally.

In the case of the Moscow protest yesterday the Moscow city authorities offered Navalny two legal venues where he could have held his protest legally and peacefully.

Instead, in wilful contempt of the law, Navalny chose to stage his protest illegally along Tverskaya – just as he did a year ago – disregarding the fact that this is not only a key traffic artery but is also Moscow’s main street running through the heart of Moscow’s business and entertainment district and therefore likely to be full of ordinary people going about their normal business on a Sunday.

In the event the police on this occasion took little action other than arrest Navalny himself, obviously because the size of the crowd (estimates range between 400 and 1,500) was too small to affect Moscow’s normal life.

It is a consistent fact of Russian political life that in this very orderly and law abiding country Russians will not turn out in large numbers for protests which are staged illegally.

It has long been my opinion that one of the principal reasons why the opposition protests in 2011 to 2012 were so much larger than usual was not because there was any significant increase in pro-opposition sentiment at that time but because in a change to their usual tactics the protest leaders – including Navalny himself – decided to conduct their protests legally in the venues offered by the authorities.

That meant that many more people turned up than would have been the case if the protests had continued to be staged illegally.

By contrast Navalny’s persistent habit since the end of the 2011 to 2012 protests of staging his protests illegally means that far fewer people attend them than might otherwise do.

This pattern of persistent law breaking is incidentally very characteristic of Navalny, both in his business dealings – as shown by his two convictions – and in his political activities – as shown by his running and raising money for a phoney election campaign and by his persistent habit of staging illegal protests.

The reality is that far from Navalny being harassed by the Russian authorities in the way that the editorial in the Times of London says, they actually treat him with kid gloves.

Despite two criminal convictions, repeated and flagrant violations of his bail conditions and of the conditions of his two suspended prison sentences, and despite an almost unending succession of public order offences, he has never served any significant time in prison.

Nor have the Russian authorities taken any step to suppress his blog.

A cynic would say that the Russian authorities have no reason to act otherwise since Navalny’s behaviour makes the case against him for them.

(3) It has become increasingly clear over the last year that the primary motive for Navalny’s behaviour is not to challenge Vladimir Putin for the Presidency. As the Times of London admits in its editorial even Navalny himself acknowledges that he has no chance of winning an election against Putin in any circumstance.

Rather Navalny’s primary motivation is to preserve his position as the de facto leader of Russia’s ‘non-system’ liberal opposition by preventing any alternative leader from emerging.

His real purpose in running a phoney election campaign and in staging illegal protests is to take attention away from other liberal ‘non-system’ politicians who might otherwise attract attention so as to keep attention focused on himself.

That is why he is now calling for an election boycott.

If Navalny were a serious politician really interested in building up a strong liberal opposition to the government in Russia he would not have run a phoney Presidential campaign and would not now be calling for a boycott.

He would be supporting other legally eligible liberal ‘non-system’ candidates for the Presidency such as Grigory Yavlinsky or Ksenia Sobchak, and would be campaigning on their behalf.

Navalny’s call for a boycott is instead calculated to reduce their vote, and to be clear that is unquestionably its purpose.  As Navalny knows perfectly well, it is liberal candidates like Yavlinsky and Sobchak who are most likely to be hurt by a boycott of the election by the sort of liberal voters who are most likely to heed Navalny call, whereas Putin’s prospects of being resoundingly re-elected are not going to be affected by any call Navalny makes for a boycott in the slightest.

This fact is very well understood by other liberal ‘non-system’ politicians in Russia even it is completely lost on Russian affairs ‘commentators’ in the West, which explains why so few of them have any time for Navalny.

I am not sympathetic to the liberal ‘non-system’ opposition in Russia.

These people had their chance in the 1990s when they failed disastrously.

Since then they have shown no regrets for what happened and have made no acknowledgement of their failure, and nor have they given the slightest sign that they have learnt anything from it.

At the same time I acknowledge as a political fact that there is a certain percentage of the Russian population which shares their views, though how large it is it is difficult to say.  Claims that it is as much as 10-15% of the Russian population are I am sure over-estimates, but there is no doubt these people exist, and that they have a right and indeed a need to be represented.

That Navalny is not the person to represent them or to provide them with political leadership should by now be obvious.

On the contrary the way Navalny conducts himself serves only to divide and discredit further a liberal ‘non-system’ opposition which is already divided and discredited.  As a result it remains locked in the political ghetto it has been in ever since it lost power in the 1990s.

The fact that Western governments and the Western media – who presumably want to see Russia’s liberal ‘non-system’ opposition win – are unable to see this, and continue to support Navalny despite the damage he is doing to the liberal ‘non-system’ opposition that he pretends to lead only shows how little they understand Russian politics or indeed Russia.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

High-ranking Ukrainian official reports on US interference in Ukraine

It is not usually the case that an American media outlet tells the truth about Ukraine, but it appears to have happened here.

Seraphim Hanisch

Published

on

The Hill committed what may well have been a random act of journalism when it reported that Ukrainian Prosecutor General, Yuriy Lutsenko, told Hill.tv’s reporter John Solomon that the American ambassador to that country, Marie Yovanovitch, gave him a “do not prosecute” list at their first meeting.

Normally, all things Russia are covered by the American press as “bad”, and all things Ukraine are covered by the same as “good.” Yet this report reveals quite a bit about the nature of the deeply embedded US interests that are involved in Ukraine, and which also attempt to control and manipulate policy in the former Soviet republic.

The Hill’s piece continues (with our added emphases):

“Unfortunately, from the first meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, [Yovanovitch] gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute,” Lutsenko, who took his post in 2016, told Hill.TV last week.

“My response of that is it is inadmissible. Nobody in this country, neither our president nor our parliament nor our ambassador, will stop me from prosecuting whether there is a crime,” he continued.

Indeed, the Prosecutor General appears to be a man of some principles. When this report was brought to the attention of the US State Department, the response was predictable:

The State Department called Lutsenko’s claim of receiving a do not prosecute list, “an outright fabrication.” 

“We have seen reports of the allegations,” a department spokesperson told Hill.TV. “The United States is not currently providing any assistance to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), but did previously attempt to support fundamental justice sector reform, including in the PGO, in the aftermath of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. When the political will for genuine reform by successive Prosecutors General proved lacking, we exercised our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer and redirected assistance to more productive projects.”

This is an amazing statement in itself. “Our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer”? Are Americans even aware that their country is spending their tax dollars in an effort to manipulate a foreign government in what can probably well be called a low-grade proxy war with the Russian Federation? Again, this appears to be a slip, as most American media do a fair job of maintaining the narrative that Ukraine is completely independent and that its actions regarding the United States and Russia are taken in complete freedom.

Hill.TV has reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine for comment.

Lutsenko also said that he has not received funds amounting to nearly $4 million that the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine was supposed to allocate to his office, saying that “the situation was actually rather strange” and pointing to the fact that the funds were designated, but “never received.”

“At that time we had a case for the embezzlement of the U.S. government technical assistance worth 4 million U.S. dollars, and in that regard, we had this dialogue,” he said. “At that time, [Yovanovitch] thought that our interviews of Ukrainian citizens, of Ukrainian civil servants, who were frequent visitors of the U.S. Embassy put a shadow on that anti-corruption policy.”

“Actually, we got the letter from the U.S. Embassy, from the ambassador, that the money that we are speaking about [was] under full control of the U.S. Embassy, and that the U.S. Embassy did not require our legal assessment of these facts,” he said. “The situation was actually rather strange because the funds we are talking about were designated for the prosecutor general’s office also and we told [them] we have never seen those, and the U.S. Embassy replied there was no problem.”

“The portion of the funds, namely 4.4 million U.S. dollars were designated and were foreseen for the recipient Prosecutor General’s office. But we have never received it,” he said.

Yovanovitch previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Armenia under former presidents Obama and George W. Bush, as well as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan under Bush. She also served as ambassador to Ukraine under Obama.

Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who was at the time House Rules Committee chairman, voiced concerns about Yovanovitch in a letter to the State Department last year in which he said he had proof the ambassador had spoken of her “disdain” for the Trump administration.

This last sentence may be a way to try to narrow the scope of American interference in Ukraine down to the shenanigans of just a single person with a personal agenda. However, many who have followed the story of Ukraine and its surge in anti-Russian rhetoric, neo-Naziism, ultra-nationalism, and the most recent events surrounding the creation of a pseudo-Orthodox “church” full of Ukrainian nationalists and atheists as a vehicle to import “Western values” into a still extremely traditional and Christian land, know that there are fingerprints of the United States “deep state” embeds all over this situation.

It is somewhat surprising that so much that reveals the problem showed up in just one report. It will be interesting to see if this gets any follow-up in the US press.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

President Putin signs law blocking fake news, but the West makes more

Western media slams President Putin and his fake news law, accusing him of censorship, but an actual look at the law reveals some wisdom.

Seraphim Hanisch

Published

on

The TASS Russian News Agency reported on March 18th that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on a new law intended to block distorted or untrue information being reported as news. Promptly after he did so, Western news organizations began their attempt to “spin” this event as some sort of proof of “state censorship” in the oppressive sense of the old Soviet Union. In other words, a law designed to prevent fake news was used to create more fake news.

One of the lead publications is a news site that is itself ostensibly a “fake news” site. The Moscow Times tries to portray itself as a Russian publication that is conducted from within Russian borders. However, this site and paper is really a Western publication, run by a Dutch foundation located in the Netherlands. As such, the paper and the website associated have a distinctly pro-West slant in their reporting. Even Wikipedia noted this with this comment from their entry about the publication:

In the aftermath of the Ukrainian crisis, The Moscow Times was criticized by a number of journalists including Izvestia columnist Israel Shamir, who in December 2014 called it a “militant anti-Putin paper, a digest of the Western press with extreme bias in covering events in Russia”.[3] In October 2014 The Moscow Times made the decision to suspend online comments after an increase in offensive comments. The paper said it disabled comments for two reasons—it was an inconvenience for its readers as well as being a legal liability, because under Russian law websites are liable for all content, including user-generated content like comments.[14]

This bias is still notably present in what is left of the publication, which is now an online-only news source. This is some of what The Moscow Times had to say about the new fake news legislation:

The bills amending existing information laws overwhelmingly passed both chambers of Russian parliament in less than two months. Observers and some lawmakers have criticized the legislation for its vague language and potential to stifle free speech.

The legislation will establish punishments for spreading information that “exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia.”

Insulting state symbols and the authorities, including Putin, will carry a fine of up to 300,000 rubles and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses.

As is the case with other Russian laws, the fines are calculated based on whether the offender is a citizen, an official or a legal entity.

More than 100 journalists and public figures, including human rights activist Zoya Svetova and popular writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya, signed a petition opposing the laws, which they labeled “direct censorship.”

This piece does give a bit of explanation from Dmitry Peskov, showing that European countries also have strict laws governing fake news distribution. However, the Times made the point of pointing out the idea of “insulting governmental bodies of Russia… including Putin” to bolster their claim that this law amounts to real censorship of the press. It developed its point of view based on a very short article from Reuters which says even less about the legislation and how it works.

However, TASS goes into rather exhaustive detail about this law, and it also gives rather precise wording on the reason for the law’s passage, as well as how it is to be enforced. We include most of this text here, with emphases added:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on blocking untrue and distorting information (fake news). The document was posted on the government’s legal information web portal.

The document supplements the list of information, the access to which may be restricted on the demand by Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies. In particular, it imposes a ban on “untrue publicly significant information disseminated in the media and in the Internet under the guise of true reports, which creates a threat to the life and (or) the health of citizens, property, a threat of the mass violation of public order and (or) public security, or the threat of impeding or halting the functioning of vital infrastructural facilities, transport or social infrastructure, credit institutions, energy, industrial or communications facilities.”

Pursuant to the document, in case of finding such materials in Internet resources registered in accordance with the Russian law on the mass media as an online media resource, Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies will request the media watchdog Roskomnadzor to restrict access to the corresponding websites.

Based on this request, Roskomnadzor will immediately notify the editorial board of the online media resource, which is in violation of the legislation, about the need to remove untrue information and the media resource will be required to delete such materials immediately. If the editorial board fails to take the necessary measures, Roskomnadzor will send communications operators “a demand to take measures to restrict access to the online resource.”

In case of deleting such untrue information, the website owner will notify Roskomnadzor thereof, following which the media watchdog will “hold a check into the authenticity of this notice” and immediately inform the communications operator about the resumption of the access to the information resource.
The conditions for the law are very specific, as are the penalties for breaking it. TASS continued:

Liability for breaching the law

Simultaneously, the Federation Council approved the associated law with amendments to Russia’s Code of Administrative Offences, which stipulates liability in the form of penalties of up to 1.5 million rubles (around $23,000) for the spread of untrue and distorting information.

The Code’s new article, “The Abuse of the Freedom of Mass Information,” stipulates liability for disseminating “deliberately untrue publicly significant information” in the media or in the Internet. The penalty will range from 30,000 rubles ($450) to 100,000 rubles ($1,520) for citizens, from 60,000 rubles ($915) to 200,000 rubles ($3,040) for officials and from 200,000 rubles to 500,000 rubles ($7,620) for corporate entities with the possible confiscation of the subject of the administrative offence.

Another element of offence imposes tighter liability for the cases when the publication of false publicly significant information has resulted in the deaths of people, has caused damage to the health or property, prompted the mass violation of public order and security or has caused disruption to the functioning of transport or social infrastructure facilities, communications, energy and industrial facilities and banks. In such instances, the fines will range from 300,000 rubles to 400,000 rubles ($6,090) for citizens, from 600,000 rubles to 900,000 rubles ($13,720) for officials, and from 1 million rubles to 1.5 million rubles for corporate entities.

While this legislation can be spun (and is) in the West as anti-free speech, one may also consider the damage that has taken place in the American government through a relentless attack of fake news from most US news outlets against President Trump. One of the most notable effects of this barrage has been to further degrade and destroy the US’ relationship with the Russian Federation, because even the Helsinki Summit was attacked so badly that the two leaders have not been able to get a second summit together.

While it is certainly a valued right of the American press to be unfettered by Congress, and while it is also certainly vital to criticize improper practices by government officials, the American news agencies have gone far past that, to deliberately dishonest attacks, based in innuendo and everything possible that was formerly only the province of gossip tabloid publications. The effort has been to defame the President, not to give proper or due criticism to his policies, nor credit. It can be properly stated that the American press has abused its freedom of late.

This level of abuse drew a very unusual comment from the US president, who wondered on Twitter about the possibility of creating a state-run media center in the US to counter fake news:

Politically correct for US audiences? No. But an astute point?

Definitely.

Freedom in anything also presumes that those with that freedom respect it, and further, that they respect and apply the principle that slandering people and institutions for one’s own personal, business or political gain is wrong. Implied in the US Constitution’s protection of the press is the notion that the press itself, as the rest of the country, is accountable to a much Higher Authority than the State. But when that Authority is rejected, as so much present evidence suggests, then freedom becomes the freedom to misbehave and to agitate. It appears largely within this context that the Russian law exists, based on the text given.

Further, by hitting dishonest media outlets in their pocketbook, rather than prison sentences, the law appears to be very smart in its message: “Do not lie. If you do, you will suffer where it counts most.”

Considering that news media’s purpose is to make money, this may actually be a very smart piece of legislation.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

US continues to try to corner Russia with silence on Nukes

Moscow continues to be patient in what appears to be an ever more lopsided, intentional stonewalling situation provoked by the Americans.

Seraphim Hanisch

Published

on

TASS reported on March 17th that despite Russian readiness to discuss the present problem of strategic weapons deployments and disarmament with its counterparts in the United States, the Americans have not offered Russia any proposals to conduct such talks.

The Kremlin has not yet received any particular proposals on the talks over issues of strategic stability and disarmament from Washington, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS on Sunday when commenting on the statement made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton who did not rule out that such talks could be held with Russia and China.

“No intelligible proposals has been received [from the US] so far,” Peskov said.

Earlier Bolton said in an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis aired on Sunday that he considers it reasonable to include China in the negotiation on those issues with Russia as well.

“China is building up its nuclear capacity now. It’s one of the reasons why we’re looking at strengthening our national missile defense system here in the United States. And it’s one reason why, if we’re going to have another arms control negotiation, for example, with the Russians, it may make sense to include China in that discussion as well,” he said.

Mr. Bolton’s sense about this particular aspect of any arms discussions is correct, as China was not formerly a player in geopolitical affairs the way it is now. The now all-but-scrapped Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, was a treaty concluded by the US and the USSR leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, back in 1987. However, for in succeeding decades, most notably since the fall of the Soviet Union, the US has been gradually building up weaponry in what appears to be an attempt to create a ring around the Russian Federation, a situation which is understandably increasingly untenable to the Russian government.

Both sides have accused one another of violating this treaty, and the mutual violations and recriminations on top of a host of other (largely fabricated) allegations against the Russian government’s activities led US President Donald Trump to announce his nation’s withdrawal from the treaty, formally suspending it on 1 February. Russian President Vladimir Putin followed suit by suspending it the very next day.

The INF eliminated all of both nations’ land based ballistic and cruise missiles that had a range between 500 and 1000 kilometers (310-620 miles) and also those that had ranges between 1000 and 5500 km (620-3420 miles) and their launchers.

This meant that basically all the missiles on both sides were withdrawn from Europe’s eastern regions – in fact, much, if not most, of Europe was missile-free as the result of this treaty. That is no longer the case today, and both nations’ accusations have provoked re-development of much more advanced systems than ever before, especially true considering the Russian progress into hypersonic and nuclear powered weapons that offer unlimited range.

This situation generates great concern in Europe, such that the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on both Moscow and Washington to salvage the INF and extend the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, or the New START as it is known.

“I call on the parties to the INF Treaty to use the time remaining to engage in sincere dialogue on the various issues that have been raised. It is very important that this treaty is preserved,” Guterres said at a session of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Monday.

He stressed that the demise of that accord would make the world more insecure and unstable, which “will be keenly felt in Europe.” “We simply cannot afford to return to the unrestrained nuclear competition of the darkest days of the Cold War,” he said.

Guterres also urged the US and Russia to extend the START Treaty, which expires in 2021, and explore the possibility of further reducing their nuclear arsenals. “I also call on the United States and the Russian Federation to extend the so-called New START Treaty before it expires in 2021,” he said.

The UN chief recalled that the treaty “is the only international legal instrument limiting the size of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals” and that its inspection provisions “represent important confidence-building measures that benefit the entire world.”

Guterres recalled that the bilateral arms control process between Russia and the US “has been one of the hallmarks of international security for fifty years.”

“Thanks to their efforts, global stockpiles of nuclear weapons are now less than one-sixth of what they were in 1985,” the UN secretary-general pointed out.

The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) entered into force on February 5, 2011. The document stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers. The new START Treaty obliges the parties to exchange information on the number of warheads and carriers twice a year.

The new START Treaty will remain in force during 10 years until 2021, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement. It may be extended for a period of no more than five years (that is, until 2026) upon the parties’ mutual consent. Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay the issue of extending the Treaty.

 

 

 

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending