Into the lion’s den

This is Sergey Lavrov speaking at the Munich Security Conference:

After his speech he takes questions from the floor.

One contribution was from Edward Lucas, an Economist journalist and one of the vast numbers of journalists and academics in the West who are part of the anti-Russia industry. He boldly challenges Mr Lavrov about incidents when Russian planes are flying in international air-space with their transponders turned off. Sergey Lavrov makes short work of him.

The contribution by Charles Grant  – an ex Economist journalist and chief of a think-tank – at about 30m into the recording is an example of European/US backwards thinking. He explains that Russia believes in “spheres of influence” and the European Union believes in “democratic self-determination”. How then can Russia and the EU work together? This attempt to shame Foreign Minister Lavrov fails.

The US pumped billions of USD †into spreading its values into Ukraine and then supported the coup. This post describes how the UK’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond discusses colonising Russia. Who is concerned in the world today with “spheres of influence”? As for democratic self-determination – Crimea would appear to be a case in point.

Yet the problem is these people believe all this. They believe it because they think that liberal free-market capitalism has triumphed. There is nothing left to discuss. Everyone else just needs to catch up. This is perhaps also why they find it so easy to dispense with democracy. Since liberal free-market capitalism is right democracy is no longer needed to validate this.

The one interesting contribution from the floor was from a Ukrainian. He asked Sergey Lavrov about a) the apparent unwillingness of the leaders of the DNR to accept the Minsk agreements and b) about Russia’s support for attempts to re-draw the ceasefire line. In contrast to the shaming attempts from Western journalists/academics (which suggest the weakness of their case) this was a coherent and brave as well as obviously heartfelt challenge. He has something to say. Foreign Minister Lavrov replies that Kiev should talk to the rebels directly.

A final point; would the UK’s Foreign Minister Mr Philip Hammond be prepared to go to Russia and take a series of hostile and provocative questions from an assembly of Russian parliamentarians, journalists and academics? The reason that Mr Lavrov can do this, apart from any personal qualities, is because he has a reasoned case to make which can stand scrutiny.


(Finally; the shaming attempts by the Economist journalists were obviously part of a co-ordinated strategy. See here).


†  . Some of the USD 5 billion  Victoria Nuland refers to is channelled to a wide range of NGOs in Ukraine through the National Endowment Fund for Democracy.  I think we can assume that these NGOs are not ones supporting closer ties with Russia. See


Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer