Martin Zeis, 03.03.2016
today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Russian Federation published a striking article by Sergey Lavrov about Russia’s foreign policy over the course of the last 1000 years.
(full text attached, pdf-file 8p)
— E X C E R P T —
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Russian Federation,
Foreign policcy / News
3 March 2016 09:20
Sergey Lavrov’s article “Russia’s Foreign Policy: Historical Background” for “Russia in Global Affairs” magazine, March 3, 2016
„International relations have entered a very difficult period, and Russia once again finds itself at the crossroads of key trends that determine the vector of future global development.
Many different opinions have been expressed in this connection including the fear that we have a distorted view of the international situation and Russia’s international standing. I perceive this as an echo of the eternal dispute between pro-Western liberals and the advocates of Russia’s unique path. There are also those, both in Russia and outside of it, who believe that Russia is doomed to drag behind, trying to catch up with the West and forced to bend to other players’ rules, and hence will be unable to claim its rightful place in international affairs. I’d like to use this opportunity to express some of my views and to back them with examples from history and historical parallels.
It is an established fact that a substantiated policy is impossible without reliance on history. This reference to history is absolutely justified, especially considering recent celebrations. In 2015, we celebrated the 70th anniversary of Victory in WWII, and in 2014, we marked a century since the start of WWI. In 2012, we marked 200 years of the Battle of Borodino and 400 years of Moscow’s liberation from the Polish invaders. If we look at these events carefully, we’ll see that they clearly point to Russia’s special role in European and global history.
Speaking about Russia’s role in the world as a great power, Russian philosopher Ivan Ilyin said that the greatness of a country is not determined by the size of its territory or the number of its inhabitants, but by the capacity of its people and its government to take on the burden of great world problems and to deal with these problems in a creative manner. A great power is the one which, asserting its existence and its interest … introduces a creative and meaningful legal idea to the entire assembly of the nations, the entire “concert” of the peoples and states. It is difficult to disagree with these words.“