The huge Ilyushin-96, property of the Russian government, returned Sergey Lavrov and his delegation from New York to Moscow on Sunday, after they participated in the UN General Assembly. It will probably be a long wait for any Russian plane, private or state, to fly to the West, and it is also possible that passengers who were staying in New York on business will also wait a long time for similar opportunity.
On the way back across the ocean, good mood probably prevailed in Lavrov’s plane; there was reason for that because they had completed an important job. First of all, it was a success that they showed up at the UN headquarters at all, given that America delayed the issuance of visas. They had numerous meetings with representatives of other countries, so with that footage they can “prove” that Russia was not isolated from the world, and that there were still those who wanted to talk to it. And finally, the head of the delegation, Lavrov, said at the General Assembly everything that today’s Russia had to say to the world.
What he said could have been the biggest humiliation of the World Organization, which it had experienced since its foundation. We say – “it could have been”, because there will be even bigger ones, if the UN does not manage to change from within. With the appearance of Russia at the main annual meeting, the UN was severely and recklessly led by the nose, it experienced a grave insult and humiliation from one of its most important members. The views expressed by Sergey Lavrov on behalf of his country were a hypocritical mockery of the UN, its Charter and all the principles on which the UN rests.
He started the speech by saying that crisis situations in the world are multiplying, and that the international security situation is “rapidly deteriorating”!? That is correct, but it is announced by the country, which is solely responsible for everything that has been said. Its head of diplomacy addresses world leaders and the global audience using those words from the world’s highest political platform, apparently considering them to be brainwashed people who do not know what is happening in the world around them.
Lavrov further accused the West of “undermining trust in international institutions and international law” with its policy!? This is also announced by a country that, for at least last seven months, violates every principle of international relations, arrogantly destroys the authority of every international institution and publicly demonstrates that it no longer wants to live by long-accepted rules that apply to the whole world.
And as a point, the first Russian diplomat called upon the world to decide in what kind of order it wanted to live – in a world with one hegemon who forces everyone else to live according to his rules or in a democratic and just world free from blackmail and intimidation. While saying that his country wants the second option, Lavrov is seriously deceiving someone. Maybe his compatriots, whom his government and his leader are taking on a campaign to realize “historical Russia”, as a hegemon, whose subjugated people must live by its infamous rules. Or he deceives the whole world by saying that Russia wants democracy and justice, while destroying a neighboring, independent state, killing and expelling thousands of civilians, ignoring the obligations it has as a member of the UN and a signatory to its Charter for seven months.
At the moment when Russia bombarded the UN General Assembly with deceptions, the referendum on secession of two Ukrainian regions and annexation to Russia was going on for two days, with citizens being forced to vote at gunpoint. While Lavrov stood at the podium in New York and called for peace and respect for the rules, his country was waging the 215th day of a war of conquest, amputating parts of the country it invaded and declaring its people non-existent. While swearing by the UN Charter, his country was destroying the principles of inviolability of borders and sovereignty, world peace and peaceful settlement of disputes.
Lavrov represented the country that in March received an almost unanimous request from UN members to stop aggression against Ukraine and withdraw its army. Not only did it not fulfill that request, but it intensified its aggression by mobilizing 300,000 new warriors and threatening the world with nuclear retaliation. Such disrespect for the World Organization was only continued by openly mocking all of its members during the General Assembly.
If it is to continue to play any role in international relations, the United Nations can no longer overlook the behavior of one of its most important members. Russia can be excluded from the UN; there is a procedure for that in the Charter. Article 6 gives such authority to the General Assembly, if a country “persistently violates the principles of the UN”. Article 18 specifies that such a decision must be made by two-thirds of the members of the World Organization. However, excluding Russia in this way is not realistic, because the decision should come from the Security Council, in which Russia is one of the five permanent members.
What then remains for the World Organization, which found itself in a paradoxical situation? It cannot expel from its ranks a country that meets all the conditions to be expelled, but at the same time holds the keys to such a decision. There’s little left. Marginalizing Russia, when making important decisions has already proven to be effective in several cases of transferring important decisions from the Security Council to the General Assembly. One of such decisions is the suspension of Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. Despite this, the “elephant is still in the room”, it persistently continues to violate the principles of the organization of which it is a part of, announces that it will endanger world peace even more than before (nuclear threat) and basically despises the UN, mocks and deceives it and its members. Russia is playing a destructive game with the UN, as it has been doing for years with, for example, the OSCE, whose functioning has long been blocked due to Russian opposition to various decisions. Russia wants to paralyze the UN; it does not care about its decisions and does not want to have it as an obstacle in the realization of its conquering and aggressive foreign policy.
The world cannot defend itself from such a bully through the UN mechanism. It should either be reformed by writing new rules, or completely bypassed when making important decisions, whereby the UN will remain working at the level of a large international humanitarian organization, or a club of states dealing with the improvement of education and the fight against poverty. Saving the honor of the UN should begin today and be completed in less than a year. Otherwise, Lavrov, or someone else from Moscow, will come to New York again next September and humiliate the World Organization even more, looking it in the eye and mocking it in its face.