Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Russia's Foreign Policy Accomplishments in 2022

The majority of people who live in the West consume news through the bias of Western media which, over the past year, has fed us a steady diet of "beating the war drums against Russia and its mad dictator, Vladimir Putin".  As I am prone to do and as someone who has visited Russia twice, both times as an independent traveller which allowed me insight that I would not have gained as a participant in a packaged tour, I learn the most by looking at how other nations view the world.  In this posting, we'll look at the Main Foreign Policy Results of 2022 as posted on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Russia Federation as shown here:


Let's look at some highlights.


The MFA's review opens with this:


"The year 2022 saw history-making events, such as the emergence of a new international reality, and became a turning point for Russia’s foreign policy."


This is followed with an explanation for Russia's activities in Ukraine during 2022 and why the nation felt that it was necessary to act when it did with my bolds throughout this posting:


"By the beginning of the year, the NATO-provoked militarisation of territories on Russia’s western border grew to an unacceptable degree. After the collective West refused to seriously consider Russia’s proposals for security guarantees, it became perfectly clear that our political and diplomatic efforts to ensure the security of Russia and the safety of Russian people would be arrogantly rejected, just like the US-led Western countries had rejected practical collaboration to implement the Minsk Package of Measures and turned a blind eye to the Kiev regime’s terror unleashed against the peaceful civilians in Donbass, who refused to recognise the bloody Maidan coup.


In order to neutralise the security threats, which had reached an unacceptable degree, the Russian authorities have taken difficult, but necessary steps. The recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO) in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter, the referendums held in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and the liberated territories of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions and their subsequent integration into the Russian Federation – these events, just like the return of Crimea to the “home port” in 2014, will forever go down in the history of Russia.


Here are the key sentences following Russia's explanation for its actions in Ukraine and the response of the West:


"At the same time, they put an end to 30 years of Russia’s honest attempts to develop equitable relations with the collective West.


Russia’s resolute actions have exposed the Western countries’ real intentions and policies towards our country. Stooping to openly Russophobic rhetoric and publicly admitting that the Minsk Package of Measures was only a way for the Kiev regime to bide its time and to pour NATO weapons into it, Western leaders vied to declare their intention to contribute to Russia’s “strategic defeat” and to remove it from the global stage as a geopolitical entity."


When these comments are put into the historical context of what happened to Russia during the Second World War, any threats to its security are part of its genetic makeup.


Here's what Russia has done in response to the West's moves against it:


"In response to vociferous anti-Russia provocations, our country has withdrawn from the Council of Europe and terminated its membership of the UN Human Rights Council, where it now holds the status of observer. Despite pressure, Russia has not abandoned its fundamental foreign policy principles and continues to advocate a constructive international agenda. Russian diplomats continued to staunchly uphold national interests based on the goals and principles of the UN Charter and international law."


Let's move on.  Given the presence of Neo-Nazis in Ukraine and the Soviet Union's experiences with Nazis during the 1940s, this development in 2022 (and previous years back to 2012) is not unusual:


"Acting within the framework of the New York-based Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations, Russia and other like-minded countries adopted a political declaration in support of the inviolability of the UN Charter (November 5, Tehran). An overwhelming majority of states members of the UN General Assembly approved the annual Russia-initiated resolution on combating the glorification of Nazism, which was co-authored by over 30 states. At the same time, Germany, Italy and Japan voted against it for the first time, clearly preferring to forget the crimes committed by German Nazis, Italian fascists and Japanese militarists during the Second World War. "


Nations voting against the Resolution because they claimed that Russia was using disinformation about Nazism to justify its actions in Ukraine included the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Ireland, New Zealand, Germany, France, Italy and a total of 52 nations versus 105 who voted in favour of the resolution.  Not surprisingly, Ukraine also voted against the Resolution.


The BRICS nations are playing a growing role in global geopolitics.  Here's what Russia has to say about developments within the group during 2022:


"Over 150 events were held within the framework of BRICS, including the group’s 14th summit on June 23-24. A launch ceremony for the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre for was held online, and we started implementing an agreement on cooperation in remote sensing satellites data sharing. We also established a BRICS Technical and Vocational Education and Training Cooperation Alliance. We finalised the text of a cooperation agreement regarding mutual administrative assistance on customs issues and a memorandum for regulating medical products. The heads of anti-corruption agencies held their first meeting and approved an initiative on eliminating safe havens for corrupt officials and criminal assets."


Russia is playing a leading role in the Eurasian Economic Union or EAEU.  Here are the 2022 developments for this group which is expanding rapidly, particularly in the field of energy:


"On December 9, Bishkek hosted a meeting of the heads of state of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council. The participants noted that EAEU countries had retained macroeconomic stability, and that mutual trade had increased by 12 percent in January-September 2022, on the same period of 2021. Investment increased by 6.6 percent, and agricultural and industrial output grew by 5.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. The heads of state approved new guidelines for the EAEU’s international activities in 2023 that stipulate more active interaction with the Union’s traditional trade and economic partners, including in promising new spheres. They also discussed proposals to hold a joint EAEU, SCO (the Shanghai Cooperation Organization) and BRICS summit in the near future and to create the Union’s own cryptocurrency.  


The EAEU’s trade and economic ties with foreign partners received a major impetus. Eight international agreements, including some with third countries, were signed this year on the Union’s operation and development, as well as for addressing its goals....


Talks on signing full-scale free trade agreements with Egypt and Iran have reached the final stage. The heads of EAEU states have decided to start official trade liberalisation talks with Indonesia and the UAE."


While the Western political leadership and media would most certainly not propagate the concept of Russia as a peacekeeping nation, here's what Russia's MFA has to say about its global peacekeeping activities in 2022 as well as its actions on the Iranian nuclear programme:


"Russian diplomats have significantly stepped up efforts to achieve the peaceful settlement of international conflicts. Russia extensively supported stabilising the situation in Afghanistan. Russia has promoted a complex approach to the Syrian dossier, including within the Astana format. We have promoted comprehensive normalisation of the relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, unblocking their transport connections, delimitating borders, coordinating a peace treaty and dealing with humanitarian issues. Russian peacekeepers, who remain the guarantors of security in the region, deserve much credit.


To prevent an escalation with grave consequences for regional and international security, we steered participants in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear programme to acknowledging that there is no other option but to return to the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.


GIven the importance of Russia to the global oil markets, Russia was also actively cooperating with its oil exporting peers during 2022 as quoted here:


"We continued our constructive cooperation with oil exporting countries within OPEC+. At the 33rd Ministerial Meeting on October 5, we agreed to extend the Declaration of Cooperation between the OPEC and non-OPEC countries through December 31, 2023. A decision was made to reduce oil production by 2 million barrels per day starting in November."


As the world evolves to a multipolar reality, most importantly, the growing ties between Russia and China during 2022 were also noted:


"Russia-China relations developed dynamically. The unprecedented level, resilience and stability of our relations, based on deep-rooted historical traditions, mutual respect and support, were reflected in the ambitious Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on International Relations Entering a New Era and Global Sustainable Development, which was adopted following the two leaders’ talks in Beijing (February 4).


Let's close Russia's outlook on the world outside its borders given the West's responses to its actions in a world where the global geopolitical agenda has been driven by America's rules-based international order since the end of World War 2:


"Subsequent events (after the beginning of military actions in Ukraine) have shown that the majority of the international community takes a positive view on Russia’s approaches, including when it comes to joining forces against the Western neo-colonialist practices."


One can hardly argue with that.

As I noted at the beginning of this posting, it is always interesting to see how the "pariah nations" of the world (at least in the eyes of the West) view their own actions.  As we can see from the results of Russia's foreign policies in 2022, significant strides have been made to create multipolar world where Washington's control of the global agenda is under significant threat.

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