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Ukraine must unite, not split Russia and Europe

January 13, 2015, 16:19 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© ITAR-TASS/Valery Matytsin

MOSCOW, January 13. /TASS/. Honorary chairman of the Foreign and Defense Policy Council’s Presidium, Sergey Karaganov, who on Monday was incorporated into the OSCE’s Panel of Eminent Persons, believes that joint efforts by the European states to ward off the threat of terrorism would be the surest way of restoring trust. The Panel of Eminent Persons is a panel of fifteen leading experts on European security issues.

According to Didier Burkhalter, the OSCE’s chairperson-in-office in 2014, the Panel of Eminent Persons’ task is called to promote a meaningful and constructive dialogue on security issues and to restore trust in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian regions.

“Before restoring trust in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian space with Russia taking an active part in this effort it should be realized why that trust has been lost,” Karaganov said. The root cause is since the end of the Cold War one party has been trying to get a firmer foothold at the expense of the other party, Russia. Instead of forging freedom for all one side preferred to take the stance of a winner. There followed a new tide of NATO’s expansion that brought the alliance’s structures closer to Russian borders. As a result, the bilateral relations plunged into a crisis, which has now to be overcome,” Karaganov said.

“The European countries, including Russia, are confronted with quite a few common challenges, terrorism being one of the worst. The latest tragedies in Paris, in which 17 people died at the hands of Islamic radicals, should make the politicians and all people of goodwill certain that the struggle with terrorism requires not just efforts on the national scale, but concerted international steps. Once this common threat has been averted, we will be able to start restoring trust between Russia and Europe,” Karaganov said.

“The unfinished Cold War has left many open wounds, of which the current developments in Ukraine are convincing proof. I am certain that Ukraine should be turned into a project that will not divide Europe and Russia, but cause them to unite,” Karaganov believes.

“In the capacity of Russia’s representative in the OSCE Group of the Panel of Eminent Persons for European security I am going to draw my colleague’s attention to the problem of social challenges to all European countries. The current slowdown of economic development will inevitably breed social problems, soaring unemployment and an upsurge in protest sentiment. As a matter of fact, not a single EU country, except for Germany, has managed to create an investment economy. The brain drain situation in Europe is still worse than it is in Russia. For this reason it will take joint efforts to decide how to restore the European countries’ economic positions in the world scene,” Karaganov believes.

Asked about the role of the European Union in the United States’ strategy towards Russia, Karaganov said: “The main thrust of US policies is to prevent a continental alliance of Russia and the European Union, which would become a stabilizing factor in international affairs and ensure a three-polar model of the world, which would be far more stable than a bipolar one. The scenario that the United States has been following looks like a tragic farce version of the plan for fighting against an “evil empire,” which has been gathering dust on a shelf since the Reagan era. It turns out the United States has not abandoned its old-time geopolitical concepts, one of which is to prevent a rapprochement of Russia and Europe.”

“Russia’s dramatic turn towards Asia would be a sound alternative to the search for a safe future in the European continent. Such a turn will not be easy for Russia’s Europe-oriented elite, but a further worsening of political, economic and cultural relations with Russia would yield no benefits for Europe, either,” Karaganov believes.


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