PETROPAVLOVSK KAMCHATSKY, March 29. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia is not giving up partnership with the West for the sake of a “zero-sum game”, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Sergei Brilev’s Vesti v Subbotu (News on Saturday) television programme on March 29.
“We are told that in reply to the West’s extended hands we always chose a ‘zero-sum game’. The other day a British newspaper published an article by my colleague, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, in which he said that Russia was once again in isolation because when you give it a hand, it turns away and goes its own way using the ‘zero-sum game’ logic,” Lavrov said.
“In Russia we call it ‘laying one’s own fault at somebody else’s door’. One can hardly reproach us for a lack of commitment to partnership and fair work. This can be found in our proposals on indivisibility of security which should be equal for all, not like now when NATO countries have legal means to protect their indivisible security while all the others are second-grade nations and therefore the alliance should be used as a magnet to continue to move the dividing line further east,” the minister said.
“We were promised that this would not happen. We were deceived. We were promised that NATO military infrastructure would not be moved towards our border. We were deceived. We were promised that there would no NATO military facilities on the territory of new members. At first we took all these promises constructively by ear. Then we started committing them to paper as political obligations signed by serious people - Western leaders. But when it came to our question why aren’t all these political obligations fulfilled and can’t they be made binding? - we were told: no, they can’t. Political would be enough, and don’t worry because everything we do is not against you,” Lavrov said.
As an example of a “zero-sum game”, he named the European Union’s Eastern Partnership project, which “was conceived using the ‘or-or logic’: either you are with us or you are against us,” he said.
“Western partners were speaking about this since the Ukrainian elections in 2004 when neither the Customs Union not Eastern Partnership existed yet, but there was an artificial third round of presidential elections, which was not provided for in the Ukrainian Constitution. The then minister of foreign affairs of Belgium, Karel De Gucht, who is now EU Trade Commissioner, publicly demanded that Ukrainians organise free elections: are they with Europe or Russia?” the minister said.
“This is where this mentality comes from. Eastern Partnership has simply turned into a tool for hectic absorption of geopolitical space just as NATO enlargement is as this project was pushed through at all costs, ignoring the legitimate economic interests of not only Ukraine’s neighbours - Russia and other states - but also of the states which were drawn into it,” Lavrov said.