«Last month, Russia, the world’s largest wheat exporter, suspended global grain exports – precisely the type of action the World Health Organization, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Trade Organization have warned would endanger global food supply chains»
«This is bad news for the EU, a major importer of essential foods from Russia – not least because Russia’s ban also extends to other essential foods like rye, barley, corn, soybeans, and sunflower oil»
«Russia’s actions are undoubtedly partly motivated by the same inclination to stockpile that we have seen elsewhere»
«But that doesn’t mean the politics behind the ban should be ignored»
«The Kremlin chose not to extend the ban to two of Russia’s closest geopolitical allies, Saudi Arabia, and South Sudan»
«In addition, Russian authorities made public proposals late last year for a so-called ‘Grain OPEC’, a brazen attempt to control global food markets»
«It would effectively mean the EU, not just depending on Russian energy, but increasingly also on Russian food supply»
«The doctrine [Food Security Doctrine] revealed ambitious targets for domestic food production as part of a larger Russia “exit strategy” from the global trade system»
«Thus, Russia is creating new food production targets that far exceed domestic demand. …. Vegetable oil is a notable example, whose domestic target increased from 80 percent to 90 percent.»
«Russia is now the world’s second-largest producer and exporter of sunflower oil.»
«a recent US department of agriculture report concluded the EU is expected to produce a much smaller crop this year (EU production is forecast down by nearly 12 million tonnes)»
«To address this predicament, the EU must diversify its global food supply chains sooner rather then later»
«Russia’s dominance over Europe’s energy market must not pave way for its control over the food market.»
* * * * * * *
Nel breve volgere di venti anni Mr Putin è riuscito a far risorgere la Russia come potenza politica e militare e a renderla il fornitore energetico fisso del blocco europeo e della Cina.
Adesso sta sviluppando il progetto di diversificare il sistema economico, rendendolo di importanza mondiale nella produzione alimentare, altro settore di importanza strategica.
Nella sua intrinseca miopia, il blocco europeo sta iniziando a razionalizzare quanto stia accadendo solo adesso.
Mr Putin ha saputo rendere la Russia un partner indispensabile.
The Kremlin chose not to extend the ban to two of Russia’s closest geopolitical allies – Saudi Arabia and South Sudan.
Last month, Russia, the world’s largest wheat exporter, suspended global grain exports – precisely the type of action the World Health Organization, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Trade Organization have warned would endanger global food supply chains.
This is bad news for the EU, a major importer of essential foods from Russia – not least because Russia’s ban also extends to other essential foods like rye, barley, corn, soybeans, and sunflower oil.
To make matters worse, the ban was announced when Russia seemed to have weathered the worst of the pandemic.
But given that Russia has, in past weeks, become an epicentre of the pandemic (now having the third-highest confirmed Covid-19 cases globally), it’s likely the ban won’t just persist beyond July, but that even more essential foods will have export bans slapped on them.
Russia’s actions are undoubtedly partly motivated by the same inclination to stockpile that we have seen elsewhere. But that doesn’t mean the politics behind the ban should be ignored.
Saudia Arabia and South Sudan
The Kremlin chose not to extend the ban to two of Russia’s closest geopolitical allies, Saudi Arabia, and South Sudan.
In addition, Russian authorities made public proposals late last year for a so-called ‘Grain OPEC’, a brazen attempt to control global food markets.
It would effectively mean the EU, not just depending on Russian energy, but increasingly also on Russian food supply. And considering Russia’s track record of weaponising energy as a political tool against the EU, it’s a prospect that bodes badly for long-term EU food security.
The doctrine revealed ambitious targets for domestic food production as part of a larger Russia “exit strategy” from the global trade system.
Thus, Russia is creating new food production targets that far exceed domestic demand.
Vegetable oil is a notable example, whose domestic target increased from 80 percent to 90 percent.
This demonstrates the strategic importance of the commodity: Russia is now the world’s second-largest producer and exporter of sunflower oil.
And the EU has most to lose from Russia’s control of this new ‘strategic oil’, with the seven largest global sunflower oil importers being European nations.
Reduced European harvest
This means the consequences of Russia’s export bans will inevitably impact EU markets and consumers – especially when you consider that a recent US department of agriculture report concluded the EU is expected to produce a much smaller crop this year (EU production is forecast down by nearly 12 million tonnes).
The consequent need for the EU to compensate with imports of essential foods as well as the increased impact that Russia’s export bans will have in the absence of surplus EU produce being exported – will only compounds the threat to EU and global food security.
To address this predicament, the EU must diversify its global food supply chains sooner rather then later.
But equally, it must also confront the temptation to veer towards protectionism during a global crisis – particularly over its agricultural sector. Doing so has already led to potential trade deals with the United States in the West, and ASEAN in the East falling through – drastically limiting the EU’s scope of potential suppliers and endangering long-term EU food security in the process.
The US, after all, could potentially supply alternative sources of wheat, whereas ASEAN, (and Malaysia in particular) is a supplier of sustainable palm oil as a substitute for sunflower oil, which Russia has attempted to monopolise.
Agriculture has remained the key sticking-point in US-EU trade negotiations.
For ASEAN, the EU’s ban on palm oil for biodiesel has been the major obstacle.
Russia’s food export bans also open up an opportunity for the EU to take advantage of US keenness to access EU markets.
As such, Europe may wish to consider a more constructive approach to palm oil to avoid alienating ASEAN as the Covid-19 economic crisis escalates.
This does not mean blindly committing to lower meat standards, which has often been brought up in the US-UK trade negotiations, nor allowing environmentally unsustainable commodities to enter the market, a defence commonly used against palm oil products.
Palm oil, after all, is proven to have be less land-, water-, and energy-intensive than almost all other edible oils, including sunflower oil, soy, and rapeseed, and Malaysia has made significant steps towards sustainable palm oil cultivation – a key EU demand.
In September 2018, the Malaysian government declared a moratorium on palm oil expansion to protect forest cover at 50 percent and enforced mandatory sustainability standards for 100 percent of Malaysia’s palm oil production.
Sustainable palm oil certification is now obligatory for Malaysian producers, as the government also embarks on reforestation programmes like the one million forest tree planting initiative in the Ulu Segama-Malua Forest Reserve.
Now, at a time when most global economic powers are keen on shoring up stronger trade relations (with the notable exception of Russia it seems), there also exists a unique window of opportunity for the EU to use constructive trade talks as a way of influencing economic powers to prioritise sustainability and environmental standards.
On the other hand, protectionism puts Europe’s food security at risk and opens a door to another crisis.
Covid-19, after all, transformed health security in Europe in ways no one could have predicted. It will likely transform food security as well, only this time we can choose to be better prepared. Russia’s dominance over Europe’s energy market must not pave way for its control over the food market.
Mr Putin è uomo sorprendente: ha una preparazione filosofica e storica di alto livello.
Riproponiamo il suo discorso tenuto al Summit Cis sul ruolo svolto dalla Russia nell’intervallo di tempo che precedette la seconda guerra mondiale.
«Future generations will acknowledge their debt to the Red Army as unreservedly as do we who have lived to witness these proud achievements» [Winston Churchill]
«We fully appreciate the magnificent contribution made by the mighty Soviet Union to the cause of civilization and liberty. You have demonstrated the ability of a freedom-loving and supremely courageous people to crush the evil forces of barbarism, however powerful» [Harry Truman]
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, I am very happy to see you. I would like to welcome you once again, in this “very extended” format of CIS heads of state.
We have resolved on events dedicated to the end of the Great Patriotic War between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany and the Victory of the Soviet Union.
Let me stress that for all of us, and I know you agree, it is a special date because our fathers and grandfathers sacrificed a lot to our Fatherland, our common Fatherland back then. In fact, every family in the former Soviet Union in one way or another suffered from what happened with our country and the world.
We have discussed this many times both formally and informally and decided to work together on the eve of the 75th anniversary. I would like to share some of my thoughts on this.
I was surprised, even somewhat hurt by one of the latest European Parliament resolutions dated September 19, 2019 “on the importance of preserving historical memory for the future of Europe.” We, too, have always strived to ensure the quality of history, its truthfulness, openness and objectivity. I want to emphasise once again that this applies to all of us, because we are to some extent descendants of the former Soviet Union. When they talk about the Soviet Union, they talk about us.
What does it say? According to this paper, the so-called Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (the foreign ministers of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany), as they write further, divided Europe and the territories of independent states between two totalitarian regimes, which paved the way for World War II. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact ‘paved the way to WWII…’ Well, maybe.
In addition, the European parliamentarians are demanding that Russia stop its efforts aimed at distorting historical facts and promoting the thesis that Poland, the Baltic countries and the West really started the war. I do not think we have ever said anything like this, or that any of the above countries were the perpetrators.
Where is the truth after all? I decided to figure this out and asked my colleagues to check the archives. When I started reading them, I found something that I think would be interesting for all of us, because, again, we all come from the Soviet Union.
Here is the first question. We talk about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact all the time. We repeat this after our European colleagues. This begs the question: was this the only document signed by one of the European countries, back then the Soviet Union, with Nazi Germany? It turns out that this is not at all the case. I will simply give a list of them, if I may.
So, the Declaration on the Non-use of Force between Germany and Poland. This is, in fact, the so-called Pilsudski-Hitler Pact signed in 1934. In essence, this is a non-aggression pact.
Then, the Anglo-German maritime agreement of 1935. Great Britain provided Hitler with an opportunity to have his own Navy, which was illegal for him or, in fact, reduced to a minimum following World War I.
Then, the joint Anglo-German declaration of Chamberlain and Hitler signed on September 30, 1938, which they agreed upon at Chamberlain’s initiative. It said that the signed ‘Munich Agreement, as well as the Anglo-German maritime agreement symbolise…’ and so on. The creation of a legal framework between the two states continued.
That is not all. There is the Franco-German Declaration signed on December 6, 1938 in Paris by the foreign ministers of France and Germany, Bonnet and Ribbentrop.
Finally, the treaty between the Republic of Lithuania and the German Reich signed on March 22, 1939 in Berlin by the foreign minister of Lithuania and Ribbentop to the effect that Klaipeda Territory will reunite with the German Reich.
Then, there was the Nonaggression Treaty between the German Reich and Latvia of June 7, 1939.
Thus, the Treaty between the Soviet Union and Germany was the last in a line of treaties signed by European countries that seemed to be interested in maintaining peace in Europe. Also, I want to note that the Soviet Union agreed to sign this document only after all other avenues had been exhausted and all proposals by the Soviet Union to create a unified security system, in fact, an anti-Nazi coalition in Europe were rejected.
In this connection, I am asking you to take a few minutes to return to the origins, to the very beginning, which I find very important. I suggest beginning, as they say, from ‘centre field’, as they say, I mean from the results from World War I, from the Versailles Peace conditions written in the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
For Germany, the Treaty of Versailles became a symbol of blatant injustice and national humiliation. In fact, it meant robbing Germany. I will give you some numbers, because they are very interesting.
Germany had to pay the Triple Entente countries (Russia left the winners and did not sign the Treaty of Versailles) an astronomical sum of 269 billion golden marks, the equivalent of 100,000 tonnes of gold. For comparison, I would say the gold reserves as of October 2019 are 8,130 tonnes in the US, 3,370 tonnes in Germany and 2,250 tonnes in Russia. And Germany had to pay 100,000 tonnes. At the current price of gold of $1,464 for a troy ounce, the reparations would be worth about $4.7 trillion, while the German GDP in 2018 prices, if my data are correct, is only $4 trillion.
Suffice it to say that the last payments of 70 million euros were made quite recently, on October 3, 2010. Germany was still paying for World War I on the 20th anniversary of the Federal Republic of Germany.
I believe, and many, including researchers, agree that the so-called spirit of Versailles created an environment for a radical and revanchist mood. The Nazis were actively exploiting Versailles in their propaganda promising to relieve Germany of this national shame, so the West gave the Nazis a free hand for revenge.
For reference, I can say that the man behind the French victory in World War I, Marshal Ferdinand Foch, the French commander, spoke about the results of the Treaty of Versailles and once uttered a famous prophecy, I quote: “This is not peace. It is an armistice for twenty years.” He was right even about the time.
US President Woodrow Wilson warned that giving Germany reason to avenge one day would be a big mistake. The internationally renowned Winston Churchill wrote that the economic articles of the treaty were vicious and stupid to the point of being clearly meaningless.
The Versailles world order gave rise to many conflicts and disagreements. They are based on the borders of new states arbitrarily drawn up in Europe by the winners of World War I. That is, the borders were reshaped. This created conditions for the so-called Sudeten crisis. Sudetenland was part of Czechoslovakia where the German population lived. Here is a reference document about the Sudeten crisis and the ensuing so-called Munich Conference.
In 1938, 14 million people lived in Czechoslovakia, of which 3.5 million were ethnic Germans. On September 13, 1938, a rebellion broke out there, and Great Britain immediately proposed talking to Hitler and appeasing him in order to keep the peace. I will not bore you with the details of the correspondence and talks, but they led to the signing of the well-known Munich agreement.
To reiterate, we used some archive materials. I want to explain some of them. We have an encrypted message from the Soviet Plenipotentiary Envoy to France to the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Litvinov dated May 25, 1938, about a confidential conversation with French Prime Minister Daladier.
I will read an excerpt, as it is an interesting document. “Prime Minister of France, Eduard Daladier, has devoted the past several days to clarifying Poland’s position.” This refers to the Munich Agreement, as a result of which Sudetenland, part of Czechoslovak territory, was supposed to go to Germany. ‘The probe in Poland gave an utterly negative result,’ the Prime Minister of France said. “Not only can we not rely on Polish support, but there is no certainty that Poland will not stab us in the back.” Contrary to Polish assurances, Daladier does not believe in the Poles’ loyalty, even if Germany were to directly attack France. He demanded a clear and unambiguous answer from the Poles as to whose side they are on in peace and in war. In this regard, he asked the Polish ambassador to France, Juliusz Łukasiewicz, a number of direct questions. He asked him if the Poles would let Soviet troops pass through their territory. Łukasiewicz said no. Daladier then asked if they would let Soviet planes fly across their territory. Łukasiewicz said the Poles would open fire on them. When Łukasiewicz said no to the question of whether Poland would come to the rescue if after a German attack on Czechoslovakia (there was an agreement on mutual assistance between France and Czechoslovakia)… Germany declares war on France. The Polish representative said no. Daladier said he saw no reason in a Franco-Polish alliance and the sacrifices that France is making as part of it.“
So what does this mean? It means the Soviet Union was ready to help Czechoslovakia, which Nazi Germany was going to rob. But the agreement between the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia stated that the Soviet Union would do this only if France fulfilled its obligations to Czechoslovakia. France linked its aid to Czechoslovakia to support from Poland. But Poland refused to provide it.
The following document is this document No. 5 in front of me, which I have just spoken about. Let us go ahead. The sixth document.
What did the Polish authorities do when Germany began to claim part of Czechoslovak territory? They also laid claim to their part of the “prey” during the partitioning of Czechoslovak territory and demanded that a certain part of Czechoslovakia be transferred to them. Moreover, they were ready to use force. They formed a special military group called ‘Silesia,’ which included three infantry divisions, a cavalry brigade and other units.
There is also a specific document from the archives. From a report from a commander of the Silesia Independent Operation Group, a Mr Bortnowski on preparations for the offensive operation, the capture of Tesin Silesia and the training of troops, the Polish authorities trained and sent militants to Czechoslovakia to carry out sabotage and terrorist attacks and actively prepare for the partitioning and occupation of Czechoslovakia.
The next document is a record of a conversation between German Ambassador to Poland Mr Moltke and Polish Foreign Minister, Mr Beck. In this document, Polish Foreign Minister Beck spoke directly about this, I quote: “In the areas claimed by Poland, there will be no conflict with German interests.” Therefore, there will be a division of Czechoslovak territory.
Immediately after the Munich Agreement was concluded on September 30, 1938, Warsaw, having imitated in fact Nazi methods, sent an ultimatum to Prague with an unconditional claim for part of the territory of Czechoslovakia – Tesin Silesia. France and Great Britain did not support Czechoslovakia, which forced it to yield to this violence. Simultaneously with Germany, which annexed Sudetenland, Poland began a direct seizing of Czechoslovak territory on October 1, 1938, thereby violating the agreement it had previously concluded with Czechoslovakia.
The next document tells about the final agreement to set the border between Poland and Czechoslovakia. Here is what this is about: on July 28, 1920, with the arbitration of the Triple Entente, Poland and Czechoslovakia signed the so-called final border agreement, which gave the western part of Czechoslovakia’s Cieszyn Region to the Czechs and the eastern part to Warsaw. Both parts officially recognised and, more importantly, guaranteed their shared border.
Of course, Poland understood that without Hitler’s support all attempts to seize part of Czechoslovakia were doomed to fail. In this context, I would like to cite a very interesting document: a recorded conversation between German Ambassador in Warsaw Hans-Adolf von Moltke and Josef Beck about Polish-Czech relations and the USSR’s position on this from October 1, 1938.
The German ambassador reports to his superiors in Berlin. Mr Beck – let me remind you that he was the Foreign Minister of Poland – expressed his deep gratitude for the loyal interpretation of Polish interests at the Munich conference as well as for the sincere relations during the Czech conflict. The Polish government and people credited Hitler and the Reichskanzler, which means he was grateful for Hitler’s actions at the conference in Munich.
It is noteworthy that representatives of Poland were not invited to the Munich conference, and that their interests were in fact represented by Hitler.
At this point Poland assumed the role of instigator: it tried to draw Hungary into the division of Czechoslovakia, which means deliberately pulling other countries into violating international law. It was well known to other European countries, including to both Great Britain and France, that Germany and Poland acted together.
The next, tenth document. From a report by French Ambassador to Germany André François-Poncet to the Foreign Minister of France Georges-Étienne Bonnet of September 22, 1938. I will read it; it is a very interesting document. Next comes a quote, it is the French ambassador’s report to his superior in Paris; he writes, “This is about the demarches taken by Poland and Hungary on September 20 to the Fuehrer, and in London, which were designed to point out that Warsaw and Budapest would not agree to exercising a less favourable plan for their ethnic minorities in the Czechoslovakian state than the plan offered to Sudeten Germans. This was equivalent to a statement, the French Ambassador goes on to say, that ceding territories inhabited by the German majority should also entail Prague’s surrender of the Těšín district and 700,000 Hungarians in Slovakia. Therefore, the presumed divestiture of the territory would amount to the partitioning of the country (that is, Czechoslovakia).”
This is exactly what the Reich wanted. Poland and Warsaw were joining Germany in hounding Czechoslovakia. France and England, who were trying to offer concessions and doing their best to meet Germany’s demands, wanted to save the existence of the Czech state, which was facing a united front of three states that were set to partition Czechoslovakia.
The leaders of the Reich, who made no secret of their goal to erase Czechoslovakia from the map of Europe, immediately used the Polish and Hungarian demarches to declare through their official print media as early as September 21, that a new situation had emerged which required a new solution.
Next. The fact that Poland expressed its appetite once it felt the hour for the division of the spoils was coming, could not have come as a surprise to those who were aware of the intentions of Polish Foreign Minister Beck, who had displayed an increasing caution about Germany and was fully informed of the designs of Hitler’s leaders. In particular, due to regular contact with Hermann Goering throughout several months, the Polish foreign minister believed that the partitioning of Czechoslovakia was unavoidable, that it would happen before the end of 1938. Beck also made no secret of his intentions to claim Těšín and to occupy it if needed.
And the last point. The differences between the party led by Konrad Henlein – the party’s leader in Czechoslovakia – and the Czechs only served as a pretext and the starting point for the Reich as, by persecuting the Prague authorities, the Reich could achieve its main objective, which was to take down a barrier to Germany’s expansion, as Czechoslovakia was an ally of France and Russia in Central Europe.
This is significant. How did the leading politicians around the world respond to the Munich Betrayal, an agreement signed between Hitler, Great Britain and France in 1938? What did well-known people who earned the respect of the public around the world and Europe say back then? We can say that with a few exceptions their reaction was positive and optimistic. Only Winston Churchill was honest in describing the situation, calling a spade a spade.
I want to add that after the agreement was signed, the British Prime Minister, speaking outside his residence on Downing Street upon his return from Munich on September 30, 1938, said: “For the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time.” That is, for our generation.
After the Munich Agreement was signed, Franklin Roosevelt in his message of greetings to Chamberlain dated October 5, 1938, wrote that he completely shared his belief that this was a great opportunity to establish a new order based on justice and the rule of law.
On October 19, 1938, US Ambassador to the UK Joseph Kennedy, the father of future president John Kennedy, gave the following assessment of the Munich Agreement signed between the Western countries, or democracies, and Germany and Italy: It has been my belief for a long time now that it is unproductive and unreasonable on the part of both democracies and dictatorships to emphasise the existing differences between them. They can benefit from working towards resolving their common problems, something that will change relations between them for the better.
And now from Churchill’s speech made in the House of Commons in the British Parliament on October 5, 1938: “We have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat… All is over. Silent, mournful, abandoned, broken, Czechoslovakia recedes into the darkness… Do not let us blind ourselves to that.” He said we should stop deceiving ourselves; we must look realistically at the scale of the disaster that the world is facing. “A disaster of the first magnitude has befallen Great Britain and France… We have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road… And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip.” Quite an assessment.
What was Churchill talking about? The fact that, in Munich, the so-called Western democracies had betrayed their ally, signaling that war was imminent.
Speaking at a League of Nations plenary meeting in September 1938, our Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov said, “Avoiding a likely war today and getting a sure and universal war tomorrow – and that at the cost of feeding the aggressors’ insatiable appetite and destroying sovereign countries – does not mean acting in the spirit of the League of Nations pact.” That is, the Soviet Union condemned this event.
In this connection, I would like to present the following very important document; it is a curious document. Actually, we have all of them displayed at our exhibit. This is a response from the Political Bureau of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) to the September 20, 1938 cable from the USSR’s Plenipotentiary Envoy to Czechoslovakia, Alexandrovsky. On September 20, 1938, the Political Bureau of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) unanimously gave a positive answer to the direct question from President Edvard Benes as to whether the USSR would deliver prompt assistance to Czechoslovakia if France stood loyal to it.
Further, on September 23, 1938, the Soviet Union officially notified Poland that if it invaded Czechoslovakia, the Soviet-Polish non-aggression pact would be terminated. Poland’s Foreign Minister Jozef Beck called this a propaganda ploy of no significance.
In addition, while considering the forthcoming invasion of Tesin, Poland did everything it could to prevent the Soviet Union from fulfilling its obligations to provide assistance to Czechoslovakia. As you recall, they were going to shoot down Soviet planes, and not allow the transit of Soviet troops to help rescue Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, France, the chief ally of the Czechs and Slovaks at the time, in fact reneged on its guarantees to defend Czechoslovakia’s integrity.
Being left alone, the USSR had to face the reality created by the Western states. The partitioning of Czechoslovakia was cruel and cynical, in essence, it was pillaging. We have every reason to say that the Munich agreement was the turning point in history following which World War II became inevitable.
Hitler could have been stopped in 1938 through the collective efforts of the European states. This was acknowledged by the Western leaders themselves.
Another reference to a document. This is a transcript of conversations of May 17, 1939, between representatives of the French and Polish Commands about the possibilities of war in Europe between the Italian-German and Polish-French coalitions. The French Chief of Staff said at a meeting with the Polish Minister of Military Affairs that the overall situation in 1938 offered many more opportunities for opposition to Germany. So what was he talking about? That given a timely response, the war could have been avoided. Meanwhile, during the Nuremberg Trials, Field Marshall Keitel said, when responding to the question of whether Germany would have attacked Czechoslovakia in 1938 if the Western powers had supported Prague, “No. We were not strong enough militarily.” The Munich [agreement] objective was to push Russia out of Europe, gain time and complete the arming of Germany.
The Soviet Union consistently tried to prevent the tragedy of partitioning Czechoslovakia based on its international obligations, including its agreements with France and Czechoslovakia. However, Britain and France preferred to throw a democratic East European country to the Nazis to appease them. And not only that, but also to steer Nazi aspirations eastward. Polandat the time, unfortunately, was instrumental in this. The leaders of the Second Rzeczpospolita did everything they could to resist a collective security system that would include the USSR.
I want to show you another document – a transcript of Adolf Hitler’s conversation with Foreign Minister of Poland Jozef Beck of January 5, 1939. This document is indicative. It is a sort of distillation of the joint policy of the German Reich and Poland on the eve of, in the course of, and after the end of the Czechoslovakia crisis. The content is cynical in its attitude towards neighbouring nations and Europe as a whole. And it clearly illustrates the contours of the Polish-German alliance as a striking force against Russia.
Let me quote just a few excerpts. Document 13. Everything is in fine print here. This is a copy of the May 17, 1939 document, and I asked my colleagues to make excerpts for me so they are readable.
So, quote number one. The Fuehrer says bluntly, “It was not easy to get the French and the English to consent to the inclusion of Polish and Hungarian claims to Czechoslovakia in the Munich agreement.” This means Hitler was working in the interests of those countries then. In fact, Hitler was an attorney for the Polish authorities in Munich.
And the second quote. The Polish minister says, with certain pride, that Poland does not show such nervousness about enhancing its security as, for example, France does, and attaches no importance to the so-called security systems that went completely bankrupt after the September crisis (Sudetenlandcrisis) in Czechoslovakia. They do not want to establish anything. The Polish foreign minister says this to Hitler directly.
None of the decision-makers in Berlin or Warsaw cared about the fact that the security system in Europe was disintegrating. They cared about something else.
In this connection, the third quote. Hitler says (Adolf Hitler’s words), “Under all circumstances, Germany will be interested in the preservation of a strong national Poland, absolutely independently from the situation in Russia. Be it Bolshevik, Tsarist or any other Russia, Germany will always be extremely cautious in regard to this country. A strong Polish army takes a considerable burden off Germany. The divisions that Poland is forced to keep on the Russian border relieve Germany of additional military expense.” This looks like a military alliance against the Soviet Union.
This document, as you can see, was completely undisguised, and it did not come out of nowhere. This was not a result of tactical manoeuvring but rather a reflection of the consistent trend towards Polish-German rapprochement to the detriment of the Soviet Union. And I have more evidence in this vein, though from earlier dates, it is very revealing
This is an excerpt from a conversation between Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Jan Szembek and Hermann Goering about Polish-Soviet relations of November 5, 1937. Goering is confident that the Third Empire, that is, the Third Reich, will not be able to cooperate with the Soviets and with Russia in general regardless of its internal structure. Goering also added that Germany needs a strong Poland whereby he added that the Baltic Sea is not enough for Poland and it must have access to the Black Sea.
Both then and now, Russia is used to scare people. Be it Tsarist, Soviet or today’s – nothing has changed. It does not matter what kind of country Russia is – this rationale remains. We should also not confuse ideological terms – Bolshevik, Russian, whatever, our former common homeland, the Soviet Union. To achieve this, they will make a deal with anyone, including Nazi Germany, we can, in fact, see this.
And related to that is another very revealing document – a transcript of the conversation between the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joachim Ribbentrop, and Polish Foreign Minister Jozef Beck on January 6, 1939. We got hold of a fairly substantial number of documents from Eastern Europe and Germany after World War II. Joachim Ribbentrop expressed Germany’s position, which, I quote, “will proceed from viewing the Ukrainian issue as Poland’s privilege, and we support Poland in all respects during the discussion of this issue, however, only on condition that Poland takes a more salient anti-Russian stance (this is a quote) since otherwise we (Nazi Germany) are unlikely to have common interests.” Responding to Ribbentrop’s question as to whether Poland had given up Marshal Pilsudski’s ambitions regarding Ukraine, Mr Beck said, “The Poles have already been to Kiev, and these plans are undoubtedly still alive today.”
Actually, this happened in 1939. Let us hope that at least something has changed in this respect. However, the foundation of what I am sharing now is pathological Russophobia. The European capitals, incidentally, were perfectly aware of that. Poland’s Western allies at that time were perfectly aware of that.
The following document will prove what I have just said. This is a report by Ambassador of France to Poland, Mr Leon Noel, to Foreign Minister of France Georges Bonnet on his conversations with his Polish colleagues of May 31, 1938. In this document, the French ambassador wrote about the unequivocal statements made by the Polish leaders, who did not mince words during their meeting.
To quote, “When a German is a rival, he nevertheless remains a European and a man of order.” And Poland would soon find out what a “European and man of order” means. Everyone experienced this on September 1, 1939.
According to Noel, the Poles saw Russians as barbarians with whom “all contact would be perilous and all compromise mortal.” To comment, this can be seen as a typical example of racism and contempt for the “untermensch,” a Nazi concept that included Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians, and later the Poles themselves.
You know, in this context, I look at the cases of Russophobia, anti-Semitism and so on in certain European countries, and they bear a striking resemblance to this.
Aggressive nationalism always makes one blind and eliminates any and all moral boundaries. Those who take this path will stop at nothing to achieve their goals – but ultimately, it will hit them back, which we have seen repeatedly.
In this context, here is another document to support this, a report by Ambassador of Poland to Nazi Germany Jozef Lipski to Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jozef Beck of September 20, 1938, which I think is necessary to read to you aloud. Mr Lipski had spoken to Hitler, and this is what he, the Polish ambassador, wrote to his Minister of Foreign Affairs: “Further to our discussion, the Chancellor of Germany, Hitler persistently emphasised that Poland is a paramount factor that protects Europe from Russia.”
It follows from Hitler’s other statements that he suddenly had an idea that the Jewish issue can be resolved through migration to colonies in accord with Poland, Hungary, and maybe also Romania. Hitler suggested forcibly expelling the Jewish population from Europe to Africa first – and not just expelling them but actually sending them to their extermination. We all know what was meant by colonies in 1938 – it meant extermination. This was the first step towards genocide, the extermination of Jews and what we today know as the Holocaust.
And this is what the Polish ambassador wrote to the Polish Foreign Minister in this connection – apparently hoping for understanding and approval: I, meaning the Polish Ambassador to Germany, responded, he writes to his Foreign Minister, that if this happens and this issue is resolved, we will build a beautiful monument to him, to Hitler, in Warsaw. There.
An excerpt from the above-mentioned conversation between Adolf Hitler and Polish Foreign Minister Jozef Beck of January 5, 1939. Hitler said, “Another issue of common interest for Germany and Poland is the Jewish issue.” He, the Fuhrer, is firmly resolved to oust Jews from Germany. At that moment, they would be allowed to take along some of their belongings, and Hitler noted, they would definitely take with them much more from Germany than they had when they had settled in that country. But the longer they procrastinate with emigration, the less property they will able to take with them.
What is this? What kind of people are they? Who are they? I have the impression that today’s Europe wants to know nothing about it, it is being deliberately hushed up while they try to shift the blame, including for starting World War II, from the Nazis to the Communists.
Yes, we know who Stalin was, we have given our assessments of him. But I think the fact remains that it was Nazi Germany that invaded first Poland on September 1, 1939, and then the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941.
And what kind of people are those who hold such conversations with Hitler? It was them who, while pursuing their mercenary and exorbitantly overgrown ambitions, laid their people, the Polish people, open to attack from Germany’s military machine, and, moreover, generally contributed to the beginning of the Second World War. What else can one think after reading these documents?
And something we also witness today: they desecrate the graves of those who won that war, who gave their lives, including in Europe, while liberating those countries from Nazism.
By the way, it occurred to me that it had nothing to do with Stalin whatsoever. The monuments in Europe were erected to our regular Red Army soldiers, including those who came from currently absolutely independent states established after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. They were ordinary people. Who were these Red Army soldiers? They were mainly farmers and workers, many of whom also suffered from the Stalin regime – some of them were repressed kulaks, some had family members sent to labour camps. These people died as they were liberating the European countries from Nazism. Now memorials to them are being demolished, among other things, so that the facts of a real collusion of some European leaders with Hitler should not surface. This is not revenge on Bolsheviks: they are doing all they can to conceal their own position.
Why did I say that the leaders of those countries, including Poland, at that time, actually threw their people under the chariot of Nazi Germany’s military machine? Because they underestimated the real reasons underlying Hitler’s actions.
This is what he said at a meeting with German Army commanders at the Reich Chancellery, I quote: “The point is not Danzig,” this is a city that was declared to be an international entity and which Germany wanted back after World War I, “the point for us is to expand the Lebensraum eastward and to ensure food supplies.” It was not about Poland at all. The point is that they needed to pave the road for an aggression against the Soviet Union
The Soviet Union was trying to the utmost to use every opportunity for establishing an anti-Hitler coalition, held talks with military representatives of France and Great Britain, thus attempting to prevent the outbreak of World War II, but it practically remained alone and isolated. As I have already said, it was the last of the European states concerned that was compelled to sign a non-aggression pact with Hitler.
Yes, there is a classified part on the partitioning of some territory. But we do not know the content of other European countries’ agreements with Hitler. Because while we have de-classified these documents, the Western capitals are still keeping all this classified. We know nothing of their contents. But now we do not need to, because the facts show that there was collusion. In essence, we see the partitioning of a democratic independent state, Czechoslovakia. And the participants in it were not just Hitler but also the then leaders of those countries. It was this that opened the road to the east for Hitler, it was this that became the cause of the outbreak of World War II.
One more point concerning the Soviet Union’s actions after Germany launched a war against Poland. Let me remind you that in the west, in the area of Lvov, the Polish garrison was still resisting, this is true. When the Red Army advanced, they surrendered their weapons to the Red Army. Actually, the fact that the Red Army’s units entered there saved many lives of the local population, mainly the Jewish population. Because all those present here know that the percentage of the Jewish population in that area was very high. If the Nazis had entered, they would have cut out everyone and sent them to the furnaces.
Concerning Brest, for instance, the Red Army advanced there only after those territories were occupied by German troops. The Red Army did not wage any hostilities with anyone there; they were not fighting with the Poles. Moreover, by that time the Polish government had lost control over the country, over the armed forces, and stayed somewhere close to the Romanian border. There was nobody to have any negotiations with. Let me reiterate, the Brest Fortress, which we all know as a citadel for defending the interests of the Soviet Union and our common Fatherland and one of the most extraordinary pages in the history of the Great Patriotic War, was only occupied by the Red Army after the Germans left. They had already captured it, thus in reality the Soviet Union did not seize it from Poland.
In conclusion, I would like to remind you of the way contemporaries assessed the results of the victory over Nazism and the contribution of each of us to that victory, starting with 1941.
Churchill’s statement: “I am very glad to … learn from many sources of the valiant fight and many vigorous counter-attacks with which the Russian armies are defending their native soil. I fully realise the military advantage you have gained by forcing the enemy to deploy and engage on forward Western fronts,” “on forward Western fronts” – I draw your attention to this, the British leaders of the time admitted that this had a combat importance in fighting Nazi Germany, “thus exhausting some of the force of his initial effort.” That means the power of the initial assault of the Nazi army was weakened by the fact that the Red Army advanced to new frontiers. So advancing to these new positions also had a military importance for the Soviet Union.
And now a quote from Winston Churchill’s personal message to Joseph Stalin of February 22, 1945. It was on February 22, the eve of the 27th anniversary of the Red Army. Churchill writes that the Red Army celebrates its twenty-seventh anniversary amid triumphs, which have won the unstinted applause of their allies. And I would like to stress the following in connection with the resolution adopted recently by our colleagues in the European Parliament: “Future generations will acknowledge their debt to the Red Army as unreservedly as do we who have lived to witness these proud achievements.” But we see how the present-day generation of European politicians reacts to this.
Here is what Roosevelt wrote to Stalin in 1945, “The continued outstanding achievements of the Red Army together with the all-out effort of the United Nations forces in the South and the West assure the speedy attainment of our common goal—a peaceful world based upon mutual understanding and cooperation.”
And some time later Harry Truman, the new US President, wrote, “We fully appreciate the magnificent contribution made by the mighty Soviet Union to the cause of civilization and liberty. You have demonstrated the ability of a freedom-loving and supremely courageous people to crush the evil forces of barbarism, however powerful.”
I believe each of us here cannot forget and will never forget the feat of our fathers. I would very much like our colleagues in the West in general and in Europe in particular, to keep this in mind. And if they do not want to listen to us, let them heed the respected leaders of their own countries, who knew what they were saying and had first-hand knowledge of the events.
First President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: This must be made public.
Vladimir Putin: We have already made it public. But I just want to put it all together properly and write an article. I want to write an article on this matter.
La mentalità ideologizzata dei liberal democratici americani e socialisti in Europa trova una preclusione dottrinale alla comprensione della Russia, delle sue ambizioni e della sua realtà.
Intanto, la Russia è un Impero, intendendo con questo termine una federazione di realtà politiche, linguistiche ed etniche alquanto differenti, ma omogenee per amor di Patria. In questo la Russia assomiglia più alla Cina e differisce dall’occidente liberal.
Poi, la Russia vive in modo profondo il proprio retaggio religioso, storico, culturale ed artistico: è in questo che affonda le sue radici la profonda coesione che sta dimostrando. Ma i liberal rigettano persino le proprie tradizioni, figurarsi poi cercare di comprendere quelle altrui.
La concezione di governo quale quella dello Czar imperiale è l’unica realtà politica vissuta dai russi negli ultimi sei secoli: oramai è entrata nei loro cromosomi. È l’unico modo di governare la Federazione.
«La Russia non si può capire con la mente, né la si misura col metro comune: la Russia è fatta a modo proprio, in essa si può soltanto credere».
Secondo Fedor Tjutchev1 “La Russia non si può capire con la mente, né la si misura col metro comune: la Russia è fatta a modo proprio, in essa si può soltanto credere.”; una visione poetica, lo spirito slavo e passionale di Čajkovskij, la tessera di un mosaico molto più ampio. In 1984, l’Eurasia di Orwell indicava una superpotenza che comprendeva l’Europa, eccetto l’Inghilterra, ed oltrepassava l’Asia settentrionale fino allo stretto di Bering; la geopolitica di Putin supera la fantasia e va in senso opposto alle direttrici staliniane: l’Eurasia guarda al Mediterraneo in Libia ed in Turchia; in Medio Oriente verso la Siria dove ha conservato le basi di Tartus, Humaymin e Latakia; in Asia Centrale ed Estremo Oriente in coabitazione con Pechino, una convivenza supportata da un’attenta compensazione politica in ambito ONU e caratterizzata dalla fondazione di organizzazioni economiche2 capaci di creare ad Est valide alternative alle seduzioni occidentali, da nicchie negoziali nella SCO3, volte ad attrarre potenze quali Iran, Giappone ed India. La Russia conosce tuttavia limiti che vietano politiche espansive per imporne altre che la vedono quale trait d’union tra Asia Centrale ed Europa.
Useremo 8 Parole chiave, per dare punti di sintesi e giungere a conclusioni logiche.
1: Linee generali di politica estera. Se Kennan4 avesse presenziato al discorso tenuto da Putin nel 2016 al Valdai Club, avrebbe dato un seguito al suo lungo telegramma. Putin, stigmatizzando le politiche occidentali, ha ironizzato su quelle egemoniche obamiane (“Cos’è l’America? Una Repubblica delle Banane o una grande potenza?”), incolpando le élite tecnocratiche sia di privare di senso il concetto di sovranità, sia di ignorare i malesseri sociali. Putin, pro dacia sua, ha tralasciato il suo cortile, ma di certo la politica occidentale gli ha agevolato il compito, visti gli esiti del caos siro-libico. La Russia deve condurre una politica estera indipendente, centellinando le proprie risorse: sostenere sovieticamente troppi fronti è un errore strategico ed un suicidio economico. Fondamentale dunque mantenere rapporti non conflittuali conservando l’equilibrio di Jalta e Potsdam, non cedendo terreno in ambito ONU, e perseguendo strategie alternative a quella americana, troppo incline alla creazione di cohalition of willings, e che ha propiziato le fratture interne con Gorbačëv ed El’cin; meglio dunque attendere gli errori di Washington, punta sul vivo dall’entente cordiale con Maduro.
2: Nazione. Difensore della sovranità, Putin ha tenuto vivi storia e nazionalismo; solo la pandemia è riuscita ad impedire l’anniversario della vittoria sulla Germania, ancora memore dell’umiliazione inflitta con l’inchino degli stendardi nazisti davanti al Mausoleo di Lenin. Ora che l’intellighenzia comincia a soffrire di carenza di motivazioni, la Giornata della Vittoria contrasta il revisionismo occidentale (segnatamente polacco) sulle conseguenze del Patto Molotov – Ribbentrop, e ridesta il senso di accerchiamento con una costruzione verticale del potere e con una progressiva rivalutazione della figura di Stalin, non ancora riabilitata, ma che incarna una gloria russa, non marxista leninista, secondo la retorica usata in Crimea e Bielorussia.
3: Costituzione. Richiedesiuomo forte; il prossimo referendum, se approvato, introdurrà due riforme significative: il limite complessivo di due mandati presidenziali, cosa che permetterà a Putin di ricandidarsi fino al 2036, e la preminenza del diritto nazionale su quello internazionale, volta ad evitare interferenze esterne. Da ricordare la recente rivisitazione della legge sulla cittadinanza, un insieme di misure volte a contrastare il calo demografico e l’impoverimento del mercato del lavoro: una possibile società stratificata, con frange favorevoli ad uno Stato improntato ad una democrazia gestita centralmente.
4: Economia e Pensioni. Il modello produttivo russo, basato sull’export energetico non ha trovato diversificazione, ed il settore bancario è ancora impreparato per contenere le fasi recessive, acuite da tagli negli investimenti e penalizzate dalle sanzioni occidentali, puntate a colpire i settori energetico, della difesa e della finanza. Il Cremlino difende la sovranità economica cercando di attenuare l’interdipendenza estera, e con una programmazione sovietica di opere pubbliche da 400 Mld di dollari da ultimare nel 2024 che suscita non poche perplessità, visti gli elevati tassi d’interesse praticati dalla Banca Centrale che non favoriscono gli investimenti privati. Il cedimento della domanda globale ha portato al crollo del prezzo del greggio, ulteriormente penalizzato dalla decisione di Igor Sechin, CEO di Rosneft, di infrangere il patto con i Sauditi (che hanno continuato a produrre ed a continuare il loro processo di diversificazione) e l’Opec, originariamente indirizzato a colpire lo shale oil USA. D’attualità il problema pensionistico, con l’innalzamento della soglia per gli uomini a 65 anni (eccetto le FFAA) e che ha portato a mobilitazioni di massa. Il rapporto tra lavoratori e pensionati, sbilanciato verso questi ultimi, porta ad un calo contributivo; se è vero che l’aspettativa di vita per un uomo si attesta intorno ai 67 anni, l’erogazione pensionistica non si estenderebbe per oltre 2 anni.
5: Cina e USA. Cina e Russia perseguono propri interessi trovandosi spesso in amichevole disaccordo, tanto che un’alleanza militare non appare ipotizzabile; rimane dunque una cooperazione a livello economico, come nell’Artico, in cui il cambiamento climatico ha aperto vie commerciali altrimenti inaccessibili, in un’area strategicamente rilevante per la deterrenza nucleare e per le traiettorie missilistiche più brevi in caso di conflitto. Il divario esistente tra risorse economiche e tecnologiche acuisce la percezione di una subalternità russa rispetto ad un Dragone che sa che non esistono punti di possibile rottura, dato che anche la politica di Trump con il suo America first, non fornisce a Putin alcuna exit strategy utile.
6: COVID e Propaganda: La congiuntura economica ha acuito gli aspetti recessivi e le frizioni con oligarchi e Governatori chiamati a sopperire alle mancanze statali. Per ciò che concerne la propaganda, anche se può apparire singolare che Mosca lanci una campagna disinformativa proprio quando sta tentando di acquisire un appeal più seducente con i suoi aiuti umanitari, non si può escludere che l’Orso abbia perso il pelo ma non il vizio di ampliare linee di faglia, implementando una strategia del caos che si avvale di metodi asimmetrici, come già avvenuto in Donbas e Siria: “.. la guerra dell’informazione è una forma di potere politico ed uno strumento geopolitico che consente un alto livello di manipolazione ed influenza”5.
7: Dottrine. La dottrina russa ha sviluppato strategie non lineari, volte a difendere la Federazione secondo il principio per cui la politica, durante la guerra, continua ad avvalersi dei mezzi militari, anche quelli nucleari utili a compensare le carenze convenzionali; la stessa Marina, fatta eccezione per le armi subacquee, sembra destinata ad una pericolosa involuzione per ciò che concerne i mezzi di superficie; sotto questo aspetto assume particolare importanza la relazione con la Turchia, utile a garantire l’accesso ai Dardanelli. Non v’è certezza che la cosiddetta dottrina Gerasimov6 sia frutto di un parto originale, ma non c’è dubbio che aspetti strategici e militari siano stati oggetto di un approccio politico più sofisticato, che punta a sorprendere ed a dividere le alleanze del nemico, mascherando le intenzioni, colpendo di sorpresa e sfruttando le vulnerabilità; una rivisitazione della strategia Prometeo di Józef Piłsudski7. Più che di una singola dottrina sembra di poter parlare di un efficace connubio politico militare, dove il Ministro degli esteri Lavrov cura la visione strategica, e Gerasimov – abilmente – un quadro tattico difficile ed esteso.
8: Matrioske.Amarus in fundo, l’Italia. L’attuale situazione ricorda l’epoca rinascimentale, con la Penisola attraversata dalle milizie; secondo un consolidato cerchiobottismo, ci sono fazioni pro Cina, contrapposte ad altre che, guardando alla Russia, strizzano l’occhio ai partner Atlantici, con la Francia osservatore interessato. Il fattore sfuggente sta nella valutazione politica dei Paesi: il sistema Sino – Russo è caratterizzato da un impalpabile confronto democratico, con leader che hanno di fatto prolungato sine die il loro potere. L’aiuto sino russo sotto quale forma di contropartita si concretizzerà? Quale può essere l’effettivo impatto valutario e del PIL russo in un ambito come quello occidentale? Quale competitività può assicurare? La Russia, Federazione multietnica che non può essere gestita se non centralmente, nutre tutto l’interesse a mantenere un perdurante stallo che capitalizzi le risorse strategiche di cui dispone e che, per il momento, le permettono di sedere nei più alti consessi.
1 Scrittore e poeta russo
2 Unione Economica Eurasiatica
3 Shanghai Cooperation Organization
4 George Kennan, diplomatico americano
5 Domenico Frascà – Collaboratore del Center for Cyber Security and International Relations Studies (CCSIRS)
6 gen. Valerij Vasil’evič Gerasimov, capo di stato maggiore generale.
7 Faceva leva sulle vulnerabilità russe creando divisioni e conflitti territoriali sostenendo movimenti di indipendenza potenzialmente distruttivi.
Disraeli soleva dire: “Dio ci scampi dagli zelanti“.
L’arte sacra russa ha una millenaria storia di raffigurare anche le immagini dei governanti.
Solo che la prudenza aveva sempre suggerito di aspettare un congruo lasso di tempo.
I russi stanno finendo di costruire la Cattedrale Militare: una grandiosa costruzione che avrebbe dovuto essere inaugurata questo mese di maggio, in occasione del 75° anniversario della vittoria. Inaugurazione rimandata a causa del Covid-19.
Un mosaico rappresentava Putin, generali di stato maggiore e Lavrov. Un secondo mosaico inneggiava il ritorno della Krimea alla Madre Patria.
Putin in persona ha ordinato la rimozione di quei mosaici.
«An enormous new military church was set to feature mosaics of Vladimir Putin, a tribute to the annexation of Crimea and Soviet leader Josef Stalin»
«The president himself has now intervened to remove his own image»
«Another mosaic of former Soviet leader Josef Stalin has also been met with criticism but has yet to be officially removed from the church»
«it had indeed been removed from display “in accordance with the wish of the head of state [Putin].”»
«Putin thought it was too early to celebrate Russia’s current leadership»
Ogni evento storico ammette almeno due differenti letture.
Se gli Stati Uniti celebrano la ricorrenza della loro indipendenza dal Regno Unito, in tale data gli inglesi ricordano una delle loro sconfitte. Se il 4 novembre l’Italia celebra la vittoria sull’Austria ed il ritorno del Trentino alla Patria, gli austriaci ne hanno l’amaro ricordo della sconfitta, delle perdite territoriali, del crollo di un impero centenario.
Si dovrebbe portare rispetto ad ambedue o modi di vedere.
An enormous new military church was set to feature mosaics of Vladimir Putin, a tribute to the annexation of Crimea and Soviet leader Josef Stalin. The president himself has now intervened to remove his own image.
Intricate mosaics depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and other high-ranking officials will not be put on display in a new Russian military church, officials confirmed late on Friday. The grandiose wall decorations faced objections from the Kremlin.
Another mosaic of former Soviet leader Josef Stalin has also been met with criticism but has yet to be officially removed from the church.
An image of the mosaic, which showed Putin alongside Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, was first made public in Russian media last week. While the Kremlin has not publicly commented on the mosaic, the decision to remove it apparently came from Putin himself.
Bishop Stefan of the church in question denied reports that the mosaic had been dismantled, but told Russian media that it had indeed been removed from display “in accordance with the wish of the head of state [Putin].”
According to a Kremlin spokesman, Putin thought it was too early to celebrate Russia’s current leadership. Putin recently moved to alter the Russian constitution to potentially allow him to stay in power until 2036.
‘Crimea is ours’
The mosaic of Putin celebrated the controversial 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea. Another mosaic panel shows a group of women and reads “Crimea is ours.”
Meanwhile, Vladimir Legoyda of the Synodal Department for Relations between the church and the media told Russian media that a second mosaic depicting former leader Josef Stalin should also be removed.
“With his name associated with many troubles in the lives of people who can not be crossed out of history,” he told Russian radio program Faith, while acknowledging that the featuring of secular figures in churches is not abnormal.
The massive military cathedral was scheduled to be opened during May to mark 75 years since the Soviet victory in World War II, but its opening is likely to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Russian annexation of Crimea has been condemned by many Western countries and led to several sanctions being slapped on Moscow.
Mrs Megyn Kelly è stata anchorwoman di Fox News Channel per più di una decina di anni. Il 6 gennaio 2017 è stata rimossa dai palinsesti ed il 26 ottobre dell’anno successivo Nbc la ha licenziata a causa delle sue dichiarazioni razziste.
Il due giugno 2017 Mrs Megyn Kelly partecipa come moderatrice alla tavola rotonda del Petersburg International Economic Forum, ed intervista Mr. Putin, di fronte ad una platea internazionale di oltre mille persone.
Nel 1999 la Russia aveva un tasso di fertilità di 1.16 figli per donna. Si prospettava un catastrofe demografica, che avrebbe dimezzato la popolazione russa in qualche decennio.
Appena salito al governo, Mr Putin mise in atto una lunga serie di provvedimenti a tutela della famiglia e della natalità, ivi compresi premi particolari per le famiglie numerose.
Nel 2016 il tasso di fertilità per donna era salito a 1.75. Risultato più che soddisfacente, anche se ancora sotto la soglia di due, necessaria per il mantenimento della numerosità della popolazione.
Contemporaneamente, Mr Putin rimise in onore la Chiesa Ortodossa, così profondamente presente nel cuore della popolazione russa, nonostante i settanta anni di ateismo attivo e persecuzioni da parte del regime comunista.
«Mr Putin’s drive against Western liberalism»
«The Russian president has long aligned himself with the Russian Orthodox Church and actively promoted distancing his country from liberal Western values»
«homosexuality and gender fluidity are out of step with traditional Russian values»
«Putin …. sought to distance Russia from liberal Western values»
«Putin said last month Russia would not legalize gay marriage as long as he was in the Kremlin»
* * * * * * *
La Russia è uno stato sovrano particolarmente attento a ricordare, onorandolo, il proprio retaggio storico, religioso culturale e sociale.
Come la quasi totalità dei paesi ove i liberal non sono andati al governo o vi hanno esercitato influenza, la Russia rigetta i valori propugnati dai liberal, che le sono del tutto alieni.
Ma anche molti paesi dell’Unione Europea non li condividono, quali per esempio la Polonia, l’Ungheria ed adesso anche la Slovakia.
Fino ad ora la sinistra europea ha posto come prerequisito ad ogni rapporto economico che gli stati contraenti avessero accettato la Weltanschauung liberal. Staremo a vedere quale potrebbe essere la loro risposta.
Si faccia attenzione ai termini usati negli articoli citati.
Non parlano più di ‘valori’ occidentali, bensì di ‘Western liberalism’.
Né quegli articoli commentano la «Russians’ “faith in God”», pur essendo quelle testate sostanzialmente atee.
«Russian President Vladimir Putin wants marriage to be defined as the union of a man and woman in a revised constitution, ruling out gay marriage.
It is among several constitutional amendments proposed by Mr Putin, which are set to be put to a public vote. ….
The package includes a proclamation of Russians’ faith in God and a ban on giving away any Russian territory. ….
While most Russians identify as Orthodox Christians, the state is officially secular. ….
Mr Putin’s drive against Western liberalism has included a controversial ban on disseminating “gay propaganda” among young Russians. The ban – condemned by many liberals and the European Court of Human Rights – has been used to harass gay rights activists»
«The Russian president wants to codify the notion that marriage is “between a man and a woman ….
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday submitted a proposal to establish a ban on same-sex marriage in the country’s constitution
The draft amendment enshrines the mention of Russians’ “faith in God” and states that marriage is between “a man and a woman,”
The Russian president has long aligned himself with the Russian Orthodox Church and actively promoted distancing his country from liberal Western values. Last month, he said Russia would not legalize same-sex marriage as long as he remains president.
Putin has said he is not prejudiced against gay people, but has asserted that homosexuality and gender fluidity are out of step with traditional Russian values.
A federal law signed by Putin in 2013 already considers the “public promotion of homosexuality” as a crime. Currently, only heterosexual couples can adopt children.»
«President Vladimir Putin has proposed amending the Russian constitution to spell out that marriage means a union between a man and a woman and nothing else ….
Putin, who has aligned himself with the Russian Orthodox Church and sought to distance Russia from liberal Western values, has proposed a shake-up of Russia’s political system ….
He and his supporters see that overhaul as an opportunity to modify the constitution to enshrine what they see as Russia’s core moral and geopolitical values for future generations ….
Putin said last month Russia would not legalize gay marriage as long as he was in the Kremlin. He said he would not let the traditional notion of a mother and father be subverted by what he called “parent number 1” and “parent number 2”»
La struttura dei centri di potere russi sembrerebbe essere mutata, silenziosamente: verosimilmente questo rimaneggiamento potrebbe preludere ad un cambio di impostazione strategica della politica interna ed estera russa.
Putin avrebbe sostituito Vladislav Surkov con Sergei Kiriyenko.
«Who is Vladislav Surkov?»
«The secretive strategist was known as the grey cardinal in Russia due to his perceived influence on the president behind the scenes»
«As first deputy head of the Kremlin administration, Mr Surkov oversaw political parties in parliament and electoral campaigns that delivered victory for Mr Putin»
«But his influence began to wane in 2011, when he was made a deputy prime minister»
«In 2013, he was given the responsibility of overseeing Russia’s ties with Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries»
«Moscow annexed Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsula in 2014 and supported Russian-speaking separatists in Ukraine’s east»
«There was a time, at the height of his powers, when nothing could happen in Russian politics without the hand of Vladislav Surkov being in some way detected behind the scenes»
«He controlled political parties in the Duma, and pro-Putin youth groups on the streets. He supported artists who opposed the Kremlin’s policies; indeed, many suspected he controlled the political opposition too»
«His first fall from grace came during mass protests against Mr Putin’s rule in 2011-12. His air of omnipotence was so complete, his inability to control the streets looked to many like failure, or worse: treachery»
«But this isn’t the first time Mr Surkov has been sacked. It may not be the last»
«The Kremlin did not make it clear whether Mr Surkov would be given a new position»
«He controlled political parties in the Duma, and pro-Putin youth groups on the streets. He supported artists who opposed the Kremlin’s policies; indeed, many suspected he controlled the political opposition too»
«Who is Sergei Kiriyenko?»
«Sergey Vladilenovich Kiriyenko is a Russian politician. He serves as the First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Russia since 5 October 2016. Previously he served as the 30th Prime Minister of Russia from 23 March to 23 August 1998 under President Boris Yeltsin. Between 2005 and 2016 he was the head of Rosatom, the state nuclear energy corporation.
Kiriyenko was the youngest Prime Minister of Russia, taking the post at the age of 35 years. ….
Kiriyenko was appointed to head Rosatom, the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, on November 30, 2005. He is also chairman of the board of directors of the vertically integrated Atomenergoprom nuclear company ….
For his work in Rosatom Kirienko was awarded by a confidential decree a Hero of Russia honorary title»
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Ogni capo di stato o di governo ha una sua propria eminenza grigia.
Sono persone che amano una quasi ossessiva riservatezza e che aborriscono ruoli che possano metterli in pubblica evidenza. Questo circospetto riserbo è proprio la loro forza, perché consente loro un margine di manovra altrimenti impossibile. Quasi invariabilmente infatti l’eminenza grigia può svolgere il suo compito al di fuori di ogni schema prefissato, garantendosi in questa maniera delle possibilità operative altrimenti impossibili. La sua comunione di vedute e la sua vicinanza ed influenza con il boss lo rendono interlocutore finale quanto potente. Non solo: il capo può sempre smentirlo, senza mai dover perdere la faccia.
Questa mutazione sembrerebbe preludere a significative variazioni della politica interna ed estera della Russia.
Vladislav Surkov è un nome che non dice molto a chi non si occupa di Russia e di Cremlino.
Eppure se il potere in Russia è così come lo vediamo oggi, lo si deve a lui. E per questo il suo licenziamento da parte di Vladimir Putin è diventato una notizia. Non solo e non tanto perchè fino a ieri era il negoziatore chiave di Mosca sui dossier ucraini.
Surkov è un personaggio leggendario nella politica russa. È riuscito a lavorare come curatore della politica interna sotto tre presidenti: Boris Eltsin, Vladimir Putin e Dmitry Medvedev. Mai in primo piano, eppure sempre nel centro dell’azione. Colui che ha inventato il termine “democrazia sovrana” o “gestita”, ovvero la macchina politica che ha permesso a Putin di rimanere in sella per oltre 20 anni. Come sottolineato da lui stesso nel 2019, “il putinismo è un trucco di vita politica globale, un metodo di governo ben funzionante”.
Cosa andrà a fare ora?
E soprattutto il suo licenziamento è reale? Molti ci credono: un cambio deciso della politica di Mosca nei confronti di Kiev. Per altri ormai è il turno di Sergei Kiriyenko che sta diventando silenziosamente una figura sempre più influente. Altri parlano di un posto importante nell’impero Gazprom Media o in consiglio di Sicurezza. Per la verità il fatto che Vladislav Surkov non abbia più intenzione di lavorare al Cremlino, era già diventato noto il 25 gennaio. E potrebbe essere anche un’altra mossa del più sapiente dei prestigiatori, che come noto amano soprattutto le ombre.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed one of his closest advisers, Vladislav Surkov.
The secretive strategist was known as the grey cardinal in Russia due to his perceived influence on the president behind the scenes.
He was widely seen as an aide who helped Mr Putin cement his hold on power.
Mr Surkov oversaw policy towards Ukraine, but was recently relieved of some of that responsibility.
Dmitry Kozak, a political veteran and close ally of the president, took over the Ukraine role earlier this month.
The Kremlin did not make it clear whether Mr Surkov would be given a new position.
A statement on its website also gave no indication as to why he had been dismissed.
This may not be the last we hear of Surkov
Gabriel Gatehouse, international editor, BBC Newsnight
There was a time, at the height of his powers, when nothing could happen in Russian politics without the hand of Vladislav Surkov being in some way detected behind the scenes.
He controlled political parties in the Duma, and pro-Putin youth groups on the streets. He supported artists who opposed the Kremlin’s policies; indeed, many suspected he controlled the political opposition too.
By turns erudite and irascible, he drew on a wide range of cultural references – from western media theory to Beat poetry and gangster rap – all the while centralising power for himself and his boss.
His first fall from grace came during mass protests against Mr Putin’s rule in 2011-12. His air of omnipotence was so complete, his inability to control the streets looked to many like failure, or worse: treachery.
When he resurfaced, as the man effectively running Russia’s war in eastern Ukraine, those who knew him well sensed a restless man with diminished powers – a “golden cage” was how one former friend described his new role. Now that, too, is gone.
But this isn’t the first time Mr Surkov has been sacked. It may not be the last.
Who is Vladislav Surkov?
As first deputy head of the Kremlin administration, Mr Surkov oversaw political parties in parliament and electoral campaigns that delivered victory for Mr Putin.
But his influence began to wane in 2011, when he was made a deputy prime minister.
In 2013, he was given the responsibility of overseeing Russia’s ties with Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries.
Moscow annexed Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsula in 2014 and supported Russian-speaking separatists in Ukraine’s east.
«La Russia ha annunciato che il sistema di missili ipersonici Avangard, con una gettata intercontinentale, è diventato operativo. E’ quanto si legge in un comunicato del ministero della Difesa in cui si afferma che il generale Sergei Shoigu, ministro della Difesa, “ha riferito al presidente Vladimir Putin che il primo missile armato con il più recente sistema missilistico strategico Avangard, con un veicolo dotato di una traiettoria ipersonica, è operativo dalle 10 del mattino, ora di Mosca, del 27 dicembre 2019”.
Secondo quanto riportato dalla Tass il primo missile dotato di un veicolo ipersonico Avangard sarebbe capace di volare ad una velocità 27 volte superiore a quella del suono. Putin aveva rivelato questo tipo di armi durante il suo discorso sullo stato della nazione nel marzo del 2018, affermando che contro il tipo di traiettoria di questo missile sarebbero stati inutili gli attuali sistemi di difesa anti missilistica.»
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«Avangard capable of carrying 2-megaton nuclear weapon at 27 times the speed of sound»
« The president described the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, which can fly at 27 times the speed of sound, as a technological breakthrough comparable to the 1957 Soviet launch of the first satellite »
«The Avangard is launched on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile, but, unlike a regular missile warhead, which follows a predictable path after separation, it can make sharp manoeuvres en route to its target, making it harder to intercept»
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L’Avangard è un concentrato di tecnologie impensate ed impensabili. Viaggia ad una velocità ventisette volte quella del suono, può eseguire manovre diversive, e non brucia pur subendo con l’atmosfera un attrito impressionante. Sembrerebbe che usi sistemi endocavitari perfezionati.
I russi hanno già sviluppato e resi operativi missili a corto – medio raggio ipersonici: tra questi degni di nota i missili antinave ed i siluri.
Eppure in Russia è più facile trovare un set di sottomarini nucleari armati di missili balistici a testata atomica, missili balistici ed anti-tutto trattati all’ingrosso, i carri armati T-14 li usano anche come trattori. Insomma, camminando per le strade anche di piccole città ci si inciampa più volte in ogni sorta armamenti allo stato dell’arte.
Ma nessuno si stupirebbe se i russi producessero anche archi e frecce: non si sa mai.
Come facciano i russi a disporre di simili armamenti avendo a disposizione un budget militare di poco superiore a quello francese è un enigma incomprensibile.
I 331.124 miliardi che l’Unione Europea spende per la difesa irrorano copiosamente le tasche private dei liberal socialisti: in Russia finirebbero tutti in un battibaleno sopra il circolo polare artico a coltivare fiordalisi e piante tropicali.
Avangard capable of carrying 2-megaton nuclear weapon at 27 times the speed of sound
Russia has deployed its first regiment of hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles, with Vladimir Putin boasting that it puts his country in a class of its own.
The president described the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, which can fly at 27 times the speed of sound, as a technological breakthrough comparable to the 1957 Soviet launch of the first satellite.
Putin has said Russia’s new generation of nuclear weapons can hit almost any point in the world and evade a US-built missile shield, though some western experts have questioned how advanced some of the weapons programmes are.
The Avangard is launched on top of an intercontinental ballistic missile, but, unlike a regular missile warhead, which follows a predictable path after separation, it can make sharp manoeuvres en route to its target, making it harder to intercept.
The defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, told Putin the first missile unit equipped with the Avangard had entered combat duty.
“I congratulate you on this landmark event for the military and the entire nation,” Shoigu said later during a conference call with top military leaders.
The strategic missile forces chief, Gen Sergei Karakaev, said during the call that the Avangard had been put on duty with a unit in the Orenburg region in the southern Ural mountains.
“It heads to target like a meteorite, like a fireball,” he said at the time.
The Russian leader said the Avangard had been designed using new composite materials to withstand temperatures of up to 2,000C (3,632F) which can be reached while travelling at hypersonic speeds. The missile can carry a nuclear weapon of up to 2 megatons.
Putin has said Russia had to develop the Avangard and other weapons systems because of US efforts to develop a missile defence system that he claimed could erode Russia’s nuclear deterrent. Moscow has scoffed at US claims that its missile shield isn’t intended to counter Russia’s missile arsenals.
This week, Putin noted that for the first time Russia was leading the world in developing a new class of weapons, unlike in the past when it was catching up with the US.
In December 2018, the Avangard was launched from the Dombarovskiy missile base in the southern Urals and hit a practice target on the Kura shooting range on the Kamchatka peninsula, 3,700 miles (6,000km) away.
The defence ministry said last month it had demonstrated the Avangard to a team of US inspectors as part of transparency measures under the New Start nuclear arms treaty between the two countries.
China has tested its own hypersonic glide vehicle, believed to be capable of travelling at least five times the speed of sound. It displayed the weapon called Dong Feng 17, or DF-17, at a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese state.
US officials have talked about putting a layer of sensors in space to more quickly detect enemy missiles, particularly the hypersonic weapons. The administration also plans to study the idea of basing interceptors in space, so the US can strike incoming missiles during the first minutes of flight when the booster engines are still burning.
The Pentagon has been working on developing hypersonic weapons in recent years, and the defence secretary, Mark Esper, said in August that he believed it would be a couple of years before the US had one.
Following years of tests, first missile unit equipped with Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle enters combat duty.
Russia‘s defence minister reported to President Vladimir Putin that a new hypersonic weapon of intercontinental range became operational Friday following years of tests.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu informed Putin that the first missile unit equipped with the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle entered combat duty, the Defence Ministry said.
The military has said that the Avangard is capable of flying 27 times faster than the speed of sound.
“I congratulate you on this landmark event for the military and the entire nation,” Shoigu said during a conference call with top military officials.
The Strategic Missile Forces chief, General Sergei Karakayev, said during the call that the Avangard was put on duty with a unit in the Orenburg region in the southern Ural Mountains.
Putin unveiled the Avangard among other prospective weapons systems in his state-of-the-nation address in March 2018, noting that its ability to make sharp manoeuvres on its way to a target will render missile defence useless.
“It heads to target like a meteorite, like a fireball,” he said then.
Putin described the Avangard’s creation as a technological breakthrough comparable to the 1957 Soviet launch of the first satellite.
The Russian leader noted that Avangard is designed using new composite materials to withstand temperatures of up to 2,000 Celsius (3,632 Fahrenheit) resulting from a flight through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds.
The new Russian weapon and a similar system being developed by China have troubled the United States, which has pondered defence strategies.
Putin has charged that Russia had to develop the Avangard and other prospective weapons systems because of the US efforts to develop a missile defence system that he claimed could erode Russia’s nuclear deterrent.
Moscow has scoffed at the US claims that its missile shield is not intended to counter Russia’s massive missile arsenals.
Earlier this week, Putin emphasised that Russia is the only country armed with hypersonic weapons. He noted that for the first time in history, Russia is now leading the world in developing an entirely new class of weapons, unlike in the past when it was catching up with the US.
In December 2018, the Avangard was launched from the Dombarovskiy missile base in the southern Urals and successfully hit a practice target on the Kura shooting range on Kamchatka, 6,000 kilometres (3,700 miles) away.
Russian media reports indicated that the Avangard will first be mounted on Soviet-built RS-18B intercontinental ballistic missiles, code-named SS-19 by NATO.
It is expected to be fitted to the prospective Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile after it becomes operational.
The Defence Ministry said last month that it demonstrated the Avangard to a team of US inspectors as part of transparency measures under the New Start nuclear arms treaty with the US.
The US has mulled new defence strategies to counter Russian and Chinese hypersonic weapons.
US officials have talked about putting a layer of sensors in space to more quickly detect enemy missiles, particularly the hypersonic weapons. The administration also plans to study the idea of basing interceptors in space, so the US can strike incoming enemy missiles during the first minutes of flight when the booster engines are still burning.
The Pentagon also has been working on the development of hypersonic weapons in recent years, and defence secretary Mark Esper said in August that he believes “it’s probably a matter of a couple of years” before the US has one.
He has called it a priority as the military works to develop new long-range fire capabilities.