How to Read Lavrov Between the Lines

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Friend – Live Journal

Lavrov statements once again scared the Russian bloggers/LiveJournal political scientists. Blogger ‘Friend ‘dissects Lavrov’s statements to calm their fears. 

People who periodically confuse TV series “Home 2” with the war in Donbass, send texts for Strelkov/Gubarev, and demand to bring in troops to the TNT channel, – are particularly paranoid. Their paranoia progresses so quickly that in no time they will be mortified by just the word “Ukraine,” in response reciting: “Putiiin Duuumped, La-La-La-La-La-La! Putiiin Duuumped, La-La-La-La-La-La”.

A special case of such a fright we discuss below. But honestly, we would not be commenting on it, if in addition to words which caused panic among LiveJournal ‘political scientists’, there would not be very important and fundamental statements.

If you are really concerned about one issue or another, always start with a review of the primary sources of information. The transcript of the interview of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to “France 24” can be found here.

We highlight a few things that caused some noise and have essential implications.


Question: Is the President of Ukraine a reliable partner?

Lavrov: P. A. Poroshenko is the best chance that Ukraine has at the present.

Question: Do you not trust P. A. Poroshenko and his following?

Lavrov: I can’t say that we have any difficulties in contacts with the Ukrainian President P. A. Poroshenko, at least at the level of the leaders of the two countries. There is a regular dialogue. I am in contact with my counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine P. A. Klimkin. I believe that we have established a close business relationship. Most important for the Ukrainian government – to understand that it is their country and their obligations, that there is no need to waste time on the power struggle that is taking place now in Kiev, but to begin reforms, including constitutional and everything that they themselves promised and pledged to do. The constitutional process should be transparent and inclusive, involving all regions and political forces. This was stated in a festive ceremony in Geneva during the meeting of representatives of the European Union, USA, Russia and Ukraine on April 17, when a corresponding statement was adopted. But we still don’t see any real effort to begin a constitutional reform. Until this problem is solved, we will continue to deal with various problems, because the constitutional issue is a systemic problem in Ukraine. They urgently need to solve it.

Lavrov did not respond to the question “whether the President of Ukraine is a reliable partner?” and says that Poroshenko is the best chance for a modern Ukraine (probably better then Yatsenyuk-Kolomoisky?) Here it is completely unclear, “the best chance” for what? For the collapse of the country, for the defeat of Ukraine in Donbass and Novorossia as a whole, to discredit the ideas of European integration, or something else…

The main point is made after. Please note that Lavrov says exactly what Russian officials claimed since spring – we need an inclusive constitutional process, involving all regions and political forces. In Donbass there are political forces, such as DPR and LPR official representatives of which should participate in the constitutional process. And may be! May be! They will not agree, but until it is finally revealed, a full statehood will be built. As it was built in Transnistria, in the course of negotiations with Moldova.


Question: Does this mean a certain degree of autonomy for the Donetsk and Lugansk regions?

Lavrov: This is to be decided by Ukrainians themselves. We do not suggest federalization or autonomy. By the way, the word “autonomy” or “decentralization” was used by French President Francois Hollande, about autonomy spoke the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy F. Mogherini. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry once asked me why they can not provide a “limited autonomy”. Well, English has many synonyms, but it is not the words, that are important, but the essence. As promised, the Ukrainians themselves from all the regions and from all political parties should be delegated to meet and discuss how these regions would like to elect their leaders, to agree on the system of distribution of taxes between central and local authorities, which language is preferred for a particular region, what holidays they want to celebrate. For example, birthdays of Nazi collaborators Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych, which are now proposed to be made official holidays of Ukraine. I do not think that in the East of the country they will be celebrated. Unfortunately, I do not think that in the West of Ukraine they will celebrate the Day of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. That is, they need to agree on what holidays they will have in the country. This is a very important psychological moment. And until the systemic problem of the constitution is resolved, every day they will have to face more and more difficulties.

Federalization – is it a linguistic fetish or a particular political result? Lavrov fully articulated the whole agenda for federalization:

a) Self-determination of regions in terms of language and general cultural and educational policy (the subject of holidays – this is a huge cultural-educational complex of issues). Everyone understands what the issue about different languages and different holidays (holidays directly antagonistic to each other) means?

b) Governors’ Elections

c) Economic autonomy (tax redistribution in favor of the regions)

The main thing here is this: “Ukrainians themselves from all the regions and from all political parties should be delegated to meet and discuss how these regions would like to…”. That is, we again return to the question of inclusive constitutional process, in which on behalf of Donbass in the negotiations will take part the representatives from DPR and LPR. And imagine what if they don’t agree with Kiev and Lvov. Moreover, if you launch such a reconstruction of Ukraine, then you might find out, that Kharkov cannot agree with Kiev and Lvov, and Odessa may not agree with Kiev and Lvov. Finally, Kiev and Lvov may not agree among themselves. Not agree themselves, you know? And thus, there will be no more Ukraine in the old boundaries. And what boundaries it will be in – “It’s up to Ukrainians themselves”. Similarly, as Crimea returned back to Russia not because it was demanded by the Russian imperialist power, but because the residents of Crimea wanted it themselves, is that clear?

We shall not tire of repeating again and again, until this is understood by the most ardent patriots, Transnistria throughout its entire history has held talks with Moldova (and does it to this day). During negotiations a full statehood was built in Transnistria (with its own army, economy and everything else), and as a state Transnistria has been more successful than Moldova. Why can’t DPR and LPR follow the same path?

Crimea was not an exception

Lavrov: …After a meeting in Moscow with French President Francois Hollande on December 6, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin during a meeting with media representatives reiterated what he said repeatedly: “Russia supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Question: Definitely?

Lavrov: Definitely.

Question: Even in the regions of the South-East? And there will be no second Crimea?

Lavrov: Crimea is unique, one of a kind. It is a Russian land.

Question: Was it an exception?

Lavrov: It was no exception, it was the will of the people. From the Russian point of view, Ukraine, as we recognize it today is territorially integral, and must be maintained in this form.

We would not even comment on this: “It’s up to the Ukrainians” (c).


Question: Several years ago, Russia and France signed a contract on delivery of “Mistral”…

Lavrov: I must interrupt you. I will not comment on this issue. This is a question of a signed current contract and the dignity of the French nation.

Question: Do you think that France will meet its obligations?

 Lavrov: I have no more comments.

Europe in this story with Ukraine is losing its face. And this is worth more than money.

The European Union

Lavrov: …Unfortunately, for several years we have overestimated the independence of the European Union and even some large European countries. This is geopolitics. Some believe that the sanctions – is some kind of weakness or a sign of irritation, which is not the best quality of a politician. I can assure you that Russia will not only survive, but will become stronger after this. Throughout our history, we were in much more complicated situations, and each time emerged from these troubles much stronger. This will definetly happen.
Sanctions – are a sign of annoyance, and not a serious policy tool. About the latest sanctions package, the adoption of which was voted by the European Union in September, it was announced the following day after the signing of the Minsk Protocol. This is a very interesting logic of stimulation of a political process. The next morning after achieving tremendous progress, which was welcomed by all – the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy said that a new package of sanctions was introduced against Russia. If this is the choice of Europe and its reaction to something positive, then I can say once again that we too overestimated the independence of Europe in the field of foreign policy.

This is a super important part of the interview. If we move away from the agenda of the day, and to analyze Lavrov’s words strategically, then how can we interpret the statement “we have overestimated the independence of the European Union and even some separate large European countries”, made in the context of the fact that the USSR was destroyed under the guise of Russia’s entry into Europe, and all the subsequent twenty years, Russia was prepped for entering Europe? And in 2014 it is fully revealed that Europe is not sovereign and there will be no entry.

This is a fundamental and fatal call, the answer to which can only be a return to itself – the Russian Messianic Empire.

Translated by Krisitna Rus for

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