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Why Moscow Is Nervous Before Peace Forum

Why Moscow Is Nervous Before Peace Forum
Vitaly Portnikov

Russia is afraid of diplomatic defeat.

On the air of the Radio Liberty, the Roads to Freedom show, I and the participants of the discussion — diplomat Volodymyr Yelchenko and political scientist Volodymyr Fesenko — concluded that the very formula "formula for peace" in Switzerland resembles the idea of the "Crimean Platform", the first summit of which was held in Kyiv on the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's independence, a few months before the "big" war between Russia and Ukraine.

At that time, the Crimean Platform was treated primarily as a meeting of politicians and diplomats, which was supposed to demonstrate support for international law and the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The summit participants spoke primarily about political steps related to the need to restore this territorial integrity. By and large, this did not threaten the interests of Russia. Nevertheless, the holding of the Crimean Platform summit caused obvious nervousness in Moscow. The hostile nature of the meeting, the encroachments on the territorial integrity of Russia were discussed in the Kremlin, in the Russian Foreign Ministry, and propaganda TV shows. And why?

The Russian leadership seems to be convinced that issues that relate to Russian interests simply cannot be discussed without official representatives of Russia. Even when it comes to occupation and annexation, it is necessary to talk to Russia. It is inconceivable for an international conference to talk about Crimea or Russian-Ukrainian relations without Russian representatives. Therefore, holding the summit of the Crimean Platform — even if as a diplomatic event — turned out to be a real challenge for Moscow.

"These events like the Crimean Platform, of course, are not real politics. We all understand that all this is artificial, ideas that are embodied in such performances, " said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. It would seem, if this is just a play, why do you react, comment, get nervous? But because you can't help but notice your diplomatic defeat. That is why Russian representatives before each summit of the Crimean Platform tried to prevent its holding, demanded that politicians from a number of countries refrain from participation, threatened to qualify this participation as a statement of non-recognition of Russian borders by one or another country and deterioration of relations...

Approximately the same thing happens before the Swiss Peace Forum. Without Russia, it would also be like the Crimean platform but larger. Everyone understands perfectly well that the war cannot be finished without Moscow. That at the forum one can only indicate support for Ukraine and state respect for international law and the need to restore the territorial integrity of the country – that is, these are almost the same theses as at the meetings of the Crimean Platform.

But in Moscow, for some reason, they are nervous again. And they are not just nervous, but they are trying to enlist support even before the summit. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov flew to Beijing – and after that, Chinese politicians and diplomats began to talk about the need for an "alternative conference" with the participation of Russia and Ukraine, that Beijing could offer a platform for such a meeting, that there was no need to "add fuel to the fire". Moscow understood these theses, of course. It is no coincidence that Sergey Lavrov, before his visit to the PRC, once again praised the so-called Chinese Peace Plan.

Why? Because this time Russia, I am sure, is afraid of a diplomatic defeat and understands that the very discussion about the war without its representatives turns it into a country on the margins of big politics. And no mockery of Ukraine and Ukrainians, no occupation of Crimea and other Ukrainian lands, this stay on the outskirts, does not seem to compensate.

Vitaly Portnikov, Krym.Realii

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