For the first time in its history, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Ukraine criticized an interview given by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Let us recall that, while addressing recently the audience of TV program “Vremya Voskresnoe,” the Russian minister reiterated that Ukraine needed to hold a referendum on federalization, grant the Russian language official status, etc.
“Do no lecture other people. You would be served better by making order in your own country, as troubled as it is,” the MFA of Ukraine stressed in its comment.
“Moralizing and ultimatum-like tone of these statements suggests that, true to its aggressive line, Russia does not need any settlement,” the MFA’s statement reads. “Under the muzzles of its rifles, the aggressor demands only one thing: the complete surrender of Ukraine, its division and destruction of Ukrainian statehood.”
Ukrainian diplomats also proposed that “the Russian side, before dictating ultimatums to a sovereign and independent state, pay attention to the disastrous state and complete disempowerment of its own minority ethnicities, including the Ukrainian one.”
The Day asked political analyst of the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation Volodymyr Horbach to assess the MFA of Ukraine’s response to Russia’s statements:
“Finally, Ukraine’s MFA has launched a counterattack in our diplomatic and information war with Russia. Many of the ministry’s recent statements hit sore spots of Russia and its position on Ukraine. The MFA draws attention to similar problems that Russia has within itself. Therefore, it ought not to criticize other countries, for it has not resolved similar domestic problems. Moreover, these issues are much more acute there than in Ukraine. First of all, it concerns minority ethnicities, since Russia has a lot of autonomous ethnic republics, many languages have been granted the official status etc.
It is important that the MFA emphasizes the position of the Ukrainian minority in Russia. They could have started it earlier, but now is not too late either, as Russia’s standing on the world stage has been seriously weakened after many hearings on the Ukrainian issue held by the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly. Now is a good time to counterattack, and the MFA was right to make this statement when it did.
Russian style is based on substitution of notions. Not only do they substitute them in relations with Ukraine, but they also try to substitute them in shaping the agenda around the world. Now Russia is trying to re-format the problem facing the Western world ‘What to do about Russia?’ They are trying to impose on the West another problem, ‘What to do about Ukraine?’, as they propose federalization, making Russian the second state language, entrenching neutral or non-aligned status in the constitution, etc.
The Russian Federation uses substitution of notions to divert their Western partners from thinking about what to do with aggression of Russia in Crimea, its occupation and the Anschluss. It is more than that – the Russians construct a fictional reality via media and diplomatic means, and then grow to believe in it themselves.
Now the Russians are trying to impose on the West the format which will allow them to get out of the Crimean crisis and save face. But the problem is that there is no way out of the reality in which Russia exists without loss of face for it or for the West.”