When Lavrov Was Right 169

When NATO forces attacked Serbia in 1999, killing many civilians, in order to establish the current disastrous mafia statelet of Kosovo, Sergei Lavrov spoke very wisely at the Security Council.  He said:

              Attempts to justify strikes as preventing humanitarian catastrophe were not recognized by international law, he said.  The use of unilateral force would lead to a situation with devastating humanitarian consequences.  No considerations of any kind could serve to justify aggression.  Violations of  law could only be combated on the solid basis of the law.

Attempts to apply other standards to international law and disregard other laws created a dangerous precedent, he said.  The virus of a unilateral approach could spread… the Council alone should decide the means to maintain or restore international security.  NATO’s attempt to enter the twenty-first century in the uniform of an international gendarme set a dangerous precedent.

He was of course absolutely right.  Liberal interventionism and the right to protect were extremely foolish and dangerous doctrines.  When propagated by useful idiots, even at their most high-minded they were never more that a repetition of the old imperialist “civilizing mission” of military attack to eradicate barbarous practices.  In fact they were brutally utilized as an excuse for resource grab and personal enrichment.

The Robert Coopers of this world have been hoist with their own petard, because it was always inevitable that others would use the same excuse in areas where they had power, to do what the US and its satellites were doing where they could.  If you promulgate that might is right, you cannot complain when someone punches you.

But that does not make Russia’s actions in the Ukraine right – rather it makes Lavrov a complete hypocrite.  As Lavrov said to the Security Council,  “the Council alone should decide the means to maintain or restore international security”, and the security council voted by 13 to 1 against the Crimea referendum.  It is beyond argument that the man is massively hypocritical.

The truth is that the western powers and Russia are both vicious in the field of foreign relations and have little real care for ordinary people and their rights. Russian actions in military occupation of Crimea (far beyond keeping an agreed number of troops stationed in agreed bases) are indeed illegitimate and illegal.

Let me add two more hypocrisies in the Russian position.  It is an offence carrying up to 22 years in jail to advocate the secession of any part of Russia.  There is no sign of any referendum on self-determination for the people of Chechnya and Dagestan.  I do not believe that in a genuinely democratic vote, there is any political proposition which would ever get 97% of the vote.  You couldn’t get 97% of any group of people to vote for free ice cream.  Interestingly enough, Putin is claiming in the Crimea precisely the same percentage – 97% – that Hitler claimed in his Plebiscite in Austria to ratify the Anschluss.

The other thing I thought wonderfully ironic is that I saw two representatives of the “international observer group” on Russia Today this morning, one Polish and one Hungarian, and both were from fully paid up genuine fascist organisations.  The Hungarian has been saying it is most unfortunate that the BNP couldn’t make it.

For the other side of this coin – western hypocrisy – see here.





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169 thoughts on “When Lavrov Was Right

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  • Herbie


    “I do not believe that in a genuinely democratic vote, there is any political proposition which would ever get 97% of the vote.”

    It’s rather more than a political proposition.

    It’s an existential proposition, which tends to focus the mind.

  • valueplus

    I don’t understand why you are so determined not to mention the fascist influence in the “revolution”. What Russia is doing is following US and EU. The Russians have better reasons. You are also avoiding to talk about the role played by US and EU.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    You are being hypocritical when you act as if doing unto others as they do to you, and turn-about is never fair play in international relations, especially when Western powers use all kinds of manipulation, especially the USA, to get their way at the UN – which is not any kind of democracy, but a vehicle for only the five great powers to work together.

    The Security Council vote on the current crisis in Ukraine was successfully vetoed by Russia, with another great power, China, sitting on the fence, as I recall, to see how it all worked out.

    And Lavrov was certainly doing Putin’s bidding in both cases – what certainly undermines your comparison of him with Hitler.

  • craig Post author


    Deliberately disingenuous and rather pathetic. Lavrov’s point is that to intervene in another country you have to get the approval of the Security Council. Not only have Russia not got that, they have 13 votes actively saying they are acting illegally.

    Your pathetic point is the equivalent of saying that if 13 security council members had voted to condemn the attack on Iraq, and the US vetoed it, the US veto would have made the attack legal.

  • craig Post author


    As I have said repeatedly:

    a) I think Ukrainian membership of the EU is an excellent idea and I look forward to free movement for ordinary Ukrainian people and seeing Ukrainian shops joining the Polish and Lithuanian ones already in Ramsgate

    b) I think the effectiveness of US meddling in Ukraine is vastly overrated by people like you equally as by fantasists like Nuland. I don’t underrate the intent, but I should be fascinated to know by what mechanism you think Nuland mobilized tens of thousands of demonstrators – or do you think they were all a neo-Nazi cadre? I think the presence of far right parties in Ukraine is deplorable, but common to all of Eastern Europe including many of Putin’s allies.

  • Herbie


    “I should be fascinated to know by what mechanism you think Nuland mobilized tens of thousands of demonstrators”

    No one doubts the genuine grievance of ordinary Ukrainians, and that is easily mobilised.

    The neocons are quite expert at it now. Perhaps you haven’t heard of Gene Sharp?

    It’s Gene Sharp with added fascist muscle.

    Anyway, it’s not about what ordinary Ukrainians want, as Baroness Ashton made clear.

    The fascist muscle is quite easily organised primarily because like Al Quaeda they’ve been using them for years, in Chechnya, Dagestan etc.

  • YouKnowMyName

    interestingly, if this ‘invalid’ Crimea referendum had been legally carried out anytime in the last 25 years then the result would have been the same. The fact that the ‘invalid’ Crimea referendum *was* carried out at all is purely blowback in apotheosic response to the $5B US specialised ‘investment’ in poor Ukraine over the same period.

    Living in Europe 13 hours drive from UA, not trusting Putin, I am of the sad opinion that the current Ukrainian debacle is a new shining example of a completely unintended, undesirable consequence of deeply covert operations. Thanks guys!

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    The Western powers never got any UN approval for organizing the coup in Kiev, and Lavrov, working for President Putin, underlined the point when the Russians in Crimea organized its departure from Ukraine.

    And I see no backing down from your wild claims about Putin, especially that he would obviously incapacitate Yushchenko rather than just kill him if he really wanted him dead.

    He would never have gotten where he is if he behaved so stupidly.

    It’s something better suited to MI6, as Sasha learned so bitterly.

  • craig Post author


    Putin tried to kill Yuschenko. Damn near succeeded. Oh of course I forgot, Putin is a God, so he couldn’t have failed in the attempt.

  • Daniel

    I’ve seen these Hungarian black-clad fascists on the streets of Pesc when I was there on holiday a couple of years ago. They are particularly violent thugs and make the BNP seem like choirboys by comparison.

  • Bandolero


    “I don’t underrate the intent, but I should be fascinated to know by what mechanism you think Nuland mobilized tens of thousands of demonstrators – or do you think they were all a neo-Nazi cadre?”

    It’s easy. As you know the region I wonder that you aren’t aware. The western powers orchestrating the fascist coup in Ukraine bought some major soccer clubs in Ukraine with the fans as muscle.

    And Western powers also – as Putin said – did train extremists already years before the coup in Poland and Lithuania – even in handling weapons of war. And of course, to get the desired results of outrage the Western backed opposition also put mercenaries as snipers in place to fire on unarmed policemen and on unarmed protesters.

    That’s the russian view of the events, and as far as I can see, that seems to be largely true. At least the west hides something in regard to the snipers, if not, Ms Ashton would seriously demand an investigation of the sniper issue before promising the main suspects billions of Euros.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Putin would never try to kill anyone, especially Yushchenko, with dioxin, just a chemical compound.

    He would use something more powerful, though not like polonium-210 which was used on Alexandr ‘Sasha’ Litvinenko, but he had no reason to kill the former KGB agent who was trying to blackmail those who had killed statsminister Olof Palme, and those who would listen that former agent UCHITEL aka EU Commissioner and former Italian PM Romano Prodi had worked for the KGB.

    Blaming his murder on Putin was just a case of MI6 and his fellow covert operators taking advantage of Russophobia when it mattered most.

  • Dmitry

    With all due respect, Craig… Whereas I have to accept that you are right on the letter of the law, there is also the spirit. That Crimea should be signed over to Ukraine by a voluntarist former head of Ukraine Communist party never sat well with either Crimeans nor ‘mainland’ Russians. That Yeltsin just gave it up – along with the rest of the USSR – for the sake of unseating Gorbachev was never happily accepted either. Crimea had a similar upsurge in the early 90s. Things were left as they were then just because the whole country was so traumatized and weak. Crimea stayed with Ukraine only until the relations between Kiev and Moscow were palatable.
    Now when Kiev made such a sharp turn westwards Crimea exploded – along with the rest of Russia-leaning eastern and southern Ukraine. This came as a chance for Crimea and Russia to right what they know to have been an historic injustice.
    The presence of troops did not really influence the outcome of the referendum. 95 percent sounds about right, in fact: about 20 percent (prob most Tatars and some ethnic Ukrainians) that did not vote can be assumed to be against rejoining Russia.
    That Ukraine should join the EU is not a bad idea, free travel and all, but is that on the cards any time soon? It’s a ruse. What the association agreement would mean for Ukrainian industry and farming in the short term is a separate issue altogether.
    But Nato making its way into Ukraine is a distinct possibility, hugely – and needlessly – upsetting the geostrategic balance. In fact that does not appear to have been an EU-US plan, they seem to have improvised their response to the developments in Maidan. Moscow, too, has had to think on its feet.
    Faced with this kind of problems Moscow would surely fight back. Accusing Lavrov is fine but he certainly should not be the only one in the dock.

  • Jemand

    I’d vote for free ice cream.

    That important issue aside, what does one do then with a problem like North Korea?

  • GutterTheQuantifier

    People who are surprised that Craig takes such a nonsensical, hypocritical stance on recent events in Ukraine and Crimea should reflect for a moment on the fact that his blog has continued to appear at this address for so long, unaffected by the insurmountable ‘technical’ problems that beset the rest of us when we test the alleged freedom of the internet; and that for the last decade-and-a-bit the establishment has tolerated his publishing all those juicy titbits of damaging information that were leaked to him.

    I remember thinking when I saw Craig address a Stop The War rally in Trafalgar Square in 2001, that he was either being very naive – in which case he would probably be dead within a year, either from ‘suicide’ or from a ‘previously undiagnosed heart condition’ – or else he was actually still working for the establishment but playing a long game.

    It seems my cynicism was warranted.

    This one-man pro-imperialist sleeper cell has now been activated.

    I predict an imminent U-turn on Assange.

  • Gaston

    “I think the presence of far right parties in Ukraine is deplorable, but common to all of Eastern Europe including many of Putin’s allies.” – Really!??

  • mark golding

    Lavrov also said, “If our Western partners say that Kosovo was a special case, we respond to that saying that Crimea is even more special. Crimea is a case that cannot be considered separately from history,”… “For Russia, Crimea means incommensurably more that the Comoro Islands for France and the Falkland Islands for Britain.” [translated]

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!


    “…already years before the coup in Poland and Lithuania…”


    Which coup was that, Bandelero?

    I thought I know Eastern European history rather well, but that one must have eluded my vigilant eye. So do enlighten me. Thanks!

  • ESLO


    While I appreciate the risk that you may wish to portray me as the useful idiot on the other side of the argument which demonstrates what a reasonable man you are taking a position between two extremes, I am not sure that I would go as far as saying that there could never be a case where “liberal interventionism” and the “right to protect” could not be morally if not legally justified. Yes I would prefer if it were all supported in international law, and if the intervention were to be taken on a multilateral basis with a properly defined mandate including what a clear exit plan once the wrong has been righted – but sometimes the law is an ass and just cannot be made to work. If the citizens in Crimea were genuinely under threat of their lives from Ukrainians in the same way as the Kosovans were from the Serbians and atrocities had been committed as in Kosovo, then I might take a different view of Putin’s behaviour in the Crimea – but really the two situations are not the same. I could remind you that genuine liberals such as John Stuart Mill have in their time argued for liberal interventionism within properly defined parameters.

  • Ben

    ” I think Ukrainian membership of the EU is an excellent idea and I look forward to free movement for ordinary Ukrainian people and seeing Ukrainian shops joining the Polish and Lithuanian ones already in Ramsgate”

    Craig; That’s exactly what Yats wants, as well as Yanukovich with all the warts (austerity) included.

    Putin doesn’t. I think we’ve found the gnat in the honey.

  • Ben

    Wasn’t austerity a major bone of contention in the People’s movement?

    Ahh…I digress.

  • Macky

    @Craig, How odd that you suddenly bring up the Yugoslavia example, as only a few days ago you made the astonishing statement that the NATO attack on Yugoslavia passed you by, because you didn’t pay much attention as you were too busy with the Sierra Leone situation.

    Before calling Lavrov a “complete hypocrite”,might it not be prudent to see if any Russian bullets are actually fired to match the NATO bombs dropped on Serbian, and that your “far beyond keeping an agreed number of troops stationed in agreed bases” actually becomes an invasion ?

    One other consideration perhaps to bear in mind when judging Lavrov, the US has always exerted pressure on the weaker members of the UNSC in order to get its way, that power is even greater now than it was in the 1990’s .

  • CanSpeccy

    I should be fascinated to know by what mechanism you think Nuland mobilized tens of thousands of demonstrators

    I thought she was paying them fifty bucks a day, in which case it’s surprising the mobilized only tens of thousands.

  • axel

    The referendum in Crimea, unfortunately, is worth nothing. It would have been a good idea to have a fair referendum. Putin missed the chance.

    In Sevastopol region the number of votes reported was some 474,000. But the number of registered voters was only 383,499. http://www.pravda.com.ua/rus/news/2014/03/17/7019270/

    This is in spite of the tartar boycott of the election. Does it matter? Yes, of course, if you want a fair society where the people themselves are in charge.

  • CanSpeccy

    On a previous thread you said:

    I think it is very probable that, with a proper vote under proper conditions, as you put it – ie a genuine debate with all sides able to put their views and no armed intimidation – Crimea would vote to join Russia.

    So what is the significance of the exact numbers? Maybe only that the people running the referendum are a bit dumb, for even if the “yes” vote was 97% they should have faked it lower so as to avoid comparisons with Hitler’s win in Austria — although Hitler probably was genuinely very popular in Austria at the time of the Anschluss.

    In fact, I’m not so sure the 97% in Crimea was necessarily faked. At times of crisis entire populations can become highly polarized. Heck, even George H.W. Bush had a 90% approval rating at the time of the First Gulf War.

    You also said:

    I also think that would have been a good outcome. See my first post on this subject.

    Except now you don’t think that all’s well that ends well!

    Actually, it would have been better, I think, if the US had not engineered a violent Nazi-backed coup in Kyiv, but had rather left the Ukrainians to work things out for themselves. But once the West mobilized a bunch of murderous Russophobic fascists, it was inevitable that the Russians would resort to rough measures if necessary to protect their interests.

    The coup in Kyiv cannot be viewed in isolation. It was the first step in a long heralded assault on Russia, to be assimilated by the New World Order, slice by slice, prior to the take-down of China.

    But I certainly do not think that result would have brought a 97per cent majority – exactly Hitler’s plebiscite in Austria – in a region where abut 40% of the population is not Russian. I am amazed that none of the Putinistas exhibit no shame at the 97% claim.

  • axel

    CanSpeccy wrote: “In fact, I’m not so sure the 97% in Crimea was necessarily faked.”

    You must be joking? The secrecy of voting was broken by casting your vote in a see-through ballot box and without an envelope. I believe that you would object to that kind of vote in the UK. Rightly so.

    As you know, a large part of the electorate boycotted the referendum: the Tartar community, first of all. A number of the Ukrainian-speaking also did not take part, out of fear perhaps.

    Whatever the result: it does not represent what a fair referendum would have shown.

  • mark golding

    CanSpeccy – The collapse of the Soviet Union was considered to have contributed to the prosperity of the US and its global hegemony.

    Disintegration and collapse of China’s current political system is a US vision. I myself believe a plan exists and some Western ’empty suits’ believe that China could be imploded by reviving American economic manufacturing muscle and narrowing her energy supplies.

    Thankfully that plan is beyond it’s ‘sell by’ date.

  • CanSpeccy


    You must be joking.

    Not at all.

    I didn’t say the vote was fair, I said that the 97% “yes” votes was not necessarily faked. You offer an interesting suggestion as to how a 97% “yes” vote may have been genuinely achieved. Of course the 97% is 97% of the votes cast.

  • CanSpeccy

    @ Mark Golding

    Thankfully that plan [for collapsing China’s economy] is beyond it’s ‘sell by’ date.

    Whatever makes you think that? The NeoCon morons, psychopaths and pathetic incompetents will go on bashing away at their plan for global hegemony until they’re all consigned to a looney bin.

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