Borrell’s arrogance in presuming to come to Moscow to lecture on human rights is the real offense. Sergei Lavrov was eminently correct to give this attempt at humiliation short shrift.
As the old saying goes, a week is a long time in politics. Meaning a lot can change in a short span. Last week, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell was in Moscow on what seemed to be a cordial and business-like meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
A week later there are howls in the European Parliament for Borrell to resign and threats of more economic sanctions against Russia. For its part, Moscow is warning that it may break off ties with the European Union if the bloc goes ahead with threats to put the Russian economy at risk.
So what the hell happened? The Kremlin maintains that the meeting between Lavrov and Borrell in Moscow went well; not over-friendly, but nonetheless a useful, frank exchange of views on a range of subjects. From what the cameras showed at a joint press conference, that seemed to be the case.
Yes, at one point Lavrov said in the presser that the EU was acting like an “unreliable partner” which often behaved as if it were the United States in conducting its relations towards Russia instead of being a putative independent bloc. And yes, while Borrell was in Moscow, it was announced by the Kremlin that three diplomats from Germany, Sweden and Poland were being expelled on the grounds that these officials had attended unauthorized protests in support of jailed embezzler Alexei Navalny. That is Russia’s prerogative.
Since Borrell returned there has been a furore in Brussels. Russia is accused of “humiliating” the European Union and its top diplomat. Rightwing parliamentarians especially among the anti-Russian Baltic states are demanding his resignation for being such an alleged wimp who was “played” by Lavrov. Borrell himself seemed to stiffen his attitude after the event, complaining that Russia is not interested in pursuing bilateral relations with the EU and warning that further sanctions may be on the agenda in the near future.
But who is humiliating who? Borrell came to Moscow with the assumption that he was entitled to tell the Russian authorities to immediately release Navalny from prison and to lecture his Russian counterparts about policing of unauthorized public rallies.
The whole Navalny saga smacks of an elaborate provocation orchestrated by Western intelligence agencies and the self-styled anti-corruption activist who claims he was poisoned under the orders of President Vladimir Putin. No evidence has ever been presented for such an outlandish provocative allegation. In any case Navalny is a convicted embezzler who violated parole while skipping to Germany for five months to run his propaganda campaign. His jailing is a matter for the Russian courts.
What gives Borrell or any other Western political figure the right to demand anything off Russia regarding Navalny? How is it they can anoint this professional foreign-sponsored agent provocateur like a saint for human rights?
Borrell’s arrogance in presuming to come to Moscow to lecture on human rights is the real offense. Sergei Lavrov was eminently correct to give this attempt at humiliation short shrift and to let the European representative know that his bloc is “unreliable” in its relentless flip-flopping to appease Washington’s policy of anti-Russia hostility.
The point of “unreliability” is underscored by Borrell’s own subsequent abject behavior. As soon as he returned to Brussels amid heckles from Russophobic parliamentarians, the diplomat quickly changed his tune to appear as if he was being tough on Moscow.
Over a barrel, or rather Borrell, is an apt way to describe the feckless European Union. It is helpless in its appeasement of American imperialism and the latter’s warmongering towards Russia. It is spineless in its appeasement of rabid Russophobes within its own parliament who would prefer to impose vastly more expensive American gas on the rest of Europe instead of an economical Russian supply from Nord Stream 2.
The irrationality of rightwing European politicians and their sycophancy to American imperialism is something to behold. Hardly exaggeration, they would rather start a war in Europe on behalf of the Americans than to coexist peacefully with Russia. They would rather expose populations to coronavirus pandemic due to the EU’s botched vaccine program than to avail of the proven Russian Sputnik V vaccine – such is their anti-Russia mindset. (Dig deeper and historic collaboration, guilt, shame and latent fascist sympathies with Nazi Germany is all part of this perverse pathology.)
Given this pathetic lack of independence and inconsistency, given its effete arrogance and hypocrisy, is it any wonder that Russia views the EU as unreliable? It has every right to say so.
The only wonder is that Russia has appeared to be so tolerant in the face of such insulting European insolence. However, as Lavrov is now intimating, that stoic Russian forbearance may be coming to an end, in which case the Europeans can go and stick their Nord Stream pipeline up their Baltic.
European puppet politicians make a song and dance over the Western stooge Navalny and his regime-change mission while their silence is deafening in the case of Julian Assange who is being tortured in a British dungeon without him even being convicted of anything. Reliable partner? The EU is a “Borrell of laughs”!