No room for conflict in this age

21 Jun, 2020 - 00:06 0 Views
No room for conflict in this age

The Sunday Mail

We publish extracts from an article by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the 75th Anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War. Full text available on the Kremlin’s website:


75 years have passed since the end of the Great Patriotic War.

They usually say that the war left a deep imprint on every family’s history.

Behind these words, there are fates of millions of people, their sufferings and the pain of loss. Behind these words, there is also the pride, the truth and the memory.

We have a responsibility to our past and our future to do our utmost to prevent those horrible tragedies from happening ever again.

Hence, I was compelled to come out with an article about World War II and the Great Patriotic War. I have discussed this idea on several occasions with world leaders, and they have showed their support.

The root causes of World War II mainly stem from the decisions made after World War I.

The Treaty of Versailles became a symbol of grave injustice for Germany.

It implied that the country was to be robbed, being forced to pay enormous reparations to the Western allies that drained its economy.

One of the major outcomes of World War I was the establishment of the League of Nations.

There were high expectations for that international organisation to ensure lasting peace and collective security.

It was a progressive idea that, if followed through consistently, could actually prevent the horrors of a global war from happening again.

However, the League of Nations dominated by the victorious powers of France and the United Kingdom proved ineffective and just got swamped by pointless discussions.

The League of Nations and the European continent in general turned a deaf ear to the repeated calls of the Soviet Union to establish an equitable collective security system, and sign an Eastern European pact and a Pacific pact to prevent aggression.

These proposals were disregarded.

World War II did not happen overnight, nor did it start unexpectedly or all of a sudden.

German aggression against Poland was not out of nowhere.

It was the result of a number of tendencies and factors in the world politics of that time.

All pre-war events fell into place to form one fatal chain.

But undoubtedly, the main factors that predetermined the greatest tragedy in the history of mankind were state egoism, cowardice, appeasement of the aggressor who was gaining strength, and unwillingness of political elites to search for compromise.

The Soviet Union and the Red Army, no matter what anyone is trying to prove today, made the main and crucial contribution to the defeat of Nazism.

These were heroes who fought to the end surrounded by the enemy at Bialystok and Mogilev, Uman and Kiev, Vyazma and Kharkov.

They launched attacks near Moscow and Stalingrad, Sevastopol and Odessa, Kursk and Smolensk. They liberated Warsaw, Belgrade, Vienna and Prague. They stormed Koenigsberg and Berlin.

The efforts of all countries and peoples who fought against a common enemy resulted in victory. The British army protected its homeland from invasion, fought the Nazis and their satellites in the Mediterranean and North Africa.

American and British troops liberated Italy and opened the Second Front.

The US dealt powerful and crushing strikes against the aggressor in the Pacific Ocean.

We remember the tremendous sacrifices made by the Chinese people and their great role in defeating Japanese militarists.

Let us not forget the fighters of Fighting France, who did not fall for the shameful capitulation and continued to fight against the Nazis.

We will also always be grateful for the assistance rendered by the allies in providing the Red Army with ammunition, raw materials, food and equipment.

That help was significant – about 7 percent of the total military production of the Soviet Union.

The core of the anti-Hitler Coalition began to take shape immediately after the attack on the Soviet Union where the United States and Britain unconditionally supported it in the fight against Hitler’s Germany.

At the Tehran Conference in 1943, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill formed an alliance of great powers, agreed to elaborate coalition diplomacy and a joint strategy in the fight against a common deadly threat.

The leaders of the Big Three had a clear understanding that the unification of industrial, resource and military capabilities of the USSR, the United States and the UK will give unchallenged supremacy over the enemy.

The Soviet Union fully fulfilled its obligations to its allies and always offered a helping hand.

Thus, the Red Army supported the landing of the Anglo-American troops in Normandy by carrying out a large-scale Operation Bagration in Belorussia.

In January 1945, having broken through to the Oder River, our soldiers put an end to the last powerful offensive of the Wehrmacht on the Western Front in the Ardennes.

Three months after the victory over Germany, the USSR, in full accordance with the Yalta agreements, declared war on Japan and defeated the million-strong Kwantung Army.

The victor powers left us a system that has become the quintessence of the intellectual and political quest of several centuries.

A series of conferences – Tehran, Yalta, San Francisco and Potsdam – laid the foundation of a world that for 75 years had no global war, despite the sharpest contradictions.

Historical revisionism, the manifestations of which we now observe in the West, primarily with regard to the subject of the Second World War and its outcome, is dangerous because it grossly and cynically distorts the understanding of the principles of peaceful development, laid down at the Yalta and San Francisco conferences in 1945.

The major historic achievement of Yalta and other decisions of that time is the agreement to create a mechanism that would allow the leading powers to remain within the framework of diplomacy in resolving their differences.

The 20th century brought large-scale and comprehensive global conflicts, and in 1945, nuclear weapons capable of physically destroying the Earth entered the scene.

In other words, the settlement of disputes by force has become prohibitively dangerous. The victors in the Second World War understood that.

They understood and were aware of their own responsibility towards humanity.

The cautionary tale of the League of Nations was taken into account in 1945.

The structure of the UN Security Council was developed in a way to make peace guarantees as concrete and effective as possible.

That is how the institution of the permanent members of the Security Council and the right of the Veto as their privilege and responsibility came into being.

What is the power of veto in the UN Security Council?

To put it bluntly, it is the only reasonable alternative to a direct confrontation between major countries.

It is a statement by one of the five powers that a decision is unacceptable to it and is contrary to its interests and its ideas about the right approach.

Other countries, even if they do not agree, take this position as a given, abandoning any attempts to realise their unilateral efforts.

It means that in one way or another it is necessary to seek compromises.

A new global confrontation started almost immediately after the end of the Second World War and was at times very fierce.

The fact that the Cold War did not grow into the Third World War has become a clear testimony of the effectiveness of the agreements concluded by the Big Three.

The rules of conduct agreed upon during the creation of the United Nations made it possible to further minimise risks and keep confrontation under control.

Of course, we can see that the UN system currently experiences certain tension in its work and is not as effective as it could be.

The UN still performs its primary function.

The principles of the UN Security Council are a unique mechanism for preventing a major war or a global conflict.

The calls that have been made quite often in recent years to abolish the power of veto, to deny special opportunities to permanent members of the Security Council are actually irresponsible.

After all, if that happens, the United Nations would in essence become the League of Nations – a meeting for empty talk without any leverage on the world processes.

How it ended is well known. That is why the victor powers approached the formation of the new system of the world order with utmost seriousness seeking to avoid repetition of mistakes made by their predecessors.

It is a duty of ours – all those who take political responsibility and primarily representatives of the victor powers in the Second World War – to guarantee that this system is maintained and improved.

Today, as in 1945, it is important to demonstrate political will and discuss the future together.

Our colleagues – Mr Xi Jinping, Mr Macron, Mr Trump and Mr Johnson – supported the Russian initiative to hold a meeting of the leaders of the five nuclear-weapon states, permanent members of the Security Council.

We thank them for this and hope that such face-to-face meeting could take place as soon as possible.

A special item on the agenda of the meeting is the situation in the global economy.

And above all, overcoming the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Our countries are taking unprecedented measures to protect the health and lives of people and to support citizens who have found themselves in difficult living situations.

Our ability to work together and in concert, as real partners, will show how severe the impact of the pandemic will be, and how quickly the global economy will emerge from the recession.

Moreover, it is unacceptable to turn the economy into an instrument of pressure and confrontation.

Popular issues include environmental protection and combating climate change, as well as ensuring the security of the global information space.


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