No rationale for the existence of obsolete NATO – Prof. Andrey Volodin
The world is facing the consequences of the Russo-Ukrainian War. To many, the rationale behind the war is still incomprehensible. Rohit Srivastava, Editor, IDI caught up with leading Russian experts on Eurasian Affairs, Prof Andrey Volodin, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Eurasian Studies, Diplomatic Academy of Russian Foreign Ministry, for a brief chat to understand the Russian perspective. Excerpts
“Europe, I am afraid, was not supported by a large number of countries outside the collective West. Reason developing countries are suspicious of Europe's colonial instincts and they feel that the 'untimely Ukrainian crisis' (Kanwal Sibal") was engineered and instigated from outside. Ukraine is treated as a mere puppet in this logic,” Prof Volodin said while discussing Ukraine’s policy and the current situation in Europe.
The willingness of Ukraine to join NATO is the prime reason for Russian military operations. President Putin in his address to the nation before the launch of military operations has questioned NATO’s eastward expansion. Prof Volodin questions the idea of NATO's existence after the end of the cold war. “The rationale for the existence of obsolete NATO is none. The reason for the existence is the desire to keep Russia as a 'vassal' of Europe, the status the 'enlightened Europe enjoys vis-a-vis America.'
Speaking on the former US envoy to Russia William Burns' diplomatic cable of 2008, where he clearly laid out the expansion of NATO into Georgia and Ukraine would be crossing the redline, Volodin said that “William Burns is an enlightened gentleman whereas his colleagues seem to be stronger physically than intellectually.”
When asked about why Russia and the West is in a power struggle for the last two centuries, Volodin said that it is primarily because Russia has abundant natural and mineral resources whilst Europe does not.
Rejecting the opinions of western military analysts questioning the efficiency of the Russian army, he opined that “Russian army has evolved into a rather efficient entity, the level of its combat qualities and preparedness is substantially higher than that of its NATO counterparts.”
Moving to the economic sanctions, Volodin believes that Russia will definitely survive the western sanctions. “The sanctions are supportive of the modernization of the Russian political economy and the "ennoblement" of its entire structure.”
He believes that it is “quite possible” to create a parallel or neutral global financial system, especially when the centre of global trade is moving towards the East, “initially and experimentally within the BRICS platform.”
He further opined that “the Chinese are aware that the days of the Western hegemonic order are over. India is doing the same.”
On future of Russia’s relations with EU, Ukraine and Turkey, he said, “The relations are ultimately dependent on NATO's geopolitical realism.”
“Turkey is a historically controversial relationship,” Russia is satisfied with it. “Ukraine is a question of the future. Let us wait for a little.”
He believes this is the end of the post-WWII world order. Rejecting the speculation of the rise of Russia-China block, he said, “Multipolar world is the future of the world system.”
“India is an organic element of the multipolar reality. Other influential nations are Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey, Iran etc.”
He thinks blocking the Russian media on the American social media platform “is indirectly indicative of its efficacy.”