"Bull" did not work
In the outgoing year of the bull, the United States managed to impose so many problems on the world that it would take more than one generation of diplomats to solve.
What "Agent Steklov" said
Of course, one of the main events of the outgoing year was the shameful flight of the United States from Afghanistan. Once fed by the militants themselves, back in 2001 created a problem for the States, which are still plowing it. Having failed to plant their views in a single country, gentlemen from the North American states had to drape so that "their heels sparkled." And now Russia and its allies will have to break down these problems.
Relations between Russia and the West remained tense throughout the year. The United States and NATO received draft security agreements on December 17. Including their own. As follows from the documents transferred to them, the alliance should refuse to conduct any military activities in Ukraine and other states of Eastern Europe, Transcaucasia and Central Asia. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that strike missile systems near the western borders of Russia are unacceptable, as is the drawing of Ukraine into NATO, its military development, incitement to military assistance.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that they say the alliance has never made commitments not to expand! He was referring to the conditions under which Germany was allowed to absorb the GDR when Moscow decided to voluntarily leave Europe. A strange statement, a man who, during the period of the described events (late 80s of the early 90s of the XX century), headed the youth wing of the Norwegian Workers' Party (in our opinion, the Komsomol), and was listed in KGB special teachers as "Agent Steklov."
Meanwhile, the supreme commander of the NATO Armed Forces in Europe, Tod Walters, proposed to deploy an additional contingent of NATO troops in Bulgaria and Romania in response to Russian troops allegedly concentrated on the border with Ukraine. Dreams of the power and unity of the West all year did not leave the United States. It may be with a minor break in September, during the evacuation from Kabul. But bitter memories were diluted by new games of hegemony, but now with the participation of Kiev and Brussels.
It should be noted that no one threatened the United States. And in Russia, NATO forces in the past year practiced various exercises, reconnaissance and offensive, including nuclear strikes. Terminated the Open Skies Treaty. The problem of intermediate and shorter-range missiles hung in the air. NATO's military "development" of Ukrainian territory continued. There was evidence that a provocation using chemical weapons was being prepared in the Donbass.
For Russia, the main thing was to prevent these provocations. At the end of the year, the Secretary General of the alliance said that NATO proposes that the Russian Federation hold a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council in early 2022 to discuss the situation in Ukraine. At the same time, all previous years have witnessed that Brussels has frozen the work of this body. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov replied that the chief of general staff of NATO and Russia should become the main participants in the negotiations.
China, colleagues and online
Meanwhile, Moscow continued to develop its relations with Beijing.
An important component of relations between Russia and China is energy cooperation. Transboundary oil and gas pipelines are operating, and supplies from Russia to China of coal and electricity are growing. Large-scale joint projects in gas chemistry and in the production of LNG in the Arctic have been laid. At two Chinese nuclear power plants, Rosatom is building new power units and plans to build a cross-border gas pipeline through Mongolia. According to the results of the year, gas supplies through the Power of Siberia gas pipeline to China may amount to 15 billion cubic meters. Russia also expects Chinese partners to sign credit documents for the Arctic LNG-3 project.
Vladimir Putin in 2021 met in person with Joe Biden, Narendra Modi, Alexander Vucic, Radjep Tayyip Erdogan, Angela Merkel, Naftali Bennet, repeatedly with Alexander Lukashenko. In December, the President of Mongolia visited the Russian Federation, before and after that, Vladimir Putin met with the leaders of the CIS and CSTO countries.
In the virtual summit of the presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States, some foreign political scientists saw signs of Russia's departure from traditional, "soft diplomacy." Moscow fundamentally put several issues on the agenda. This, firstly, is the frank actions of the United States on the military development of the territory of Ukraine. Secondly, NATO's focus on further movement towards Russia, accompanied by the deployment of strike weapons systems in Poland and Romania. For his part, Biden showed flexibility by making it clear that Ukraine's problems should not interfere with dialogue, recalled the general losses in World War II.
The leaders discussed the implementation of the results of the Russian-American summit in Geneva in June, agreed to continue the dialogue. The leaders' summit in Geneva launched a consultation mechanism on strategic stability, helped restart the dialogue on information security. The leaders confirmed that a nuclear war should not be unleashed, that there could be no winners in it.
The visit of the Russian president to India for the Kremlin has entered the category of achievements. The visit happened just a day before the talks with Biden. New Delhi's desire to emphasize its "strategic neutrality" was ultimately strengthened, raising some questions about the viability of the Indo-Pacific Alliance of Democracies in its American version.
Olaf Scholz, who replaced Angela Merkel as German Chancellor, seems to have shown that he is ready to strengthen relations with Moscow. The new German leader did not agree with the line of Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock, refusing to give the diplomatic mission to control her party. He also proposed not to oppose the Nord Stream-2 project, appointed his people to key posts in the Foreign Ministry, announced plans to discuss Ukraine's problems with Moscow. It seems that Scholz may not fully meet the requirements of the United States and Great Britain to maintain a tough anti-Russian course. The German authorities do not share US confidence that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine.
Relations with the European Union left much to be desired. After the summit of the leaders of Russia and the United States in Geneva, France and Germany also proposed organizing a meeting of EU leaders with Vladimir Putin. The initiative was torpedoed. Later, there were new points of tension about the terms of gas trade, the Ukrainian settlement. The European Union wants good relations with Russia, but makes them dependent on the situation with Ukraine, "said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
The Ukrainian authorities showed proximity to "European values" with their vicious attitude towards Russia. With the support of Western instructors, the Armed Forces prepared for a military operation in the Donbass. With the connivance of the West, the Minsk agreements were not implemented, the Norman format did not work. In December, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shared his concern that "Kiev is perverting the Minsk agreements and putting them upside down... the French and Germans, as co-authors of this document, as participants in the Norman format, are just starting to get 100% on the side of the Ukrainian regime, "he said.
And whole "gas" isn't enough
Conditions of Russian gas supplies to Europe and the political atmosphere connected with it underwent noticeable changes. Gas prices on a spot by the TTF index grew from 250-300 dollars for one thousand cubic meters in the spring under contracts with delivery "for the day ahead" to 600 dollars, and at the beginning of October and stepped over a threshold in 1000 dollars. In December the price grew twice and reached times of 2600 dollars for one thousand cubic meters. In spite of the fact that Gazprom significantly increased volumes of deliveries over volumes under contracts, Russia didn't manage to avoid charges of creation of deficiency.
The representative of Gazprom Sergei Kupriyanov said that, as before, his company is ready to deliver additional volumes of gas within long-term contracts cheaper than a spot. Such contracts were signed with Hungary, Serbia and Moldova. Meanwhile, already completely ready gas pipeline "Nord Stream-2" continued to expect certification and even became a subject of the political bargaining in connection with a situation in the Ukrainian crisis.
Ukraine as the transiter of the Russian natural gas, for all year showed open hostility on the attitude both towards Russia, and to this project. It is possible to tell that Kiev the "gas diplomacy" undermined own interests. In particular, refusal to directly import gas for own needs. "Ukraine which depends on a spot today - it their own choice was, they don't want to buy from us directly. And for them the price would fall and it is essential. Just to themselves cut a bough on which sit", - the President of Russia said in this regard.
From borders, to most to the outskirts
The summit on climate for Russia took place in Glasgow rather successfully. The Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov reported that agreed about acceptable mechanisms of implementation of the Parisian agreement. Russia together with other countries achieved the weighed decisions on coal generation. Adoption of the Joint declaration of leaders in the woods and land use in work on which text the active participation was accepted by our country became one more result of the Conference. The role of the woods within implementation of climatic policy is enshrined in the document.
In the relations with Japan there came the cold snap. The representative of embassy was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry where the protest in connection with the exhibition devoted to the Southern Kurils, which is taking place in Tokyo was stated to him. Moscow also expressed concern about exercises of Resolute Dragon 2021 which took place to Hokkaido. The demonstrative activization of already close military cooperation of the Japanese forces of self-defense with the USA happening after change of the government risks to complicate bilateral ties. The relations of Tokyo with Beijing already are in the frozen state.
Britain also made efforts returning itself the status of "great". Having restored "independence" of continental Europe, London turned the strategic looks to Ukraine and the program of modernization rather modest, but nevertheless shock strategic nuclear potential. Closely these "innovations" were adjoined by a tripartite avstralo-Anglo-American initiative of AUKUS. The plan assumes to give to Australia a role strategic base in the Indo-Pacific region due to equipping of Canberra by the shock nuclear submarines made on the American technologies. Moscow and Beijing called this decision contradicting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
South Korea was visited by the Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Lavrov. There he arrived from China where I. Wang conducted negotiations with the Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China. The joint statement of ministers was characterized as the application of Moscow and Beijing for new rules of the game in the region of East Asia and at coast of the Far East region of the Russian Federation. As well as in a case with Ukraine, the American speculation concerning threat of a solution by force of a problem of Taiwan didn't cease. All region turned into a zone of the growing military-political activity of the USA and the tension connected with it. Later, the ministry of reunification of the Republic of Korea renewed appeals to the DPRK to resume dialogue.
In Europe - NATO, Ukraine and tension in the relations with Russia, in the east - the American-Japanese security treaty, bases in Japan and South Korea, AUKUS, Taiwan and attempts of the USA to limit influence of China. Washington intentionally renamed the Pacific Rim into the Indo-Pacific region to get support of India. And between these two parts of the world - Afghanistan from where in September the Americans with a shame ran after attempts to make something that, maybe, and will remain a question of 2021.