OSCE at death: Sergey Lavrov and the salvation of drowning
Russia is skeptical about the future of the OSCE, but does not refuse to cooperate even after spy scandals with observers of the structure in Donbass.
The meeting of the foreign ministers of the countries of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which the day after tomorrow, November 30, will open in the Macedonian capital Skopje, is getting closer. The future of the organization largely depends on this meeting, as it is believed, which has lost a significant part of its authority - and therefore its ability to influence political processes.
The meeting will most likely be attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. He is convinced that the chances of saving the organization are small, but Russia does not fundamentally refuse to cooperate. Whether it is worth it - the correspondent of The Moscow Post tried to figure it out.
Earlier, our former Western partners staged a real circus. On the eve of the diplomatic meeting in Skopje, the Russian delegation, in order to get there, had to obtain permission to fly the plane with Lavrov through the territory of European countries.
Now the necessary permits have been obtained, including from North Macedonia itself and from Bulgaria. They themselves could not do this - all such gestures are coordinated with the older brothers from the European Union. So it is obvious that the presence of Lavrov was given the go-ahead at the very top. And that's not surprising.
All existing problems between the EU and Russia, the OSCE and Russian structures were created by our former Western partners. They themselves close the airspace, then they themselves solve a thousand bureaucratic problems in order to open it.
The upcoming meeting of the OSCE Foreign Ministers is fateful for the organization. Russia is still a member of the OSCE, while the organization itself is in a deep crisis. The issue of further chairmanship of the organization, which should move from North Macedonia, has not yet been resolved. Participating countries are not eager to take responsibility. Possible candidates for the post of Secretary General are also widely controversial.
But most importantly, it seems that the OSCE is finally losing its meaning in terms of ensuring security and positioning itself as a compromise negotiator designed to prevent and stop conflicts in Europe. The organization obviously did not cope with this function.
Thus, now the OSCE has neither the approved chairman country nor the leadership nor the approved budget. The latter problem is most acute - due to contradictions between Russia and the West, the budget cannot be agreed upon for more than a year. This has not happened in the history of the OSCE.
Push and keep out
If Sergei Lavrov ends up in Skopje, this will be his first visit to a European country after the start of the SVO. Last year, Poland blocked his participation in the structure's meetings. She pointed out that Lavrov was on the sanctions lists, however, this was just a reason. Then it was about sanctions in the field of finance, which would not prevent Lavrov from taking part in the work of the organization.
In addition, even if Lavrov were banned from entry, any member country would have the right to make an exception to this rule if it were an official event on its territory. As a result, Russia accused Poland of exceeding the powers of the chairman country to discredit the OSCE and undermine the foundations of its work.
Recall that in 2022, literally at the last moment, Sergei Lavrov's visit to Belgrade was canceled, after the countries neighboring Serbia, as if at someone's behest, sharply banned the flight of the Russian minister's plane. Moreover, some of these countries, like North Macedonia, are not in the European Union at all.
As for the actual Russian position, earlier in the Kremlin stated that the OSCE is losing its effectiveness due to the "antagonistic" position towards Russia. The Foreign Ministry then noted that the association should remain as "a regional pan-European forum operating on the basis of the rule of consensus and the principle of sovereign equality of states."
Specifically, Sergei Lavrov said that there is a chance to save the organization, but they are small. Ultimately, rescuing drowning people is impossible without their determination on the process. And it seems that the period of utter idiocy and boycotts is slowly giving way to constructive work.
The uniqueness of the OSCE is that it unites 57 Euro-Atlantic states: all countries of Europe and the post-Soviet space, Mongolia, as well as the United States and Canada. On the Vienna platform, these countries with different political and economic interests, their own value and cultural and historical attitudes nevertheless come to a common denominator in terms of coexistence. The basis of the work of the Organization is the rule of consensus in decision-making.
That is, the OSCE is not a branch of NATO and the EU. There is no "stick discipline" to force everyone to ostentatious oneness. However, in recent years, the organization has functioned precisely as a branch of NATO and the EU. What is only the position of the majority of the organization's members on Ukraine. All this is a consequence of the partial loss of their own identity and national sovereignty in making the most important decisions on which the security of all Europe depends.
Now this diplomatic forum is really degrading. And not Russia has been bringing its military infrastructure closer to the borders of NATO countries for decades, but quite the opposite. You cannot ensure your safety at the expense of others. This is the axiom of geopolitics. But at one point in the OSCE, this seemed to be forgotten.
OSCE as a branch of MI-6
And we have not forgotten about many other things. For example, as OSCE observers, they actually performed the functions of spies in the DPR and LPR during the so-called "Minsk process." Recall that in April 2022, after the start of the SVO, the Ministry of State Security of the DPR found out that the video cameras of the OSCE international mission on the demarcation line in Donbass were used by the Ukrainian security forces for reconnaissance and fire correction.
At the same time, OSCE officer Vladimir Golda was detained. According to the DPR authorities, a citizen of Ukraine Gold, on the instructions of foreign intelligence, collected data on the locations of the republic's military personnel and important industrial facilities.
If true, it's hard to believe that his mission colleagues were neither a dream nor a spirit. Or maybe they simply did not have time to detain. After February 24, the DPR State Defense Committee recognized the work of the OSCE mission in the republic as illegal and ordered the mission staff to leave it before April 30. Also, the authorities of the Luhansk People's Republic announced the decision to ban the activities of the monitoring mission.
The head of the LPR Leonid Pasechnik accused the OSCE staff of creating a negative image of Russia and the republics of Donbass in Europe. And, indeed, few people poured so many lies on the militias and authorities of the DPR, LPR and all of Russia, as the representatives of the organization who were quite legally there.
It is increasingly difficult to work in the OSCE. It seems that the countries of the collective West have forgotten what civilized communication represents. The dirtiest techniques are used: demonization and humanization of Russia, promotion of spy mania, accusations of our country of "blocking the work of the OSCE." There is a transition to personalities, insults and threats against Russian diplomats, up to calls for betrayal. All this has become the norm for them.
Sergey Lavrov at an OSCE event. Photo: https://russiancouncil.ru/analytics-and-comments/analytics/uyti-ili-ostatsya-sem-rossiyskikh-pretenziy-k-obse/?sphrase_id=79960621
A reasonable question arises: why does Russia need such a structure? Sergey Lavrov himself and other domestic officials have repeatedly given an answer to him: while there are platforms on which dialogue and exchange of views are possible, Russia will cooperate for the sake of peace and security in Europe and around the world. I.e. nobody is going to get into the pose of an offended child, and Moscow does not close the door to restore relations.