It is time to address Russia’s sabotage of ‘frozen conflict’ resolution in UN Security Council

Russian aggression: Devastated building in Lysychansk, Ukraine, 4 August 2014 (Image: Ліонкінг)

Russian aggression: Devastated building in Lysychansk, Donbas, Ukraine, 4 August 2014 (Image: Ліонкінг) 

Analysis & Opinion, Politics, Russia

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the former president of Latvia, points to an inconvenient truth that few want to recognize: no frozen conflicts in the former Soviet space will be resolved as long as Russia retains its veto in the UN Security Council and thus is in a position to block moves toward a resolution.

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Former President of Latvia (Image:

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Former President of Latvia (Image:

Speaking on the sidelines of the EU Eastern Partnership in Riga yesterday, the Latvian leader said that despite the existence of the OSCE Minsk Group “there has been no progress” on a resolution of the Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan because Moscow doesn’t want any.

“The conflict in Transdniestria also is frozen but there is no progress in its resolution. Georgia has lost its lands. Ukraine has been subjected to military occupation, [and] international law is incapable of resolving these issues,” she says. As long as Russia has a veto in the UN Security Council, “one should not expect resolutions from this organization.”

There are three reasons for paying close attention to what Vike-Freiberga said.

First, as a representative of a small country that has often suffered at the hands of a large one, now she–like Baltic leaders before 1940 and other Baltic leaders like Vytautas Landsbergis and Toomas Hendrik Ilves–can speak the truth that others feel compelled to avoid doing.

Because the task of diplomats is diplomacy and because diplomats must maintain a certain optimism to keep going to work, few in Western countries involved in dealing with Moscow have been willing to acknowledge that Moscow doesn’t want settlements in many cases and that it can use its clout at the UN to block them.

Second, Vike-Freiberga’s words are especially worth attending to now because many in the West appear to have concluded that moves toward a frozen conflict in Ukraine represents “progress” and “the best available outcome” in the wake of Russia’s Anschluss of Crimea and intervention in the Donbas.

That is a dangerous self-deception, one encouraged by Moscow and its supporters, because it would guarantee that the kind of problems one sees across the post-Soviet space would not only spread to and be institutionalized in Ukraine but would encourage Vladimir Putin to apply the same tactic elsewhere in Latvia, Kazakhstan, or Belarus.

And third, the Latvian leader’s observation is important because it should be the beginning of a discussion about a post-Ukrainian crisis world. Putin has so violated international law with his actions in Crimea and the Donbas that it is now time to think about a post-Ukrainian crisis world.

After the dislocations of World War I, Europe created the League of Nations; after those of World War II, the international community created the United Nations. Now, because Putin has violated the principles on which that body rests, it is time to begin to think about creating a new international body, one that can block aggressors like Putin rather than give in to them.

That won’t be easy, and most commentators, diplomats and politicians will continue to create epicycles rather than recognize that the Ptolemaic world of the UN is no more. The price of that ostrich-like approach, as Vike-Freiberga points out, will be more frozen conflicts, more violence, and less real peace, whatever Moscow and those who go along with it say.

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Czech Friend

    sad but chillingly true.

    Does anyone in UN top brass have enough human decency and conscience to call this organisation out for an absolute failure of its primary function and purpose?

    • commieslayer

      No, that is all that is going to be left of Russia. The rest will be protected by missile shields — a technology in which Russia is at least three decades behind. So you guys are pushing your luck by threatening the whole worldswith nuclear war. You must have a death wish.

      • The truth

        RF does not have the control over the balistic missiles detection !

        • commieslayer

          They are far behind technologically from many points of view. That’s why they keep making threats, they have nothing else.

  • Michel Cloarec

    Urss and Rf using their position in the UN , fears and paranoiac mentality in the Rf of today stop Rf to resign ! That is why putin doesn´t want not a state of war declared in Ukraine .

  • Michel Cloarec

    If it is laughable, Why is Rf still in it ?

    • commieslayer

      Because they want to use their veto in the Security Council to push their geopolitical interests, as they have done repeatedly. If there is a declared war in Ukraine, then the UN can’t act on it due to the Russian veto. Russia is hoping against all reason that they will fool enough people so as not to become officially a pariah state like N. Korea.

  • Michel Cloarec

    Russia and his putin&co . A new invasion every 3 years since the putin era . It is contrary to the goals of UN . So RF out, should be the only solution, when RF behaves , maybe can it seek membership again !

    • commieslayer

      Russia in its current form will never behave, it just can’t. Fundamentally it is an old-fashion despotic empire. It must renounce imperialism before reaching sanity, and this means that the RF must first break up.

      • The truth

        RF will break up , all the signs are there already !

        • commieslayer

          I hope that the EU and US help it break up as soon as possible. It will be a much better world when these aggressive apes are finally neutralized.

  • commieslayer

    Funny, I thought that it was Stalin, the great Hero of the Russian People (even though the was a Georgian) who pushed so very hard for the creation of the UN. Did the great hero push for the creation of a laughable organization ? You guys always get caught up in your lies.

  • Vol Ya

    Putin has turned russia into a rogue state that doesn’t respect international borders so we should treat it like a rogue state. There should be a policy of isolation and boycotts toward Russia and putin. Deny his crony oligarchs access to the west’s banking system. Let them keep their filthy and worthless rubles in russia.

  • The truth

    One way or another RF will manage to go out of UN by itself !

  • The truth

    If someone ask why RF will go out of UN , the answer is ………………….guess