End sanctions or Russia won’t join effort against ISIS, Federation Council declares

Putin/Obama political cartoon by Morten Morland via Twitter

Political cartoon by Morten Morland via Twitter 

Analysis & Opinion, Russia

At the end of its call for an international coalition against terrorism, Russia’s Federation Council makes crystal clear what Vladimir Putin’s moves in this direction are all about: The Kremlin leader wants the West to lift sanctions against Russia imposed because of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine or he won’t play, Matvey Ganapolsky says.

Matvey Ganapolsky, Russian political commentator

Matvey Ganapolsky, Russian political commentator

The Moscow commentator points out that the Federation Council has used some beautiful language to call for the formation of a coalition of states for the struggle against terrorism, a challenge like that of Nazism whose aggression led to the formation of “the anti-Hitler coalition of states with different political systems.”

“A beautiful text,” Ganapolsky observes, but is it really the case that “the stupid Americans and Europeans had not thought about the creation of such a common front? Can’t they reject extremism?” But of course, the West has done both and long before Moscow thought about calling for the same.

Such a coalition already exists, he points out. “More than 60 states began war with ISIS even before Russia decided to save Assad. And everyone understood that Russia refused to join this coalition because it felt it necessary to save Assad and did not want to fight under the leadership of the US.”

So what has happened that has led Moscow to change its position? Did it really begin to recognize that “ISIS is a mortal danger for Russia, although it is far from the Sinai?” Did it really think that the West couldn’t succeed without Russian help or in this case without Russian guidance about what to do?

Of course not, Ganapolsky says, and writes that he will “now tell you what [the Kremlin] understood” and what led to this ostensible change of course and call for a new international coalition.

The explanation is to be found at the end of the Federation Council’s appeal to the world. There it is written: “The policy of double standards and unilateral sanctions weaken the chances for international cooperation in opposing terrorism.” That is why this document was written and sent out into the world.

“You want that we join your company, says Russia, then remove your sanctions on us for [the annexation of] Crimea and [the war in] the Donbas! But [if you don’t] we won’t join. And in general, your sanctions in this way are weakening you too.”

That is what “the hybrid Federation Council” actually wrote in its “hybrid declaration to the World,” Ganapolsky concludes.

Edited by: A. N.

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