M. Schulz, Senior Researcher,
University of Cologne,
The aggravation of contradictions between Russia and Western countries rise recently an acute question concerning possible further escalation of tension, for the political interrelations of Moscow and Western countries go beyond the critical point more and more.
One of the main reasons of the aggravation of geopolitical tension between Russia and the West became the so-called “poisoning” of the former Russian spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, as well as the consequences of this action, i.e. the deterioration of relations between Russia and Great Britain, and other Western countries.
“The Skripal case” is a sort of mirror image of permanent contradictions between Russia and the West. Great Britain together with its closest Western allies resorted to unfounded accusations towards Moscow in order to discredit Russian government and at the same time to divert the attention of its citizens from own internal difficulties and foreign policy failures more than once.
For example, as it is well known, “the Skripal case” appeared shortly before the so-called chemical attack in East Ghouta, Syria, where the Syrian government forces reportedly dropped chemical bombs on the settlement. Russia was proclaimed then as the “partner of the Beast”, but of course, no clear evidence were provided. The suspicions that the “White helmets” faked this “action”, were not rejected at all, for the videos from the field cause many questions within those who knows, how a real chemical attack looks alike.
In this regard, the opinion of the permanent representative of the Russian Federation on the UN Security Council Vasily Nebenzya that the accusations against Russia related to its involvement in the “poisoning” of the Skripals concern just the chemical dossier seems quite reasonable . In the absence of any evidence of the chemical attack, Great Britain decided to redirect the public attention to the events in Salisbury. Thus, London achieved the pursued goal, i.e. the solidarity of the Western allies in formation of the “anti-Russian front”. Well, the probable short-term goals are achieved: a serious diplomatic crisis between Russia and the West struck, and continuous flow of baseless allegations have been growing.
However, the allegations of Great Britain are totally unsubstantiated. Evidently, that is why London does not allow for joint investigation of this incident with the participation of Russia. Thus, Great Britain always declaring itself as an honest and just state, decided to show this time that rules of international laws are being adopted in order to break them further. Meanwhile, the Clause 2 of Article IX of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC) contains clear instructions concerning the necessity of joint consultation in order to determine all the matters related to this Convention .
Undoubtedly, the violation of international law and attempts to mislead world public opinion did not go unnoticed. The citizens of Great Britain themselves post many letters to the Russian Embassy in London, which contain “apologies” for irresponsible and nearsighted policy of their government . As for the political elite and experts of European countries, their positions have much in common with the opinions of ordinary people. For example, the speaker of parliamentary faction of Social Democratic Party of Germany (SDP) on internal policy Burkhard Lischka does not share the position of Chancellor Angela Merkel, he considers this incident to be “boomerang”, which will be back to the EU and will lead to negative consequences, if the investigation does not prove the substantiating of allegations . The director of military research institute of Ministry of Defense Bohuslav Šafář claimed that a substance similar to that one, what the Skripals were poisoned with, was produced and tested in his scientific and research institute. Of course, not everybody like such a truth, and Šafář was soon retired .
In the present situation, in order to avoid a further escalation of tension, which can lead to irreversible negative impacts, Russia need to continue acting strictly within the norms of international law, especially with regard to matters of usage of chemical weapon. It is important to promote observance of the rules of procedures of CWC during the investigation of “the Skripal case” and “Syrian dossier”. In its turn, Great Britain must at least agree to the participation of Russia in the investigation of this incident, as well as abandon the policy of baseless allegations and threats, which undermine the credibility of its government not only on the global stage, but also within the state what is more serious.