_Jan Schnaider, vice director of the Center for Continental Cooperation. Moscow,
The Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Maria Zakharova visited the Moscow State University´s Faculty of World Politics on Friday, May 13th, where she held a Q&A session in one of the lecture halls.
The students had the unique opportunity to listen to Maria Zakharova first hand and ask questions vis à vis. Zakharova, who was born into a family of diplomats and spent times of her childhood in Beijing, answered to a number of questions, ranging from NATO relations, EU future relational perspectives over Japan and the Sakhalin matter to personal questions.
According to Zakharova, the current global situation may appear exceptionally fierce and dangerous, especially to young people, but is actually a common state within the international relations, which include competition and disagreements between governments and nations. Measures, such as sanctions, are being exploited under international law.
NATO, EU, post-soviet era and migrant crisis
According to the director, the US American attitude towards the end of the Cold War equals the assertion, the Soviet Union had ultimately lost the war and “surrendered” to the West. This attitude explains the ongoing NATO east expansion at the Russian borders. The US administration is pursuing a policy excluding Russian interests, as from their political view, Russia should remain silent. Zakharova then referred to Gorbachev´s open policies from the 1980ies, when it was in fact the Soviet Union reaching out to the West seeking the dialogue with the USA in order to improve relations and ease the situation within the Cold War. There was no such thing as a “lost Cold War”.
Additionally Zakharova mentioned ongoing attempts by the Russian Federation to establish cooperative politics in the EU and NATO frameworks during the 1990ies and at the beginning of the 21st century – of which all had categorically been rejected by the West.
The EU visa policy marks a further point of criticism according to Zakharova. While the EU has offered or implemented a visa-free-regime with Moldova, Ukraine, other Eastern European countries and potentially even Turkey, the Russian Federation has never been taken under consideration for such a regime. The current migrant and refugee crisis in particular shows the illogicality of the EU immigration policy – called “suicide” by Zakharova.
On the one hand the European continent is struggling with illegal aliens, economic migrants, criminals, convicts, terrorists and refugees from regions where the West had caused the conflicts in the first place, and on the other hand the sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation are afflicting European economies.
Japan and Sakhalin
Another topic of interest for the students are the Russian-Japanese relations in connection with the Sakhalin issue. Zakharova stressed, the “conflict” was being kept alive artificially and in reality neither affects the Russian population, nor the Japanese. During her last visit on the outskirts of the island of Hokkaido, she became witness of how a sound truck distributed propaganda to the population and that the driver was clearly Afro-American. Due to the fact that Japan is still under US occupation, a significant change in relationships appears unlikely.
Political change and perspectives in Europe, namely Germany
Of particular interest for the Center for Continental Cooperation undoubtedly are the perspectives for new relationships between Europe / Germany and the Russian Federation in light of the current changes in the political arenas. Jan Schnaider wanted to know if Maria Zakharova acknowledges a political potential for the Russian Federation in regard to the opposition parties in Germany, which clearly are EU and NATO critical. Zakharova stated, Russia is not interested in destabilizing any European government, but rather in stability and dialogue between the nations and that real political change can only come from within.