By Rostislav Ishchenko
Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard
cross posted with http://www.stalkerzone.org/rostislav-ishchenko-67-countries-regret-that-there-are-no-fascists-in-crimea/
The UN is a complicated structure, called on to satisfy the ambitions of everyone (both small and big), at the same time preserving the right of the five permanent members of the Security Council to accept (or reject, if a consensus is reached between them) of a final decision.
In this regard, except the binding resolutions that are adopted by the Security Council, there is a format of resolutions of the General Assembly that have only a moral-political character. It is rare that someone implements them, but they are often used within the framework of information campaigns. It is written that supposedly the UN demanded it, that the UN stated it, that the UN obliged, and the most honest say “the world community expressed its opinion”. Overall, if the General Assembly adopts a negative resolution on your question, then it’s nothing serious, but it is unpleasant (it is difficult to swallow).
But in the UN thousands of diplomats representing 193 states work. But in the Security Council there are only 15 members. Plenary sessions of the General Assembly with the participation of top officials, or at least Ministers of Foreign Affairs, take place rather seldom — one-two times per year. Meanwhile, diplomats of the states that aren’t represented in the rather regular gatherings of the Security Council also need to be engaged in something in order to feel that they participate in the development of decisions having global importance.
For this purpose the General Assembly founded committees. Two of them – the General Committee and the Credentials Committee – have technical value concerning the preparation of the sessions of the General Assembly. The other six main committees are consolatory platforms in which discussions that are formally important but don’t have operational value are carried out, and where the same kind of resolutions are being adopted. As a rule, not only in the state, but even in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – and if the representation in the UN is big (like it is, for example, for Russia), then in the representation too – not everyone knows what problems are solved by the diplomats who are busied in a specific committee.
I once happened to participate in the work of similar committees, commissions, and working groups in the OSCE. Their powers were more essential than the powers of the UN General Assembly Committees. They prepared and previously agreed on resolutions, which then were submitted for the consideration of the Permanent Council under the leadership of the acting chairperson, who makes binding decisions in between top-level summits and meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs within the limits of their powers. But committees and working groups don’t make binding decisions. That’s why you can argue for months about where in the resolution there has to be a comma, or you can ignore discussion. So then the main fight will be just transferred to the level of the Permanent Council.
In principle, in both the OSCE and the UN the work of committees have a utilitarian function. You have the opportunity to in advance become acquainted with the wishes and argument of opponents, to fulfil your arguments, and also to evaluate the level of support (yours and your opponent’s). The difference is only that in the OSCE after the working groups documents are taken for consideration by the structure making the binding decision, while in the UN, even if after the Committee the question will be submitted for the consideration of the General Assembly and a resolution will subsequently be adopted in relation to it, it won’t have a binding character. I.e., in this case we are dealing with pure statistics (how many countries supported the resolution, how many rejected it, and how many abstained). If the question is being considered regularly, then it is possible to study statistics in terms of their dynamics: how the ratio of forces changes over the years.
On November 15th the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Cultural, and Humanitarian issues) adopted two resolutions at the same time. One of them is a resolution against the glorification of Nazism — which has been submitted by Russia and its coauthors since 2005. This year the draft resolution was submitted on behalf of 39 countries. 130 countries supported the resolution and 51 countries abstained. Only the US and Ukraine voted against it. This result distinctly shows the isolated position of these two countries and testifies that at least in this aspect their position is in a conflict with the position of the entire world community. The US in such cases likes to speak about outcast countries and to impose sanctions. However, they can impose sanctions even without a reason.
The second resolution was submitted by Ukraine, which introduced it for the third year in a row. The resolution condemns the cases of human rights violations that were allegedly recorded on the territory of Crimea. During the consideration of this resolution the majority (87 countries) abstained, 67 delegations supported Ukraine, and 26 delegations voted against. In comparison with last year, the dynamics for Ukraine are negative. In 2017 three delegations more supported a similar resolution.
But what’s important here isn’t dynamics. Of course, it is pleasant that every year we [Russia – ed] are supported by more and more countries, and the US and Ukraine are supported by fewer and fewer countries, and they in general become outcasts concerning certain questions. However, as I already said above, all of this committee’s fight has a rather conditional practical value. Yes, it is possible to note that Russian diplomats don’t twiddle their thumbs in the UN. They work with foreign delegations and gradually obtain a change in the ratio of forces in Russia’s advantage. But it is even more important that no diplomat – even the most talented one – could tilt the balance in our advantage if it wasn’t for the growth of the international authority of Russia and the sharp decrease in the possibilities and influence of the US.
However, in reality all of us see this almost every day with increasing vividity than just within the framework of the specific work of UN committees. But what for sure doesn’t happen every day (we can count on the same thing happening only in a year’s time, when these resolutions will again be simultaneously considered) is a bright demonstration of the lameness of the position of Ukraine and the countries supporting it. The adoption of these resolutions back-to-back, in one day, illustrated as clearly as possible that a country supporting Nazism is worried about human rights in Crimea. I.e., Ukraine and those who supported it voted to ensure the rights of nazis in Crimea.
It is precisely this that follows from the results of the two votes, because regardless of how much Ukraine and the US claim that the anti-nazi resolution is politically charged, in reality there was nothing in the formulations that would go beyond the condemnation of the nazi ideology and its political practice. It is impossible to take this resolution and apply it randomly to an actual situation in a specific country. I.e., it doesn’t bear any political or information threat to Ukraine or the US. On the contrary, in order to so blatantly expose themselves by voting against and opposing the whole world – which is what Kiev and Washington did, their love for nazis has to be extremely strong.
I think that with such “qualified” work, in a year’s time the results of voting on both resolutions will be even worse for the US and Ukraine. This is if, of course, the relevance of the resolution on Crimea will remain, because it can so happen that there won’t be anybody to submit it.