Today is a good day for me, following “FR”‘s translation of the Open Letter to Putin from German into English, I have just received the translation from Russian into English of what I consider a truly historical statement made by Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia’s lower house of parliament to the press corps (which, of course, never bothered translating a word of it) following the PACE’s disgusting vote on Russia. I want to express my deepest gratitude to “DV” for taking the time to translate this historical statement especially for this blog.
Here is the transcript in English:
Press-Conference of A. Pushkov
PUSHKOV: We think that those people who took part in making those decisions did not have the moral right to make them. The Georgian delegation should rather explain how Georgia killed 147 people in Tskhinval in August 2008 by the orders of Saakashvilli — which you all saw on your television screens. Tskhinval was bombed by “reactive” (rocket?) systems. 147 people died during this operation. What did we hear today from the Georgian delegates? That this did not happen. They bear responsibility for those killings.
Let us call things by their names. They will judge us for Crimea joining Russia which happened completely without the bloodshed and in accordance with the opinions and wishes of the people of Crimea. Georgia wanted to return to itself those territories on which she practiced genocide in 1991-1992 in an aggressive military way. There were people killed and this was acknowledged in OSCE(?) report which was prepared by Mr. ?. And everyone knows this.
… [ INTERRUPTION IN LIVE STREAM ] …
…with the result that their representatives — including those who advanced amendments about our exclusion — with the result of aggression against Iraq in 2003. Somehow I did not notice that those 20 governments who supported that aggression in one or another way, and which was declared illegal world-wide — this is known — were sanctioned here. Somehow we did not see this. The parliamentary assembly on this crime closes its eyes, even though in Iraq, as a result of that occupation and aggression, died some several thousand people — this is known. But no sanctions are implemented against those comrades.
I think that one should think about those governments who regularly in the past 20 years violated international law — bombing Belgrade, bombing Libya, occupying Iraq — do not have any moral right to make any decisions about the Russian delegation. And we completely disagree with this.
We also want to tell you that I think this very tense crisis between Russian and the Parliamentary Assembly of Europe (PACE) is tied to several things. Firstly, we see here the triumph of double standards. What we heard yesterday from the Ukrainian delegation is just comical — it causes uproarious(?) laughter. Ukraine has no problems except danger from Russia. Go to Ukraine. See how that country lives. See what is happening in the east, west, and south — look at Kiev and what the revolutionaries have turned it into. Talk to the families of those who were killed — not only on Maidan but those of the Party of Regions. How right-wing extremists came to their headquarters and killed two people just like that. One an engineer and one a soldier — who had no affiliation with the Party. Talk to them. Talk to the representative of the Southern Ukraine’s Communists, who was subjected to torture. They placed needles under his fingernails and beat him. This is all known. Talk to Simonyanka(?) who yesterday, or the day before yesterday, was beaten at the podium of the Rada by the representatives of Svoboda.
And what do we see here? We see an amendment to condemn Svoboda and “Right Sector” for racism, for ultra-nationalist views, for anti-Semitism, which the European Parliament called for in December 2012 — this did not originate from us. We see that this amendment does not get the support of even a third of the delegates. 51 or 52 people voted for this amendment. What can we discuss here? Can we discuss any unified standards of European Assembly? We are talking about the full and hideous triumph of double standards.
We also see that the supremacy of law does not concern this Assembly. The Ukrainian government was overthrown. This is very obvious. This is being discussed by the foremost lawyers not only in Russia, but also in Europe. We know very well that the Constitution was violated. How come when we discuss Crimea, our Ukrainian colleagues refer to the Constitution? How come when we try to discuss how they overthrew the President, how they took un-Constitutional decisions, there is no discussion? The Constitution holds sway in one case, but not the other. So what are we discussing here? And if someone here took it upon themselves, beside the Euro Left faction in the Parliamentary Assembly — the Euro Left faction was the only one who raised the question about the legality of what happened February 22nd in the Ukraine. At the very least, a decision should have been taken to look into this matter and then conduct discussions to understand whether those actions were or were not Constitutional. No! We are told ahead of time everything was Constitutional. Who decided this?
The Ukrainian Constitution describes how the President may be removed from power. A special commission is set up to investigate the reasons for impeachment. Then, a hearing in Constitutional Court about this question. And following, a vote for impeachment in the Rada. This is the Constitutional procedure for impeaching a President in the Ukraine. If everything happened in this manner, I can assure you, Russia would not have protested at all. Instead of this, what happened? The Constitutional Court was disbanded. Five people were ejected from the Constitutional Court including the head judge — notwithstanding their immunity. And people are trying to convince us this new power is legal and lawful?
The most unpleasant thing in this story is that the Parliamentary Assembly has betrayed its own principles. The majority in PACE have betrayed the principles of right, the supremacy of human rights, and the supremacy of law. The majority in PACE have taken care of the political interests’ of those governments who want the geopolitical assimilation of the Ukraine. I am very sad to say this because PACE was supposed to be an organization above politics. It was supposed to be an organization creating precise standards in that or another sphere(?) Russia is to blame…
UNKNOWN MAN: Sorry to stop you Mister. This is a press-conference not a political statement.
PUSHKOV: Who is saying this?
UKNOWN MAN: Me over here.
UNKOWN MAN: Here.
PUSHKOV: If you are not happy with my statement, [ unintelligible ]…
UNKOWN MAN: It has nothing to do with your st…
PUSHKOV: If you are not happy with my statement, please leave.
PUSHKOV: The Parliamentary Assembly of Europe (PACE) …
…[ PUSHKOV WAVES HAND ]…
PUSHKOV: Don’t put obstacles to what you say.
UNKOWN MAN: [ unintelligible ]
PUSHKOV: And so, the Parliamentary Assembly of Europe (PACE) betrayed those principles it was supposed to defend. I should say, not all members did that. Those representatives who took a nuanced, well-thought out position; those who voted against the decision to…Russia…
…[ DISTURBANCE IN THE AUDIENCE ]…
GERMAN JOURNALIST: Could you speak in English? Could you speak in English, please? We would like to understand what you are saying. Please.
…[ PUSHKOV WAVES HAND; MORE DISTURBANCE IN THE AUDIENCE ]…
GERMAN JOURNALIST: Please…can you speak in English?
PUSHKOV: Those people who voted for well though-out decision to leave an opportunity for Russia to work in the European Assembly — they, I think, deserve all possible support. Those who voted to have the Russian delegation stripped of most of its powers made a conscious decision. The continued presence of the Russian delegation in PACE no longer makes sense, and I want this to be understood. If the majority in PACE believe they hold the keys to history in their hands, they are mistaken. Decisions are not only made here. We also are making a decision about whether we should remain in this assembly. Our presence here is of our own free will — our presence in the European Assembly is of our own free will — but we may change our minds. Thank you.
GERMAN JOURNALIST: Could you speak in English? Please? We would like to understand you. My name is Petra Klingbar(?) from the German Press Agency.
…[ PUSHKOV AND FELLOW DELEGATES CONFER ]…
GERMAN JOURNALIST: Could you speak in English, please? So we could understand you. Thank you.
PACE RUSSIAN DELEGATE: I would like to say a few words. We here…
GEORGIAN JOURNALIST: Can I ask a question? Please, can I ask a question? This is Georgian Television.
PACE RUSSIAN DELEGATE: Later, later. Perhaps there will be a question time.
We here represent the large country of Russia. Everything we have heard here for the past two days, is upsetting for all of our country. That is first. Second, I would like to say that not one amendment we have tried to put forward was accepted. I even think that if I put forward an amendment that the Volga flows into the Caspian Sea, it would also not be accepted. The responsibility of the work of my colleagues…
GEORGIAN JOURNALIST: Don’t you think that perhaps Russia is mistaken and that it deserves these sanctions?
PACE RUSSIAN DELEGATE: Please let me finish. It seems to me, I am here…
GEORGIAN JOURNALIST: What, do you think the whole world is mistaken?
ANOTHER PACE RUSSIAN DELEGATE: Mr. Potyomka(?) is older than you, please let him finish.
GEORGIAN JOURNALIST: If I could ask a question? This is a press-conference.
PUSHKOV: Excuse me. If there will be further disturbances from the audience, we will finish this press-conference and leave. You can stay behind with your opinions and questions.
GERMAN JOURNALIST: There is no translation. We would like to understand what you are saying.
…[ PUSHKOV SHRUGS ]…
GERMAN JOURNALIST: But you speak very good English.
What is so important in the word of Pushkov?
First, this is the first time that a high ranking Russian diplomat who clearly “had it” decides to “hold up a mirror” so to speak to the EU officials and show them how ugly their faces are. Gone is the pretense of civility and friendship – Pushkov is calling the PACE delegates unprincipled hypocrites and liars whose lack of basic decency is total.
Second, Pushkov also tells the western corporate press to go to hell, well, not quite in these terms, but that is the substance of his reply when the press corps first tries to shut him up and then leaves the room.
In other words what Pushkov does is show his absolute contempt for the *cheap prostitutes* (there is no other way to put it) who would execute any order of their bosses, repeat any lie, deny any fact, no matter how obvious.
Of course, Pushkov does not use Mrs Nuland’s colorful expression, but the message is the same. So now both the USA and Russia have expressed their total contempt for the EU. God knows the latter really had it coming.
In conclusion I will say that Alexei Pushkov is really a “big shot” in Russia and not just he hold the powerful position of head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia’s lower house of parliament but also because he has his own weekly analytical program on the Russian TV called “post-scriptum” which is watched by a lot of people. He is a very smart man, impeccably educated, well-read and well-traveled. And he is a real diplomat, a man of a level of professionalism and expertise as Sergei Lavrov. All this is to say that his word carries a lot of weight, especially in the circles of power around the Kremlin.
Speaking of Lavrov, he also spoke for a full hour on Russian TV in the show “Sunday evening with Vladimir Soloviev” (a very well-known journalist) and his message was the same one: the EU has gone mad, and if they are dead set on a confrontation with us, we are quite ready.
As for Putin, he has had a public meeting with representatives of his Russian Popular Front movement and he is preparing for a lengthy TV “townhall meeting” on TV. All the signs are that his message will be the same one.
On March 1 of this year I warned that Russia was ready for war. It now appears that this war will not be hot (thank God for that!), but “cold” and primarily economic. I think that the PACE vote and the Russian reaction to it mark the beginning of active hostilities.
It shall be interesting to see what the EU muster in terms of “firepower” other than hot air and how much staying power all these EU prostitutes really have.
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