Shared Responsibility to History and Future – Part 4 | Daily News


 

Shared Responsibility to History and Future – Part 4

Putin lays flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. (Alexei Druzhinin/TASS)
Putin lays flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. (Alexei Druzhinin/TASS)

It is also important not to forget about the enormous material assistance that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics(USSR) provided to the liberated countries in eliminating the threat of hunger and in rebuilding their economies and infrastructure. That was being done at the time when ashes stretched for thousands of miles all the way from Brest to Moscow and the Volga.

For instance, in May 1945, the Austrian government asked the USSR to provide assistance with food, as it “had no idea how to feed its population in the next seven weeks before the new harvest.” State Chancellor of the Provisional Government of the Austrian Republic Karl Renner described the consent of the Soviet leadership to send food as a saving act that the Austrians would never forget.

The Allies jointly established the International Military Tribunal to punish Nazi political and war criminals. Its decisions contained a clear legal qualification of crimes against humanity, such as genocide, ethnic and religious cleansing, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Directly and unambiguously, the Nuremberg Tribunal also condemned the accomplices of the Nazis, collaborators of various kinds.

Russian soldiers wearing face masks marching toward Red Square to attend a dress rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Saturday, June 20, 2020. 

This shameful phenomenon manifested itself in all European countries. Such figures as Pétain, Quisling, Vlasov, Bandera, their henchmen and followers – though they were disguised as fighters for national independence or freedom from communism – are traitors and butchers. In terms of inhumanity, they often exceeded their masters. In their desire to serve, as part of special punitive groups they willingly executed the most inhuman orders. They were responsible for such bloody events as the shootings of Babi Yar, the Volhynia massacre, burnt Khatyn, acts of destruction of Jews in Lithuania and Latvia.

Today as well, our position remains unchanged – there can be no excuse for the criminal acts of Nazi collaborators, there is no period of limitations for them. It is therefore bewildering that in certain countries those who are smirched with cooperation with the Nazis are suddenly equated with World War II veterans. I believe that it is unacceptable to equate liberators with occupants. And, I can only regard the glorification of Nazi collaborators as a betrayal of the memory of our fathers and grandfathers and a betrayal of the ideals that united peoples in the fight against Nazism.

At that time, the leaders of the USSR, the United States, and the UK faced, without exaggeration, a historic task. Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill represented the countries with different ideologies, state aspirations, interests, cultures, but they demonstrated great political will, rose above the contradictions and preferences and put the true interests of peace at the forefront. As a result, they were able to come to an agreement and achieve a solution from which all of humanity has benefited.

The victor powers left us a system that has become the quintessence of the intellectual and political quest of several centuries. A series of conferences – Tehran, Yalta, San Francisco and Potsdam – laid the foundation of a world that for 75 years had no global war, despite the sharpest contradictions.

Historical revisionism, the manifestations of which we now observe in the West, primarily with regard to the subject of the Second World War and its outcome, is dangerous because it grossly and cynically distorts the understanding of the principles of peaceful development, laid down at the Yalta and San Francisco conferences in 1945. The major historic achievement of Yalta and other decisions of that time is the agreement to create a mechanism that would allow the leading powers to remain within the framework of diplomacy in resolving their differences.

Soviet soldiers of the 1st Baltic Front during fighting in the Latvian city of Jelgava, August 16, 1944. (Wikipedia)

The twentieth century brought large-scale and comprehensive global conflicts, and in 1945, nuclear weapons capable of physically destroying the Earth also entered the scene. In other words, the settlement of disputes by force has become prohibitively dangerous. And the victors in the Second World War understood that. They understood and were aware of their own responsibility towards humanity.

The cautionary tale of the League of Nations was taken into account in 1945. The structure of the UN Security Council was developed in a way to make peace guarantees as concrete and effective as possible. That is how the institution of the permanent members of the Security Council and the right of the veto as their privilege and responsibility came into being.

What is the power of veto in the UN Security Council? To put it bluntly, it is the only reasonable alternative to a direct confrontation between major countries. It is a statement by one of the five powers that a decision is unacceptable to it and is contrary to its interests and its ideas about the right approach. And other countries, even if they do not agree, take this position as a given, abandoning any attempts to realise their unilateral efforts. It means that in one way or another it is necessary to seek compromises.

A new global confrontation started almost immediately after the end of the Second World War and was at times very fierce. And the fact that the Cold War did not grow into the Third World War has become a clear testimony of the effectiveness of the agreements concluded by the Big Three. The rules of conduct agreed upon during the creation of the United Nations made it possible to further minimise risks and keep confrontation under control.

 
On April 30, 1945, two Soviet soldiers hoisted the red flag on the Reichstag Parliament building in Berlin. Even though it is now known that the scene for this photo was actually staged two days later, it remains one of the most famous images of the 20th century, symbolizing the victory over Hitler, the destruction of the Nazi party and the end of the World War II.

Of course, we can see that the UN system currently experiences certain tension in its work and is not as effective as it could be. But the UN still performs its primary function. The principles of the UN Security Council are a unique mechanism for preventing a major war or a global conflict.

The calls that have been made quite often in recent years to abolish the power of veto, to deny special opportunities to permanent members of the Security Council are actually irresponsible. After all, if that happens, the United Nations would in essence become the League of Nations – a meeting for empty talk without any leverage on the world processes. How it ended is well known. That is why the victor powers approached the formation of the new system of the world order with utmost seriousness seeking to avoid repetition of mistakes made by their predecessors.

The creation of the modern system of international relations is one of the major outcomes of World War II. Even the most insurmountable contradictions – geopolitical, ideological, economic – do not prevent us from finding forms of peaceful coexistence and interaction, if there is the desire and will to do so. Today the world is going through quite a turbulent time. Everything is changing, from the global balance of power and influence to the social, economic and technological foundations of societies, nations and even continents. In the past epochs, shifts of such magnitude have almost never happened without major military conflicts. Without a power struggle to build a new global hierarchy. Thanks to the wisdom and farsightedness of the political figures of the Allied Powers, it was possible to create a system that has restrained from extreme manifestations of such objective competition, historically inherent in the world development.

It is a duty of ours – all those who take political responsibility and primarily representatives of the victor powers in the Second World War – to guarantee that this system is maintained and improved. Today, as in 1945, it is important to demonstrate political will and discuss the future together. Our colleagues – Xi Jinping, Emmanuel Macron, Donald Trump and Boris Johnson – supported the Russian initiative to hold a meeting of the leaders of the five nuclear-weapon states, permanent members of the Security Council. We thank them for this and hope that such face-to-face meeting could take place as soon as possible.

Russia commemorates the Soviet Union's victory over the Nazis each year on May 9 with a massive military display. (Kremlin.ru) 

What is our vision of the agenda for the upcoming summit? First of all, in our opinion, it would be useful to discuss steps to develop collective principles in world affairs and to speak frankly about the issues of preserving peace, strengthening global and regional security, strategic arms control, about joint efforts in countering terrorism, extremism and other major challenges and threats.

A special item on the agenda of the meeting is the situation in the global economy. And above all, overcoming the economic crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Our countries are taking unprecedented measures to protect the health and lives of people and to support citizens who have found themselves in difficult living situations. Our ability to work together and in concert, as real partners, will show how severe the impact of the pandemic will be, and how quickly the global economy will emerge from the recession. Moreover, it is unacceptable to turn the economy into an instrument of pressure and confrontation. Popular issues include environmental protection and combating climate change, as well as ensuring the security of the global information space.

The agenda proposed by Russia for the upcoming Summit of Five is extremely important and relevant both for our countries and for the entire world. And we have specific ideas and initiatives on all the items.

The military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the Nazi defeat was postponed from May 9 due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic and took place yesterday. 

There can be no doubt that the summit of Russia, China, France, the United States, and the UK will play an important role in finding common answers to modern challenges and threats, and will demonstrate a common commitment to the spirit of alliance, to those high humanist ideals and values for which our fathers and grandfathers fought shoulder to shoulder.

Drawing on a shared historical memory, we can trust each other and must do so. That will serve as a solid basis for successful negotiations and concerted action for the sake of enhancing the stability and security on the planet, for the sake of prosperity and well-being of all states. Without exaggeration, it is our common duty and responsibility towards the entire world, towards the present and future generations.

(Concluded)


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