International law is not a means of exercising global ideological pressure by “civilized” states

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December 4, 2016 Russian president Vladimir Putin in his interview to the program “The results of the week” with Irada Zeynalova on the NTV Channel talked about the gradual recovery of the global balance of power. According to the Russian leader, partners of Moscow increasingly recourse to the international law, that is why it is possible to say that the attempts to establish a unipolar world have failed. Answering the question about why international actors tend to ignore Russia’s position Vladimir Putin said: “Key international actors preferred to act according to their geopolitical interests instead of the international law. These interests determined their actions in the international arena.”

Talking to Politanalitika, Oleg Denisov, lawyer and political commentator, explained how Russia can bring together international law and principles of political realism, that can once again become popular taking into account the situation in the international arena. Oleg Denisov noticed that the statements that Vladimir Putin made talking to the NTV are in line with the Foreign Policy Concept that he signed December 1, 2016.

— For the last two decades the USA, feeling like a winner of the Cold War, has been imposing its own exclusionary understanding of the major principles of the international law on the rest of the world. Among them were: national sovereignty, territorial integrity, right of peoples to self-determination, non-interference in internal affairs of other states. Unfortunately, we know the gloomy consequences of this, let have it straight, abuse of the international law.

In his interview to Irada Zeynalova Putin made it clear that this period was coming to an end. He said that the balance of power was recovering. That is why, so-called Russia’s partners understanding that they have not managed to build a unipolar world will have to deal with Moscow.

And to do this they will have to turn to the international law, since it is the only thing that allows to conclude an agreement. It will be necessary to remember that the international law cannot be interpreted by a strong player in his own geopolitical interests.

Russia’s Foreign Policy Concept approved last week by president’s decree says that Russia’s primary task is to ensure the rule of law in international relations. And to complete this task Russia is going to thwart other states’ attempts to interpret generally recognized rules of the international law, embodied in the UN Charter and other international law acts, the way they like.

So, the question is not about creating new norms and institutions instead of their “obsolete” prototypes. It is necessary to establish order and restore the principles existing since the Peace of Westphalia. It is necessary to remember that the international law should serve the interests of equal sovereign states on the basis of their mutual respect and that it should not be a means of exercising global ideological pressure in the hands of “civilized” states.

Today political realism is, in fact, an ability to recognize the necessity to hold this equal dialogue free of ideology.

Is the American president-elect Donald Trump ready to reject the ideology of globalism and enter into a dialogue with the US partners, that would be based on the respect towards these principles? We do not know this yet, but there is no doubt that Donald Trump respects the law. During his electoral campaign (including his speech in Gettysburg) he repeated that, first of all, he would engage in restoring constitutional law-and-order and repeal all the acts introduced by Barack Obama. Fingers crossed he will also establish order in the US foreign policy, switching it onto the international law track.

And one more important aspect. Russia’s respect towards the international law does not take away its sovereignty. Very soon, December 15, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation will consider the question of the enforcement of the ECHR decision to pay indemnity to the shareholders of Yukos Oil Company. The Constitutional Court’s legal stance is that the Constitution of the Russian Federation has primacy over the international agreements, even though they are an integral part of our legal framework. In the Yukos case this approach should be developed and the ECHR decision is likely to be found not binding by the Court.


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