Russian Foreign Minister’s Remarks at the Forum of Supporters of the Struggle Against Modern Practices of Neocolonialism

Orinoco Tribune, February 28, 2024 —

The following speech was made by the foreign affairs minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, on February 16, 2024, at the “For the Freedom of Nations” Forum of Supporters of the Struggle Against Modern Practices of Neocolonialism, held in Moscow, Russia, during February 15-17, 2024.

Ladies and gentlemen, Colleagues, Friends,

I am glad to join in the greetings that have been extended to you. Our Forum is greeted with February frost, but I am convinced that traditional Russian hospitality and cordiality will warm you during these cold days. I am sure that this event will be fruitful.

Over the last three decades there has been a model of globalisation “engineered” by the United States and its closest allies, which has proved to be untenable. Western countries have led humanity not to prosperity, but to one of the most acute international crises since the Second World War. The conflict space in the world is expanding, and a deep split between the West and the countries of the Global Majority is emerging.

After the Soviet Union departed the world stage, the West began to impose its “rule-based order,” in fact, its undivided dominance in economics, finance, politics and culture. The “Golden Billion” enthusiastically embarked on neo-colonial development of the post-Soviet space, along with the countries of the Global South and East.

Abusing the trust of the world majority, the aggressive minority led by the United States improved colonial practices and did not hesitate to use force—as it happened in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and other countries of Asia and Africa.

The United States used such tools in the economic sphere as limiting opportunities for independent development, forcing countries to conclude unfair contracts, and siphoning off resources at low prices set on Western stock exchanges. The former colonial powers continuously apply illegal sanctions pressure on countries that refuse to submit to dictates and surrender their sovereignty and national identity.

The US embargo against the heroic Cuban people, sanctions against Venezuela, Iran, Nicaragua and many other countries, including the DPRK, have long been the main foreign policy tools of the “collective West.” The current generation of politicians in North America and Europe has apparently lost such diplomatic skills as the ability to negotiate.

I would like to provide several examples of the West’s attitude towards the Global Majority. In 2010, developing countries were promised $100 billion annually for 10 years as climate finance. However, the West was in no hurry to fulfil its obligations, allocating just crumbs from the promised funds. In 2015, the pledge of “$100 billion per year for 10 years” was reiterated in Paris. But nothing changed.

But the climate agenda was brought into play to gain market advantages over weaker countries. By outsourcing “dirty” production facilities to other countries, Western supporters of climate justice are imposing additional costs on Southern nations and pressuring them buy costly green technologies from the West. You can clearly see how the money that was pledged for development is being spent on supplying weapons to the Kiev regime and other military ventures.

The distribution of vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic also sheds light on this issue. From the outset, the West secured the majority of scarce vaccines, leaving the impoverished and vulnerable to fend for themselves. At the same time, international bodies controlled by the West deliberately delayed the certification of the Russian Sputnik vaccine, which could have saved millions of lives in developing countries. Western vaccines were certified in Europe almost immediately, bypassing standard procedures. But nobody was held accountable for any serious side effects resulting from these vaccines.

Another aspect of ​​neocolonialism involves imposing neoliberal ideologies at the expense of traditional spiritual and moral values. Concepts like gender diversity, drug legalisation, and transhumanism are part of this harmful policy.

Impunity with which the West conducts biological experiments on humans provokes outrage. According to recent information from the Russian Ministry of Defence, corroborated by journalists’ investigations, major European and US corporations conducted experiments on children and adults for minimal compensation in Mariupol, a city formerly controlled by the Kiev regime. These experiments involved drugs that severely suppressed the immune system and encouraged cancer cell growth, with the aim of spreading diseases and epidemics among Slavic populations.

The research materials they collected were sent to European laboratories, and their subsequent fate remains unknown. The West will never reveal the evidence exposing its illicit biological experiments to the global community. The neo-colonialists’ evasion of accountability violates numerous international agreements, including the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as treaties on biological and chemical safety. This demonstrates a blatant disregard for international law and, most importantly, human life.

The situation in Ukraine is a graphic example of how desperately the “world hegemon” is fighting to preserve its domination. Ukraine is a tool in the hands of its American puppet masters. Everyone understands that the future of the world order is at stake. In fact, what is being decided in Ukraine and around it is whether the world order will be fair, democratic and polycentric, or a narrow group of states succeeds in imposing a unipolar model on the international community, that is, a neocolonial division of the world into those who regard themselves as “exceptional” and the rest, whose role is to do the will of the “chosen people.”

President of Russia Vladimir Putin has presented a convincing analysis of these events in his numerous statements and interviews. Our choice in any situation is to hold talks with a view to finding a balance of lawful interests of all parties. I would like to emphasise the word “lawful.” If the United States and its allies prefer to persist in their hopeless attempts to impose “ultimatums” in the illusory hope of keeping hold on the slipping tools of their neocolonial hegemony, that’s their choice. But Russia is ready for this as well.

Neocolonialism is a dead-end road. Those who insist on following this path are doomed to being involved in a permanent conflict. Just look at the relations inside the Western camp, where one group of neocolonialists is already devouring another. The Americans are openly pumping resources out of Europe against the backdrop of economic challenges. They are already cutting Europe off from promising markets and reliable energy sources. With this aim in view, and without hesitating, they have blown up the Nord Stream-1 and Nord Stream-2 gas pipelines, ordering Germany and the rest of Europe to silently swallow this public humiliation. Europe meekly obeyed, having forgotten its former timid slogans of “strategic autonomy,” along with its self-esteem. Now, European industries are offered a choice between being relocated abroad and a total ruin. But the Europeans are grown-up people, so let them decide their destiny on their own.

A system of exploitation as represented by neocolonial practices cannot be justified by anything. The constructive alternative is to create a fairer and more sustainable multipolar system of international relations based on the UN Charter, primarily on the principle of sovereign equality of states. It is extremely important to ensure the application of the principle of indivisibility of security at the regional and global levels in the military-political, social and other dimensions.

The shaping of multipolarity is a historically natural and irreversible process. This is a world order that will reflect the cultural and civilisational diversity of the modern world and have regard for the right of every nation to determine its own destiny. New power centres, including the SCO, BRICS, the leaders of the African Union, ASEAN, CELAC and other integration unions of the Global Majority, play a key role in its context. It is necessary to work towards strengthening their positions in the international institutions, primarily the UN Security Council and G20, especially after the African Union’s accession to the Group. It is essential to develop horizontal ties between regional associations on different continents and build a network of constructive and mutually beneficial cooperation. BRICS could play a coordinating role on a global level.

At one time, Russia was the leader in promoting the decolonisation processes. Its victory in the Great Patriotic War, which was achieved at an enormous cost, made it possible to halt the West’s global expansion for several decades. Under the difficult Cold War conditions, the Soviet Union laid the foundation for industries in the friendly countries of the Global South and East, and helped them ensure their security and implement their right to sovereign development. In addition, the USSR’s inspiring example encouraged national liberation movements all over the world.

Despite Western pressure, Russia is again fighting not only for itself but also for the whole world (as President Vladimir Putin aptly put it). We believe that we need to pool our efforts so as, first of all, to develop the Global Majority’s common approaches to how it should understand neocolonialism and to complete the decolonisation work launched by Soviet diplomacy at the UN. After all, 17 territories are still under colonial dependence and the occupying countries will not liberate them despite the relevant UN resolutions.

It is time to pool the efforts of all the people here and other allies in starting a systematic effort to eradicate the neocolonial practices.

I am confident that this first international inter-party forum against modern neo-colonialist practices, headlined “For Freedom of Nations,” will be an important step on this road. We need to mobilise the responsible international community members to uphold justice in world affairs. The Group of Friends in Defence of the UN Charter has been established for this purpose. We urge all forum participants to vigorously support its activities.

In conclusion, I would like to wish all participants in today’s discussion productive work, new successes for the benefit of your countries, as well as universal prosperity and development based on mutual respect, indivisible security and mutually beneficial cooperation.

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