The political leadership of the modern Russian Federation has repeatedly proved in practice that compliance with international agreements is an empty phrase for him if imperial aggressive aspirations are at stake.
While all civilized highly developed countries recognize the priority of international law over national law, Russia, without a twinge of conscience, violates bilateral and multilateral treaties. But is it any wonder? This tradition did not exist yesterday or the day before yesterday but in much more distant times. For example, the Soviet Union (the successor of which is the Russian Federation) was also characterized by treacherous behavior in the international arena.
Let’s turn to the period of the 1930s. At that time, the USSR had, to put it politely, quite tense relations with Poland. In order to normalize them after lengthy negotiations on July 25, 1932, the parties signed a non-aggression agreement. According to its terms, Poland and the USSR recognized sovereignty, mutual borders, and territorial integrity of each other. This agreement was designed for three years, and after was extended until December 31, 1945.
However, the Soviet Union flagrantly violated the treaty by signing a secret protocol to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, in which, among other things, were provided splitting Poland into spheres of influence and guarantee of the USSR’s neutrality if Germany war against Poland. After this, Nazi Germany invaded Poland, breaking out the Second World War. September 17, 1939, when the Polish Armed forces were bleeding in an unequal struggle with the aggressor, the USSR also attacked its neighbor, hypocritically calling this operation a “liberation campaign.” At 3 a.m., the Polish ambassador to Moscow, Waclaw Grzybowski, received the Soviet note saying: “The Polish-German war revealed the internal failure of the Polish state… The Polish government has been broken up and shows no signs of life. This means that the Polish state and its government have virtually ceased to exist. Thus, the treaties concluded between the USSR and Poland have been terminated”. The content of this note was a deliberate lie. The Polish state at that time continued to exist and wage a defensive war against Germany. The Polish government was still in the territory of its country, leaving it only a day later – on the night of September 18. However, for Moscow, these facts did mean absolutely nothing. Having deployed its troops, the USSR annexed more than 50% of the territory of pre-war Poland.
Polish diplomats in Moscow were able to escape abroad only thanking the intercession – oddly enough – of Nazi Germany’s and Fascist Italy’s ambassadors. Others were less fortunate. For example, the Consul General of Poland in Kyiv, Jerzy Matusinsky, despite diplomatic immunity, was arrested by the NKVD, taken to Moscow, and soon shot in the basements of the Lubyanka.
Another example. Almost at the same time, when the Soviet-Polish Non-aggression Treaty was signed on January 21, 1932, the USSR government concluded a similar agreement with Finland. The document remained in force till the end of 1945. However, at the very beginning of World War II, the Soviet leadership decided to invade Finland, using the “the false flag operation” as casus belli.
On November 26, 1939, the Soviet units fired at their own troops near the border village of Mainila. Three soldiers and one junior leader were killed; seven more soldiers and two of the command staff were injured. Immediately after this, the USSR accused the Finnish side of deliberate provocation – the shelling of Soviet troops. In response, the Finns cited evidence that they did not have artillery on the border and also offered to start negotiations on the mutual troops’ withdrawal from the border. The Soviet Union rejected the offer and treacherously attacked Finland on November 30, 1939. Moreover, to cover up its aggression, the Soviet leadership created the puppet “Finland Democratic Republic”, which from now allegedly represented the interests of the Finnish people. The legitimate government of Finland was declared to escape the country, although it has been continued to work in Helsinki.
Thus the “Winter War” started, and in its result at the cost of enormous and unwarranted loss, the USSR occupied a significant part of the Finnish territory. Thus, it pushed Finland to the alliance with Germany and made of it a dangerous enemy who was dreaming to restore justice. Another implication of the aggression was the expulsion of the USSR from the League of Nations under the decision of 28 out of
40 member states of the organization.
The Russian Federation acts similarly after the USSR collapsed, claiming itself its successor. For example, as is well known, during the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict, Moscow supported the self-proclaimed separatist Republic of South Ossetia, trying to weaken Georgia and to rump up own influence in the Caucasus. June 24, 1992, The President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin and the Chairman of the State Council of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze signed the Sochi Agreement. Russia committed to withdrawing from South Ossetia its engineer-sapper and helicopter regiments deployed there.
During the next 16 years, the Russian authorities fomented separatist tendencies in the region, granted Russian citizenship to South Ossetians, which was a clear contravention of Georgian sovereignty. In August 2008, the Sochi Agreement was finally buried – Russian troops invaded Georgia. After that, Moscow recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but since only four UN member states have followed it – Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru, and Syria. The vast majority of the UN members consider South Ossetia and Abkhazia the integral part of Georgia. The 2008 war led official Tbilisi to sever diplomatic relations with Moscow and to withdraw from the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Russia has played a similar role in the Georgian-Abkhaz war of 1992-1993, achieved the withdrawal of Georgian heavy weapons from Sukhumi, and later supported in any possible way with military equipment and supplies the Abkhazian separatists’ offensive, culminating with the seizure of the Abkhaz region – the part of the sovereign state of Georgia.
In the same vein, the Russian leadership behaved with Moldova. The Russian Federation strongly supported formation by the Transnistrian separatists the “authorities” independent from Moldova, including police and state security structures, as well as financial and tax ones. Acting explicitly under the Kremlin leadership guidance military command of the 14th Army supplied the separatists with arms and uniforms and took an active part in the Transnistrian war on the side of the Tiraspol thuggish regime. Later, up to this day, the Russian Federation has been permanently supporting the Transnistrian separatists, pressuring the legitimate Moldova authorities, trying to force our country to recognize them an “equal party” in the negotiations and to accept the existence of the “independent Transnistrian state”, which is out of the question.
Moreover, contrary to the requirements of the international organizations, including the UN, Russia has been keeping its military contingent at the territory of our country.
The Russian leadership has acted in the same manner towards Ukraine. The year of 2014 has become a breakthrough in the history of Russian-Ukrainian relations. The illegal annexation of Crimea, the Russian troops’ invasion of the Donbas, creation, and support of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic” have dashed 407 bilateral and 80 international agreements regulated Russian-Ukrainian relations. The most important of them are listed below:
1) The Helsinki Accords of August 1, 1975, for providing the principles of inviolability of borders, territorial integrity of States, noninterference in the internal Affairs of foreign States;
2) The Budapest Memorandum of December 5, 1994, in which Russia recognized the sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine, committed them to refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine;
3) The Agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine on conditions of the section of the black sea fleet of 28 May 1997;
4) The Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine of May 31, 1997, recognized the inviolability of existing borders, respect for territorial integrity and containing a mutual obligation not to use their territory to the detriment of each other;
5) The Agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine on the Ukrainian-Russian state border (January 28, 2003);
6) The Treaty between the Russian Federation and Ukraine on cooperation in using the Azov sea and the Kerch Strait (December 24, 2003), in which both countries have freedom of navigation across the waters of the sea of Azov, and the Kerch Strait is the part of their internal waters;
7) The Kharkov Agreements of April 21, 2010, on the extension of the stay of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation in the Crimea until 2042.
The UN General Assembly adopted the Resolution on March 27,
2014 68/262 On the Territorial Integrity of Ukraine. This decision was supported by 100 of the UN member states. The aggressive actions of Russia were supported by
10 countries only.
Despite this, the political leadership of the Russian Federation continues to demonstrate that will not fulfill its international obligations in the future. For example, in January 2020, Vladimir Putin announced amendments to the basic law of Russia under which the Constitution will be taken precedence over international law. And this is in spite of the fact that the Russian Federation is a party to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, under which no provision of its internal law is justification for its failure to perform a treaty.
But, to adopt these amendments, Russia does officially confirm to the entire world that no treaty with Russia is worth the paper it is written on.