Novye Izvestia was looking for an answer to this question together with the invited experts: military observer, writer and reserve colonel Viktor Litovkin and political strategist, political observer and former deputy head of the South Ossetian presidential administration Lev Pavlyuchkov.
Most people associate peacekeeping mission with military personnel and policemen wearing blue helmets with the logo of the United Nations. And this is understandable: the UN began to conduct peacekeeping operations in 1948, and since then 68 peacekeeping missions have been launched, 14 of which are still ongoing. Moreover, the oldest of them, in the Middle East, caused by the Arab-Israeli war, has not been completed.
But behind the blue helmets are people from different countries, including Russia (formerly from the Soviet Union). The peacekeeping contingent of Russia in the UN missions is small - not even up to 50 people, but consists mainly of observers. But on the other hand, our country regularly pays contributions to the UN budget for peacekeeping. For fiscal 2019 - 2020 (at the UN it starts on July 1), it shrank a little compared to the previous period and amounted to $ 6.5 billion, which is almost half a trillion rubles at the current exchange rate. This is how much it costs to maintain peace in the world . At least in some parts of it, mainly in Africa.
But Russia's contributions to the UN are by no means the largest. We are only in 8th place and provide 3.04% of the proceeds (198 million dollars or 15 billion rubles). In fact, peacekeeping operations in the world are supported by the United States, which provides 27.89% of revenues (1.8 billion dollars or 140 billion rubles), and China with 15.21% (989 million dollars, or 76 billion rubles). All steel countries including Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Korea are lagging far behind.
If Russia regularly pays its contributions to the UN, then why not raise the issue of bringing in these particular peacekeepers? Moreover, such ideas arose - the United States proposed to send military men from Scandinavia to Nagorno-Karabakh. At first glance, there are no obstacles, even as Viktor Litovkin explains, generous funding from the United States is not a problem:
- The United States and China cannot influence the peacekeeping mission. The decision to conduct a peacekeeping operation is taken by the UN Security Council. If such a decision is made, it does not matter who paid how much. This is how the UN mechanism works.
The one who pays, the one who orders the tune - this is not about the UN. Lev Pavlyuchkov sees the main reasons for the introduction of the Russian contingent without UN assistance in national characteristics and traditions.
- At the moment, there is a certain successful continuity in the issue of confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Exactly 30 years ago, Russian peacekeepers were brought in, when the first phase of the conflict over the formation of the Artsakh Republic took place. Today's difference from that situation is the strong influence of Turkey, which clearly positions itself as a regional superpower. Nevertheless, the Russian peacekeepers, in my opinion, are able to repeat the success of the separation of the sides. And in this case it is pointless to arrange a booth, inviting "blue helmets" from Bangladesh, as is usually done, or "blue helmets" from Romania, to put it mildly. Colleagues are not able to understand the specifics of the conflict, the terrain, the mentality as well as the Russian peacekeepers. It is no secret that both sides use the Russian language as communications, and even this is the answer to the question of why Russian peacekeepers will undoubtedly be more effective in separating the parties and forming a safe corridor of interaction between Armenia and the regions of Nagorno-Karabakh. You shouldn't try to experiment with peacemakers, because such experiments can cost lives.
Viktor Litovkin also adheres to the point of view that an appeal to the UN could be not only ineffective, but also cost many lives. Only the reason is completely different - time.
- It was necessary to introduce the contingent urgently to prevent the genocide of the Armenian population of Karabakh. Another 2-3 days, and the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh could be covered by a disaster. And in the UN it was possible to make a decision for an infinitely long time - it is very difficult there. And what is Karabakh for the UN? This is not Yugoslavia or Afghanistan.
It turns out that there was not much choice. Either Russia introduces peacekeepers by agreement of the parties, or lets the conflict go to the mercy of fate with an unpredictable ending. This position clearly does not correspond to positioning as a leader in the post-Soviet space. The intensification of the armed conflict on the EAEU border, which at least will hinder trade turnover, is also not in Russia's interests. And peacekeeping operations are nothing new to us. Our soldiers took part in the conflict on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, calmed the situation in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria, were present in Tajikistan. There were also peacekeeping operations in Angola, Sudan, Burundi and other African countries. I have experience.
But unlike all previous peacekeeping missions, which were carried out either in the 90s, when the army was on starvation rations, or together with UN forces and the corresponding budgets, this time you will have to pay in full. But we will talk about this in more detail in the second part of our material.