Diplomatic rehabilitation opportunities?

June 7, 2014

If ever The Kremlin has the opportunity not only to partially undo, but also significantly rehabilitate itself on the global diplomatic stage, then June is the month for it to do so.

This month Russia assumed the chair of the United Nations Security Council – a particularly good and headline grabbing time to score diplomatic points and victories for the international and domestic audience.

Yesterday I tweeted:

And why not?

When your foreign policy is often considered obstructive by the vast majority of UN Members, Charter bodies and regional institutions, and when many a nation – particularly those that you neighbour – consider you to have crudely coercive, distabalising and unhelpful fingers in regional and global pies – sometimes quite rightly, other times less so – then it is not overly hard to score internationally significant diplomatic points and public relations coups by toning down your own actions to create progress and/or miracle solutions when sat in the ultimate headline grabbing UN diplomatic seat.

Add to that, in the case of Ukraine, a recent election that only sees the winner inaugurated at 10.oo hours tomorrow – thus allowing The Kremlin to blame other Ukrainian politicians for the bloody events of the past months in eastern Ukraine, rather than the new president – another diplomatic enabler presents itself.

Time to return the Russian Ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail Zurabov, after months of absence for “consultations”, when two such planets align?  It certainly is.

Whilst Crimea will rightly remain a durable problematic issue – any other progress can then be thrown to the war-readied Russian domestic audience as plausible Kremlin global leadership from the UN “hot seat” where others have failed – thereby also somewhat soothing rabid Russian societal ire whipped up by The Kremlin over the past few months too.

The question is whether The Kremlin will use these opportunities to tame its own actions to make its UNSC chair seen as an unqualified success – or not?

Is there a better time to take a solid pace back from current tactics – even if just to change them for another – when painting such steps as a major international victory is low hanging fruit that can be tossed to the baying  domestic masses as further proof of Russian superiority?

Such planets do not align often.  An interesting month within the UNSC awaits.


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