On October 11, 2022, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution by a massive majority of 143 in favor, 5 against, and 35 countries abstaining calling on countries not to recognize the annexation by Russia of four regions of Ukraine. The resolution observed that the regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporozhye were temporarily occupied by Russia as a result of aggression, and in violation pf Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence. The resolution also demanded that Russia reverse its "attempted illegal annexation."
Russia's lopsided loss at the UNGA was noticed by Nezavisimaya Gazeta's foreign affairs analyst Gennady Petrov in a piece titled "The Kremlin Will Have To Function In Diplomatic Semi-Isolation". According to Petrov, since the special operation began, the official media parroted the line that Russia was far from isolated but was backed by a majority of the world's nations and population. This anti-Western majority was based on a common aversion to America's hegemonistic pretensions, the trampling of traditional values, and opposition to colonialism. This majority failed to show up at the UN vote, and Russia was forced into the embarrassing position of seeking a secret ballot.
Petrov's article appears below:
Vote condemning Russia's annexations in Ukraine passes UN General Assembly by a crushing margin (Source: Rbc.ru)
Last week, paradoxically for Russia, a UN General Assembly vote took place on a resolution condemning the annexation of the territories of Kherson, Zaporozhye and Donbass to the Russian Federation. It is paradoxical for two reasons. First, on March 2, the General Assembly already pronounced itself effectively, on the same issue. Then there was a vote on a resolution condemning Russia's military operation in Ukraine. Now, it was proposed to condemn the existing result of these actions. Secondly, and most importantly, the United States, the resolution's ideological mastermind, is asking the world to express its attitude to the special operation, and not Russia, which, it would seem, should be interested in this statement to the greatest extent.
The Russian commentators and officials are constantly saying that the conflict with Ukraine is not merely a conflict between two neighboring states, but an element of some global process: the destruction of the American-centric world order, a global movement to protect traditional values trampled by the West, part of the Russian "pivot to Asia", or even the fight against neo-colonialism. There have been plenty of words on this topic from the rostrums and TV screens over the past eight months. And what has been said boils down to one thing - Russia is fighting for itself and, as they say, "for that guy." Where is he, "that guy"? Since the universal battle between good and evil has already begun, the forces of good must somehow be mobilized or at least identified, especially if we are really talking about power: the non-European world, Asia gaining economic and political weight, etc.
Russia, seemingly even for purely pragmatic reasons, should be interested in pointing out who remains dissatisfied with the cruel dictator, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the United States, Someone has to help circumvent the sanctions and otherwise support the Russian struggle. Instead, Russia advocated discussing the “Ukrainian issue” exclusively in the UN Security Council, where our country has the right of veto, or insisted on a secret ballot, which does not tally with the logic of previous Russian actions and statements.
It seems that the explanation for this paradox is basically in the voting on both resolutions, in March and October, which ended up to be practically the same. Russia was supported by four countries, 35 abstained from voting. And condemned - 141 in March and 143 in October. This is from 193 member countries of the General Assembly. The result is very revealing.
The October voting differed from the March one in nuances. In addition to Belarus and Syria, which are closely connected with Russia economically and politically, as well as North Korea, which is ready to support anyone, as long as he doesn't favor of sanctions against this country, Eritrea endorsed the [Russian position on the] spring resolution. It's not just that this East African state has been ruled by autocrat Isaias Afewerki for almost 30 years now, under Western sanctions and accused of human rights violations - everything we love. Even at the beginning of the year, Eritrea held out hopes for the implementation of joint projects with Russia, primarily the construction of a logistics center. Relations between the two countries were built around this topic. Now there is another concern. Eritrea, together with Ethiopia quite loyal to Washington, resumed hostilities in the rebellious Ethiopian state of Tigray. And accordingly moved into the category of abstentions. Its place among the ranks of Russia's supporters was taken by Nicaragua, the relations of whose leader, Daniel Ortega, whose relations with the United States have conversely deteriorated sharply over the past six months. The US ambassador is banned from entering the country. The US, in turn, did not invite Nicaragua to the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. How far this quarrel will go is not clear, but there is no guarantee that the country's position will not change. And Ortega can change his mind, as happened to him more than once, and he himself is in his 77th year. In addition, the complete dependence of the Nicaraguan economy on exports and imports to the United States has not gone anywhere under his rule.
Meanwhile, there is now a new "left turn" in Latin America. Except that the young leftist leaders of Colombia, Peru and Chile voted in unison for a resolution condemning Russia. Also voting for the resolution was Brazil a member of the BRICS club (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). Moreover, Brazil's position will not change, even if at the end of October in the second round of the presidential elections, the incumbent right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro loses to the left-wing Lula de Silva. Both the one and the other condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine.
Iran will most likely turn out to be the same sort of situational ally. It which cannot reach an agreement with the West on restoring the "nuclear deal". In the Western press, Iran is accused of supplying drones to the Russian Federation. But in March, Iran abstained from voting in the UN General Assembly, and now it does not vote. The hope for Myanmar did not come true either. This country's authorities are under pressure from the West, but their own problems with separatism and disputes over borders are so painful for them that they do not allow them to be on Russia's side.
With two abstentions (Algeria and Sudan), the Arab world supported the resolution condemning the Russian Federation. Europe as well fully (if we don't count Belarus) approved it and Europe. Hungary, Turkey and Serbia voted for the resolution. In the last case, Deputy Prime Minister Zorana Mihajlovic offered to officially join the anti-Russian sanctions.
However, unofficially, Serbia will have to do this irrespective of the point of view of the country's President Aleksandar Vučić, who came to power as a supporter of rapprochement with Moscow. Due to its geographic position, it will have to comply with the requirements of the price ceiling for Russian oil, introduced from December by the EU.
Most African countries supported the resolution of the General Assembly, but amongst them there was the largest number of abstainers. These included the Central African Republic and Mali, where, allegedly, virtually pro-Russian forces came to power. Burkina Faso, where following a recent coup, crowds walked around the capital's streets with Russian flags. All this only confirms that even for African countries that are supposedly counting on Russia's loyalty, Russia's conflict with Ukraine is not something fundamentally important. In any case, it is not that important as to quarrel with the United States or France over it.
And what about the two countries that we usually rely on - India and China? They abstained in both March and October. Moreover, official representatives of both countries gave explanations, from which it follows that their position should be construed purely as proof of adherence to the course of peacefully resolving the conflict and nothing else. "The international community should encourage the parties concerned to resume peace talks as soon as possible, offer reasonable terms in the negotiations, and create conditions for a cessation of hostilities," said the Chinese Deputy Ambassador to the UN Geng Shuang. That is, according to the Chinese official, the world community should “encourage” Russia as well. In this regard, we should recall the September statement by Wang Wenbin, Deputy Director General of the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, who called China and Ukraine strategic partners. “We are successfully maintaining contacts with Kyiv at all levels, stepping up cooperation on the implementation of projects of the One Belt, One Road initiative. With regard to the Ukrainian crisis, we invariably take an objective and fair position,” he said then, thus once again demonstrating that neutrality on some issues should not necessarily be considered as evidence of covert support for Russia.
From the votes on anti-Russian resolutions in the UN General Assembly, we can conclude that even those particularly dissatisfied with the United States no longer consider Moscow, as during the Cold War, a valued alternative to the "first world." Therefore, alliances on an anti-Western basis with it will be considered by their participants as temporary, and calculation driven, and not necessarily related to Russia. Other countries, which did not directly support the position of official Kyiv, perceive the conflict in Ukraine as an annoying nuisance. As a problem that should be fixed as soon as possible. It is from this fact, of which Russian diplomacy is cognizant, that Russia will have to proceed in implementing its foreign policy.