August 1 marks 45 years since the signing of the Helsinki final act — the founding document for security and cooperation in Europe. Meanwhile, the organization that, in theory, should translate its principles into practice, OSCE, recently is in a serious crisis. Due to disputes between member countries and backstage intrigue of the posts have lost the head of all its main structures, including the Secretary-General (see “Kommersant” on 17 July). That prevents the OSCE to be an effective structure and why the current crisis could go in her favor, the correspondent of “Kommersant” Elena Chernenko told, Russia’s permanent representative at the organization of Alexander Lukashevich.— The current crisis is just the personnel or the system?— OSCE and European security system in General are going through very difficult times. Some call it institutional crisis. I would call it a double crisis, not only human, of course. First and foremost is the ongoing identity crisis of the OSCE, which still are unable to find their niche in the system of European security, despite the fact that it has the mandate (in the form of the fundamental documents adopted at the highest level), and all the opportunities for its implementation.The OSCE is, in fact, remains a “discussion club”, which never gained a legal form, although it was a long time, including in accordance with the requirements of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. The crisis of the OSCE is a reflection of the overall systemic problems with ensuring security in Europe. What they are connected?— Here I have to go back to the history of the organization. Since 1950-ies one of the main foreign policy ideas of the Soviet leadership was the creation of a collective security system in Europe. The Soviet leaders wanted to replace NATO and the nascent European community then something collective and inclusive, where the Soviet Union could find a place. Then we discussed the various ideas until the security Council for Europe.To read further— This idea is now France promotes.— Then about the need for collective European security architecture were not in the USSR, similar ideas were in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, even in Sweden. This is all backed up by documentary evidence. But in parallel process of construction of collective nuclei in the Euro-Atlantic area, under the auspices of the United States. And because the United States first, just skeptical of the attempts to create a pan-European security structure, and then began to actively oppose this initiative because it could become a competitor to NATO.— But US officials always give high marks to the activities and value of the OSCE.— Not to be wordy, give a very vivid quote that characterized and still characterizes the ideology of the ADMunistrasi of the United States towards the OSCE. May 18, 1990, when the processes related to the preparation of the Paris summit of the CSCE (conference on security and cooperation in Europe, later renamed the Organization for security and cooperation in Europe.— “B”) and the Charter of Paris for a new Europe, then U.S. Secretary of state James Baker during a meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev said: “it’s Nice to talk about pan-European security structures, the role of the CSCE. This is a wonderful dream, but it is only a dream. And this time there is NATO, and the Alliance works”. This approach was accompanied by the whole process of formation of organization, development of the Helsinki final act, the Paris Charter and so on. The United States sought to prevent the emergence of competitors to their assigned or ideologically close to them structures in the security sector, including the European Union. This backlash was felt in recent decades. And this ideology continues to hinder the OSCE to become a full-fledged regional organization under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. She blocked all our attempts to reform the OSCE, to give it personality.So, to say that the current crisis is purely human and it arose because of the reluctance to reassign four of the leaders, this is ridiculous! This is an attempt to divert attention from the deep systemic problems in the organization.— If the US is the main “spoiler” in the OSCE, Russia is ready to demand their expulsion from the organization?— In any case! We strive to ensure that Americans understand that the creation of the CSCE / OSCE, the European process has become a widespread practice. Astana Declaration of 2010 emphasized the importance of forming a security community which is based on cooperation and will cover Europe, Euroatlantic and Eurasia. But the implementation of this idea, again, nobody works, because it would undermine the fundamentals of decision-making in other Euro-Atlantic structures. There is geo-strategic competition. A considerable strengthening of the role of the OSCE in the European security system will reduce the influence of NATO and the European Union.— And it’s the Americans is not profitable?— Absolutely. And it is unambiguous assessment arising from all of their attempts to hinder the institutional development of the OSCE.— Well, if they interfere with the development of the organization, then why not initiate the question of their exclusion?— While we have procedures. We are a group of States with the end of the 1990s struggle with that the organization has received formal legal status to all necessary constituent documents, which among other things would indicate the rules of operation of all parts of the OSCE and the modalities for the participation of States. But these attempts are blocked by Americans and a number of other sWestern countries.— And Russia in this situation, she wants to go out? Can spit on it? No, Russia has always been very clearly committed to the OSCE — with all the nuances and flaws of this organization. We see all of its shortcomings, but at the same time we are convinced that this organisation’s potential is far from exhausted. The more that the slam the door not our method. And the OSCE is a unique platform for dialogue and cooperation. To re-create such a mechanism in the current situation is simply impossible. It can and should be strengthened, but this requires political will. It is now reminiscent of the “discussion club”, but in fact it was created in order to make collective decisions in the security field. All the necessary decisions for this long accepted — and at the highest level — but they are not executed.— Since the last OSCE summit in Astana, it took almost 10 years, are there any plans to hold another meeting of heads of state? There would have discussed all the problems.— Unfortunately, given the current global problems and crisis in the OSCE itself, the prospect of the summit is not visible. Yes what there to speak, even at the annual meeting of the Ministers of foreign Affairs less of the foreign Ministers of major countries come. They have lost interest in the OSCE do not believe in it, they have plenty of other problems. Meanwhile, the organization could make a major contribution to their resolution, if she was given to earn in full force.— Maybe the reform could be carried out if the to abolish the consensus rule? And any of the 57 countries may block a decision, even if the 56 States support it.— Consensus is a fundamental principle on which rests the OSCE. Attempts to revise this rule are undertaken, including Americans, who propose to depart from it when considering personnel matters or operational decisions. We see this as undermining fundamental principles of the OSCE. The consensus rule creates equal opportunity for States and gives them the guarantee of respect for their sovereignty.— But you yourself say that Americans sabotaged.— Yes, but there need other methods. Nobody questioned the importance of consensus inside NATO or the European Union. Consensus is the moment of truth. It is the art of multilateral diplomacy, the art of searching and finding compromises. Yes, sometimes we all have to move away from their original positions in order to create conditions for reaching collective decisions. But otherwise, no way. Another thing is that Western States are often involved in this process as independent members of the OSCE, that is, not as national delegations, but as members of associated unions and alliances. For example, France or Germany can’t make decisions without looking at the European Union and NATO. But this is in direct contradiction to the procedural PRAvila of the OSCE, which stipulates that all countries are in the organization, in its national capacity.— Russia stands without regard to integration structure, which it is a member?— We are absolutely sovereign. But always share your feedback with our partners in the Eurasian Union, CSTO, CIS. If our positions coincide, we can act collectively.— Russia has repeatedly criticized the OSCE for the staffing imbalance that does not reflect its geographical coverage, as the head of the key agencies there were no representatives of post-Soviet countries (except Baltic States). In your opinion, will this issue affect the current staffing crisis?— Yes. I would say that the current crisis is a sad but logical result of the lack of desire to take arguments of other States. In 2017, at an informal Ministerial meeting in the Austrian Mauerbach Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov has made it clear that we agree on four of the appointees from the Western camp, but the situation is not deadlocked. It was then very strong candidates from the CIS countries, but they were removed for political reasons. The West simply could not imagine that the General Secretary could be, for example, the representative of Belarus. It is for them wildly. They believe that the OSCE is a Western institution such as NATO and the EU.But the Eastern countries in the organization have the right to expect the appointment. And for the entire period of OSCE headed by its Executive structures was not a single representative of the Commonwealth! This is an obvious discrimination and blatant injustice. Then in Mauerbach, the Russian delegation made it clear that will not block the appointment, but will not allow this imbalance.— And now Moscow did not exert pressure on Dushanbe and Baku so that they blocked the mandates of Western European officials? Because of this, it actually began staffing the crisis.— In any case! In the Arsenal of the Russian foreign policy, no instruments such as pressure, sanctions, “carrots and sticks” and so on. We are very sensitive to sovereign rights. Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey was absolutely entitled to Express his dissatisfaction in relation to them acting heads of the relevant structures. For example, how can we judge the actions of the authorities of any country and criticize the decisions of its Parliament, has never visited her? You’re talking about the former OSCE representative on freedom of the media Arlene désiré and his critical assessment of the processes in Azerbaijan?— In this case, Yes. We understand and claim of Tajikistan, which has repeatedly stated about the inadmissibility of invitations to annual review meetings of the Office for democratic institutions and human rights (ODIHR.— “B”) representatives of military groups declared the goal of regime change in the country (the party of Islamic revival of Tajikistan; the Islamic Renaissance party.— “B”).— But the IRP is not prohibited by the United Nations.— No, it is not prohibited. But it is outlawed in Tajikistan. The United Nations has no such review meetings. And then I personally witnessed how one of the members of the group during the meeting, approached the Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs of Tajikistan and started threatening him with violence.— So you feel justified that these countries have blocked the reappointment of the representative on freedom of the media and ODIHR Director?— We were sympathetic to their arguments. But we are very sorry that failed to reach a compromise, although it was possible. Serious claims were made only against the two leaders. But against the Secretary-General and the high Commissioner on national minorities initially, no one spoke. Only then, they are already voted a number of countries as a kind of retribution. We opposed the “package deal” and offered at least extend the mandates of those against whom no objection. But the prevailing Western logic, which, in fact, led to what eventually happened.But overall I think this development is only for the benefit of the organization.”The monopoly of the” West to Executive agencies, of course, when something should have been completed. I hope that there are worthy candidates “to the East of Vienna” and the competition will be fair.— Russia will nominate someone?— I can’t exactly say, but probably still no. We will probably give preference to the collective candidates from the CIS.— We are talking about candidates for all four posts?— Yes, all four. However, we believe that no more “package solutions” will not. Each head their mandate, and candidates for appropriate positions should be considered individually.— And how much money makes Moscow in the annual budget of the organization? The departed General Secretary Thomas Greminger has repeatedly said that the OSCE has no money. If Russia plans to increase its contribution?— There is indeed a problem with the scales of contributions. Not all in proportion to invested in this organization, and have no desire to change anything. I think it is appropriate to say that Western countries keep the organization on a starvation diet, they recently again called for zero growth budget of the organization. At the same time last year, many said that we need to increase the financing of the OSCE. But when it come to real money, a budget increase was not approved despite the fact that part of it is “eaten” by inflation and fluctuations. In the end the amount of funds allocated directly to the programme objectthe EIT is reduced. Russia is making a regular OSCE budget of about €7 million 700 thousand, While the level of Russian representation in the OSCE structures are not comparable with our contribution. I want to assure the taxpayers that in the current circumstances, increase contribution rates in our country in the OSCE we will not allow.— There are still occasional contributions for special projects, which Russia is also, as I understand it, is spent. The most ambitious such mission of the OSCE work in Ukraine. In light of the recently achieved the breakthrough agreement on a truce do you see a new “window of opportunity” for the OSCE in this region?— Yes, indeed the OSCE has launched an unprecedented mission on Ukraine. Such a large-scale multinational mission under the auspices of the OSCE symbolizes that the international community is very interested in the peaceful settlement of the conflict. This mission “eyes and ears” of the international community in Ukraine. At the same time, many forget that she was not only endowed with a monitoring mandate. She has the right to verify compliance, including in the humanitarian field, including human rights. The mission also needs to promote dialogue between the conflict sides to reduce tensions and promote normalization. Even though it is a civilian mission, its mandate can be called actually peacekeeping. But while its main efforts were concentrated on monitoring the situation.— That is, you believe that the mission could do more?— Absolutely. She has done a lot. But it is important not to lose sight of the objective of promoting dialogue, since the latter arrangement showed that direct contacts between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk is possible even in the face of coronavirus, using video conferencing, to come to important agreements. SMM, I am sure, will closely monitor the implementation of the agreements.But overall, the OSCE could play in the settlement process and the implementation of the Minsk agreements a more prominent role. And they, despite recent positive developments, remain unfulfilled.There is, on the contrary, the movement in the opposite direction. I’m talking about the decision of the Verkhovna Rada to appoint elections to government-controlled territory, to push aside the Donbass. This, of course, tripping the settlement process. “The package of measures” assumes a completely different scheme of action: the testing of modalities for these elections, the fixing of the special status in the Constitution of Ukraine on a permanent basis and the coordination of all legal aspects of this special status under the laws of Ukraine. None of this made. The political track is zero, as well as the humanitarian component of the Minsk agreements. Need a very hard decision of the Ukrainian leadership to change the law and to combine this with the requirementions of the “package of measures”.