Sincere thanks to Mr. Macron for his sensible advice

“We are not naïve, but we should start a dialogue with Russia in order to find solutions when it is necessary,” these words were said by President of France Emmanuel Macron during his visit in Latvia.

I know that the French president will never read this, but I would like to thank him for his advice and share my thoughts and some historical facts.

We must remember that political dialogue with Russia does not mean talking to Russia as a whole, but instead talking to the authoritarian “term-zero” president Vladimir Putin.

Did anyone tell Mr. Macron that Putin once responded to Latvia’s attempts to engage in dialogue by saying that the only thing we can expect are the ears of a dead donkey?

Quite recently, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid also attempted to begin a dialogue with Russia. Kaljulaid’s attempt ended with the Russian embassy sending her a bottle of “Crimean champagne”. Naturally, she refused to accept the bottle of the strange brew and sent it back. But this only signifies that for Russian diplomacy the term “dialogue” can also mean a dumb and infantile joke.

No one also told Mr. Macron that Putin’s level of education is stuck somewhere between the lying propaganda cliches of the era of Brezhnev and Stalin. Not long ago, Putin announced that the Baltic states were incorporated into the USSR “legitimately”.

Historians could only roll their eyes because facts remain facts – the occupation was carried out by ignoring the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia. Putin could have also added that in 1941 and 1949 the hundreds of thousands of deported people from the Baltic states cheerfully bought tickets to go on a trip to Siberia.

Additionally, it is possible that no one bothered to inform Mr. Macron that among Putin’s chekists the concept of “win-win” does not mean that both sides benefit. In Putin’s diplomacy, as confirmed by numerous qualified experts, it means something entirely different – for Putin “win-win” means to deceive not once, but twice.

I must add that it is nothing new for France to invite the Kremlin to a dialogue. Back in 1990, France urged Lithuania to give up its attempts at independence, i.e. it suggested Lithuania should engage in a dialogue with Putin’s mourned communist regime (see the attached image from the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, 1990). This invitation to a dialogue from by Paris and Bonn (capital of West Germany) ended with Russian tanks appearing in the capital of Lithuania.

I would be grateful if Mr. Macron kept in mind that Russia is an underdeveloped and corrupt country that has plenty of poison and blood on its hands. Russia with its population of 140 million is an economic midget compared to the European Union with its population of 500 million. The EU spends 3-4 times more on defense than Russia does, and we will not even begin discussing differences in the level of science and technology.

Mr. Macron along with the rest of the leaders of EU member states represent an entity which plays on a drastically higher league than Putin’s Russia. And we should speak with aggressive international bullies like serious people should – strictly and decidedly. This is the only dialogue possible with international aggressors and clinical liars.

The views expressed within Modern Diplomacy are solely those of the authors in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of the Modern Diplomacy, its Advisory and Editorial Boards, Sponsors, Partners, or Affiliates.

Otto Ozols
Otto Ozols
Columnist/journalist from Latvia