Russia’s UN presidency: hard to take, but right


Status: 04/25/2023 04:19 am

One should be glad that Russia is still sitting at the table of the world community – hard as that may be to bear, especially during Moscow’s presidency of the UN Security Council. Because the discussion about a reform of the body is hypocritical.

A commentary by Peter Mücke, ARD Studio New York

Of course, it is hard to bear when the foreign minister of the country that has invaded a neighboring country and trampled underfoot the United Nations Charter, as President of the UN Security Council, raves about multilateralism and international cooperation while his soldiers commit atrocities against civilians and devastate the Ukraine.

And of course it is also understandable if Ukraine in particular would like to throw the aggressor Russia out of the most important UN body altogether. But it’s not that simple. Anyone who insists on adhering to a rule-based order must also accept rules that don’t suit them – no matter how anachronistic they may seem.

Russia rightly veto power

The composition of the UN Security Council reflects the order after the end of World War II and the colonial era. In 1991 Russia took over the position of the USSR in all international organizations – expressly including the permanent seat in the UN Security Council. That’s what the Soviet republics wanted back then.

For this reason, Russia is just as legitimate a veto power in this most important UN body as the USA, China, Great Britain and France. Whether that still makes sense in 2023 is another question entirely. And as long as this is not resolved, the situation is that Russia will take over the presidency of the Security Council for a month every 15 months. Like this April.

Bogus discussion about reform of the Security Council

It is understandable that the call for a reform of the committee is getting louder from the western side right now – but also quite cheap. Because not only Russia, but also the four other permanent members will do a devil and voluntarily give up parts of their power and expand the Security Council or even give up their seat.

So it is largely a sham discussion going on in light of the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to New York. After all, only the expected positions were exchanged at the meeting, which was eagerly awaited by some. And even in the weeks before, Russia was not able to use the presidency of the Council to spread more disinformation than usual.

The United Nations was founded to have a common place and institutions to keep in touch and exchange positions – no matter how contradictory they may be. In a way, one should be glad that Russia is still sitting at the table of the international community, including and especially in the UN Security Council. As difficult as it is to bear in detail sometimes. Because what would be the alternative?

Editorial note

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