At U.N., Russia Is Now the Indispensable Nation

At U.N., Russia Is Now the Indispensable Nation
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov addresses the Security Council, United Nations, New York, Sept. 24, 2014 (U.N. photo by Amanda Voisard).

Is Russia a rogue power bent on ripping up the international rulebook? Or is it a master of diplomatic brinksmanship with an uncanny knack for turning multilateral negotiations to its advantage? Commentators in the United States and Europe increasingly fear that Moscow is set on a destructive course. Yet Western diplomats at the United Nations are frequently impressed by their Russian counterparts’ maneuvers.

Last month, the Russians pulled off two small diplomatic coups in the Security Council. Shrugging off tensions over Ukraine and Syria, they initiated a resolution in early February aimed at cutting off funding to the so-called Islamic State (IS) and other Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq. If Moscow was trying to signal that it could still play nicely at the U.N., it was also warming up for a bigger and more controversial diplomatic bid.

On Feb. 13, the Russians tabled a resolution supporting the so-called Minsk II agreement on a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine agreed with France and Germany the day before. While this looked like another conciliatory gesture, it had distinctly unpleasant overtones.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.