‘Half the hall will leave’

‘Half the hall will leave’

Lydia Misnik

Despite US pressure, Indonesia extended an invitation to the G20 summit to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin did not disclose whether the head of state would attend the event, and against the background of the negative attitude of a number of countries towards his presence at the summit, Russia’s participation in it remains an intrigue. According to experts, the president will accept the invitation, but the fact that half of the audience will leave his speech seems obvious to them.
Leaders of all member countries of the forum, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, were invited to the G20 summit, said Sri Mulyani Indravatiti, the head of the Ministry of Finance of Indonesia chairing the G20 this year. The 17th meeting of the heads of the G20 countries is expected to be held in the autumn on the island of Bali.
Russia is not expected at the summit
Participation in the summit of the President of Russia today does not seem obvious, given how a number of G20 countries feel about this. The G7 countries, in a statement issued following the meeting of the heads of their finance departments and central banks, which took place on April 21 in Washington, ex-pressed regret over Russia’s participation in the meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bankers.
“International organizations and multilateral foru-ms should no longer conduct business with Russia in the usual business mode.
Thus, we deplore Rus-sia’s participation in international forums, including the G20 meetings, as well as through the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank this week, ”their statement said. This position of the political leadership of a number of states is connected with the military special operation carried out by Russia on the territory of Ukraine.
It was quite intelligibly expressed by officials of some states, including US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who left the meeting of the heads of finance ministries and central banks of the G20 member countries in Washington during a speech by Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.
According to Reuters, among those who left the hall was French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who called on Russia to refrain from participating in G20 events. At the same time, Siluanov, during his speech, urged partners to avoid politicizing the dialogue and recalled that the G20 has always been and remains primarily an economic format. There have already been proposals for the complete exclusion of Russia from the G20. In particular, US President Joe Biden spoke about this on March 24. At the same time, he acknowledged that some countries do not agree with such a step. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that although the G20 format is important, in the current conditions, exclusion of Russia from it would not be fatal for her.
Bloomberg, citing sour-ces, claims that the United States put pressure on Indo-nesia to prevent Putin from attending the summit.
If the Russian president decides to participate in the G20 summit, then, as Bloomberg wrote, the leaders of some countries may refuse to travel to Bali and send lower-level delegations. The decision on whether the Russian president will participate in the G20 summit will be made depending on the development of the situation, the Kremlin in this case will focus mainly on the organizer – Indonesia, Peskov noted. “When an appropriate decision is made, we will inform you. So far, no decision has been made,” the Kremlin spokesman said after the official receipt of the invitation.
Experts interviewed by Gazeta.Ru agree that if Putin arrives at the summit, a number of politicians will leave his speech. “It is quite obvious that whoever is from the Western delegations – the president or a low diplomatic official – they will leave Putin’s speech,”
Oleg Barabanov, Profe-ssor of the Department of International Relations at the Faculty of World Econ-omy and World Politics, Hi-gher School of Economics, said. At the same time, he expressed the opinion that the Russian president would go to the summit. The expert recalled that fears of this kind were also heard before his trip to Brisbane in Australia in 2014 for the G20 summit, and before his trip to France in 2014, where the anniversary summit was held in honor of the Normandy landings.
“But he went. I think the president will use every opportunity for international contacts and will not refuse to travel, although it is obvious that half of the audience will come out at his speech, ”he said.
For many years, the logic of the Russian side has been that the G20 is not a Western body, but a worldwide one, and there are enough countries that take a different position, Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs magazine, noted. It is for this reason that the idea that Russia should be excluded from the G20 did not find approval. “A number of countries believe that this should not be done. Actually, communication with them gives meaning to a trip to Bali. Moreover, Indonesia, alth-ough it is hardly enthusiastic about Russian policy, d-oes not join the boycott, co-ndemnation, is quite ready to cooperate, so the Presi-dent of Indonesia invites Putin, why not respect him?
It will be a difficult event, a difficult experience for Putin, but the decision he made provides for this, so I think this will not frighten him at all,” – said the expert to Gazeta.Ru.
According to him, the exit of politicians from the hall during Putin’s speech is not only possible – it is inevitable. “So what to do? This is at least the Cold War – a genre that provides for special techniques and customs,” Fyodor stated.
Demarches from European states are common, they have been making them for more than a year, so it makes no sense to refuse to participate in the summit because of this, believes Sergey Tsekov, member of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs.
“If they were normal politicians in normal states, they would know that from the point of view of the generally accepted norms of relations between different countries, no matter what happens, there should be a conversation, they should hear the opinion of not only their own, but also ours, other countries. Unfortunately, the American-European world has become very stupid over the past 10-15 years with delusions of grandeur and the lack of effect from their policies and the sanctions that they have imposed, in particular against Russia, ”said the senator to Gazeta.Ru.
According to him, this explains the demarches and withdrawal from events where there are Russian representatives, as well as the boycott of Russia in sports and art. At the same time, a member of the State Duma Committee on Inter-national Affairs, Maria Bu-tina, expressed the opinion that today there are more priority issues than participation in a forum where Russia is not welcome.
“The President, of course, will decide for himself how important it is to be included in the work of the G20 today, but given the current situation and the attitude of Western countries, it would not turn out that we will again be presented as whipping boys,” she told Gazeta.Ru.

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