Fourteen years ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his famous speech at the Munich Security Conference. This speech went down in history as the “Munich Speech.” These days, however, Russia is about to boycott the conference.
Biden, UN Secretary General and NATO Secretary General
In 2021, the Munich Security Conference is taking place on February 19-20 online, like many international events during the pandemic. The list of participants is impressive:
- US President Joseph Biden,
- Head of the European Commission Ursula von Der Leyen,
- UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres,
- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
- and US Special Envoy for Climate Affairs John Kerry.
It is worth noting that although the Munich Conference has been held since 1962, American presidents have never taken part in it, so Joe Biden will be the first one.
Russian President Vladimir Putin does not plan to take part in the conference. High-ranking representatives of the Russian administration are not expected to participate either. In this connection, some assumed that Russia was boycotting the conference.
No boycott at all, it just so happened
Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov rebutted the information:
“There is no boycott, and I honestly do not know who takes part in it and who doesn’t. At least the president is not taking any part, and I cannot speak for anyone else, I just do not know.”
He called the Munich Conference one of the authoritative forums, in which the Russian takes no part this year.
It should be noted that the heads of other leading states are not taking part in this year’s conference either. For example, it is still unclear whether German Chancellor Angela Merkel will attend. Why does Russia get so much negative attention at this point then?
The reason is about tense relations with the United States and the European Union. Obviously, against the backdrop of the current state of affairs, Russia’s non-participation or limited participation in any international events can be perceived as another evidence of “tensions” in relations.
This is obviously a serious exaggeration. In the long run, the current Munich Conference, despite a number of high-profile participants, will be short and cropped – it will last for just a few hours.