By Paul Goble
For the second time in less than a month, the UN General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly against Moscow for its actions in Ukraine, a sign that “the longer the war in Ukraine continues, the more obvious it becomes that Russia does not have a single strong friend” abroad, according to Sergey Shelin.
When UNGA considered the first resolution at the start of the month, 141 countries voted for the resolution condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine, 38 abstained, and only four – Belarus, North Korea, Syria and Eritrea – backed Russia by voting against the resolution (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/03/141-to-5-clearest-measure-yet-of.html).
When the second resolution was considered this week, the results were almost identical: 140 voted for the resolution, 35 abstained, and the same four countries joined Moscow in voting against the measure, a pattern that confirms just how isolated Russia is not just from the West but from the entire world (https://ehorussia.com/new/node/25563).
Rosbalt commentator Shelin says that even among the four countries supporting Russia, Moscow could count only two allies – Belarus and Syria. The other two, like most abstaining, include countries which “want to get as much out of the crisis for themselves as possible” ch(rosbalt.ru/blogs/2022/03/24/1950215.html).
It is “much more interesting” to focus on those who abstained than on those who took a clear position, he says. They include four groups: the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and also Armenia and Azerbaijan, several odious countries on the outs with the West like Iran which abstained and Venezuela which didn’t vote, countries dependent on Russia for arms such as India and Vietnam, and, most prominently of all, China.
Vladimir Putin keeps describing China as Russia’s strategic partner, but it is obvious that China doesn’t want to anger the West and has received signals from Washington that Russia, not China, is the main target of American anger and that the US has no interest in starting some kind of new cold war with Beijing.
The vote in the UN General Assembly not only highlights just how isolated Russia is but also how even those it counts as its friends and supporters quickly move away from it once Moscow behaves in ways unacceptable to the international community, a concept Putin would like to destroy but that is increasingly reemerging to haunt him and his country.