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Redefining Territorial Integrity

Published: March 7, 2014 (Issue # 1800)


Позиционироваться: to position

In Moscow, I have lived through two ideologies, two Olympics, two revolutions and several economic crises. I have wept through terrorist attacks. I have lost all my savings a couple of times. I am always getting paid in whatever currency is losing value. This week I think: I am getting too old for this.

Through my panic about war, I'm trying to understand the logic behind Russian actions. So I have been reading documents, including the пояснительная записка (explanatory note) prefacing a bill to change the way Russia accepts new territories, a fast track for Crimea or any other part of Ukraine.

The note is written mostly in a bureaucratic, legalistic jargon that signals the work of serious international law specialists. The text is peppered with Latin quotes, like "rebus sic stantibus," which is always a sign of Jesuitical, um, serious scholarship.

As I read along, I am a little puzzled that the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 is not mentioned, but the 1997 treaty between Russia and Ukraine is. The text about the treaty starts out fine: Именно Россия гарантировала территориальную целостность Украины (It was Russia that guaranteed the territorial integrity of Ukraine). And it continues well: Фактически Россия как гарант территориальной целостности Украины … (In fact, Russia as a guarantor of the territorial integrity of Ukraine … ).

But then it goes south: … не только вправе, но и обязана принять меры поддержки народа Украины, которые подтолкнули бы власти Украины к наведению должного порядка, без насилия и дискриминации по отношению к национальным меньшинствам (… does not only have the right, but is obligated to take measures to support the people of Ukraine, measures which would push the authorities of Ukraine to implement an appropriate system, without violence and discrimination against national minorities).

So the writers extrapolate that respecting the territorial integrity of Ukraine actually entails interference in the internal matters of Ukraine. But they are still hobbled by that territorial integrity bit. How to get around it?

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of “Treasure Island,” visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russia’s “Russian Knights” stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during today’s Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the center’s Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonight’s performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Center’s Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodina’s website for more details.



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