October 21, 2019

On October 7, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office to the Trilateral Contact Group on the implementation of the peace plan in Donbas, Martin Sajdik, speaking at the Salzburg Europe Summit forum in Austria, where the peace in Ukraine was discussed, fudged the issue of the legality of the so-called “referendum” held by Russian troops in March 2014. The diplomat referred to the fact that his area of responsibility is Donbass conflict only, and he did not retire so far to comment on this topic. Such statements suggest that Mr. Sajdik is going to publish his memoirs “Donbass and Martin” when retired.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sajdik’s statement appeared on the background of the OSCE PA Resolution adopted in July calling to de-occupy the Ukrainian peninsula and withdraw Russian troops from there. Probably, the OSCE representative is not familiar with resolutions adopted by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

Well, he should have to stop on it, but suddenly he appealed to history and reminded that Crimea was part of the Russian Federation in USSR times until 1954, when it was transferred to Ukrainian SSR, being formerly a part of the Russian Empire. It remains unclear what should such historical retrospective have to do with the annexation of foreign territory. Possibly, Austrian national Sajdik deeply regrets the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. Although the ideas of “Greater Austria” may take their place in diplomat’s mind, everything seem to be much more prosaic.

If the question is historical memory, it is worth mentioning the history of Martin Sajdik himself. After graduation from the University of Vienna in 1972-73 he studied international law in the Moscow University. What law he could study in the USSR totalitarian state is a rhetorical question.

His next trip to Moscow was in 1980-85, when he occupied various positions at the Austrian Embassy. However, one thing is diplomatic service, and the other is holding the director position in Maculan Holding’s international project of Maculan Group construction company. Information is not particularly advertised, however, that was Sajdik in 1991 who became CEO of the joint Austrian-Russian Taimaada company (the same-name valley in Yakutia). In the context of strange series of events, the company won a tender for the construction of a medical center in Yakutsk for $ 120 million. The medical center itself was featured in one of the most clamorous corruption scandals of those years in Russia – the Mabetex case. Pavel Borodin, then Yakutsk city mayor, eventually became the executive officer of the Russian president during 1993-2000.

But let’s turn to our days and recent Mr. Sajdik’s statements, especially since the company he chaired became bankrupt in 1995. Though after it and until 2015 his activities were not formally associated with Russia or Ukraine, close unofficial ties were likely to remain. For example, one of the invited participants in the discussion was Alexei Pushkov, Russian deputy, member of the Federal Assembly. Oddly enough, as since 2014 the Russian party has been declaring their non-involvement in the conflict. Moreover, Pushkov and Sajdik sat next to each other. Probably by some amazing fluke? !!!

The OSCE representative\u2019s attempts to remove the Crimea issue from the international agenda cannot be considered the mere coincidence either. Actually, Russian aggression in the east of Ukraine was a mechanism of distraction from the Crimean problem. Such historical reference made by Mr. Sajdik is just another attempt to justify Russian aggression, attaching historical justification to it. This is another attempt to show the futility of the EU sanctions policy against Russia. The long history of Sajdik’s relationship with Russia does not inspire confidence in his impartiality when it comes to the issues of Russian war against Ukraine.

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ClaudeMartel