October 21, 2019

The recent statement on the historical affiliation of Crimea made by the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office to the Trilateral Contact Group, Martin Sajdik, at the Salzburg Europe Summit international forum in Salzburg (Austria) has surprised and roused public opinion. Sajdik‘s mention in his speech of the historical fact about the entry of Crimea into the Russian Empire and the Russian Soviet Federated Socialistic Republic (RSFSR) was immediately picked up by the Russian media.

Kremlin propagandists interpreted Sajdik‘s words as confirmation of the fact that the annexation of Crimea by Russia is just a restoration of historical justice. Although it is clear that such statements are another manipulation to justify Russia’s aggression and legitimate foreign territories annexation. In accordance with the international law and the official position of the international community, Crimea was and remains the Ukrainian territory temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation.

It is also obvious that such manipulations of public opinion fueled by such OSCE high-ranking official are unlikely to be a haphazard. All this is more like information stovepiping in the interests of Kremlin. In addition, Sajdik has refused to comment on his statements and clarify his position regarding the illegal annexation of Crimea.

In this regard, it is worth mentioning that Sajdik was appointed as Special Representative to the Trilateral Contact Group in summer 2015 by then OSCE Chairman, Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić. In addition, in the context of recent events, some facts of Sajdik‘s biography are very interesting. It is these facts that make one be sceptical about his objectivity, and also raise serious doubts of the casual occurrence of such vague formulations of his plan for the conflict settlement in Ukraine and his statements that in one or another way justify the actions of the Russian Federation.

So, the OSCE Special Representative in Ukraine engaged to the Minsk talks, Martin Sajdik, is an Austrian career diplomat. And the fact that he studied international law … at the Moscow University is very interesting. He worked for five years in Moscow at the Austrian Embassy, and for a long time he was engaged in business in Russia. He speaks excellent Russian.

Thus, Sajdik not only knows Russia well, this country is actually his second homeland. Many years of work in Moscow as a diplomatic representative, education at the Moscow University, management of a joint Russian-Austrian enterprise in Yakutsk, and other facts of Martin Sajdik’s biography and relations with Russia raise serious doubts about his objective vision of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. Perhaps that is why Sajdik’s words so often have something in common with the narratives of Kremlin media.

Drawing on the example of the activities of such “advocates” of Russia as Martin Sajdik and his predecessor A.Hug, who do not openly and straightforwardly defend Russia’s interests, but, on the contrary, play the classical European balance card, we can observe how the “scale” of public opinion is gradually tilting toward the interests of Russia.

By Martin Sajdik’s hand, Russia skillfully plays on the concerns of the leaders of the civilized world about the conflict in Donbass and the annexation of Crimea. The hostilities in the East of Ukraine continues, the media coverage of the confrontation remains distressing, and the West hopes to get the laurels of the peacemaker without spoiling relations with Russia.

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