The Ukraine war will be the dominant topic at the Munich Security Conference. The Kremlin must stay outside – Russian members of the opposition have been invited to do so.
Munich/Moscow – Two weeks before the Munich Security Conference, around 40 heads of state and government, 90 ministers and several heads of international organizations have already confirmed their participation. However, official representatives of Putin’s regime will not be present: Kremlin officials are not invited because of the war in Ukraine.
“There is no sign of a bucking from the Russian government. It’s too bad for us to offer these war criminals in the Kremlin a stage for their propaganda with the Munich Security Conference,” said conference leader Christoph Heusgen of the dpa news agency.
Munich Security Conference: Russia unloaded – opposition members come instead
Instead, prominent Russian opposition politicians have been invited to the security conference. These include the former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, the journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov and Julia Navalnaya, the wife of the imprisoned opposition figure Alexei Navalny.
It is a decision that the Kremlin is unlikely to like: Kasparov has wanted to end the political career of Russian President Vladimir Putin for 15 years. Ex-oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been a bitter enemy of the Kremlin for many years. Russian journalist Dmitri Muratov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021. He auctioned off the medal for the benefit of Ukrainian children who had fled because of the Ukraine war.
The security conference does not see itself as neutral, Heusgen explained about the decision: “Of course we see the Munich Security Conference as an organization that stands for rule-based politics in this international machine,” he said. “And that’s why I think it’s justified to deviate from the principle of inviting all countries in extreme cases like Russia and Iran.”
Munich Siko: Only members of the opposition were invited from Iran, too
From Iran, too, only members of the opposition and not officials have been invited this year. “We also don’t want to offer a forum to a regime that so fundamentally violates basic human rights,” says Heusgen.
The world’s most important meeting of experts on security policy will take place from February 17th to 19th at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich. It is the first security conference since the beginning of the Ukraine war. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Defense Minister Oleksiy Resnikov are expected from Ukraine.
Russia not at Munich Siko: Olaf Scholz’s participation is still open
French President Emmanuel Macron, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg have also confirmed their participation, as the conference management announced. It is still unclear whether, like last year, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and US Vice President Kamala Harris will also take part.
Heusgen emphasizes that Macron’s participation is very important to him in view of the recent turmoil in Franco-German relations. “Europe can only move forward if Germany and France stand together and jointly give substance to the vision of European sovereignty,” he says. (smu/dpa)
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