SOROS: ‚The dominant ideology in the world now is nationalism‘
- Billionaire George Soros hit back against nationalist critics in an interview with the Financial Times.
- Soros said criticism and smear campaigns would not stop his organisation the Open Society Foundation’s work promoting a liberal agenda.
- He said he believed Putin was behind many of the attacks against him.
LONDON – Billionaire investor George Soros said he would continue to fight the spread of nationalism, which has become the world’s „dominant ideology,“ in an interview with the Financial Times.
Soros spoke about the recent attacks made against himself and his organisation the Open Society Foundation (OSF) by those he considers enemies to his liberal agenda, but said he has no plans to relax his efforts.
“It’s déjà vu all over again with one big change — the dominant ideology in the world now is nationalism,” said Soros. “It’s the EU that’s the institution that’s on the verge of a breakdown. And Russia is now the resurgent power, based on nationalism.”
The OSF controls billions of dollars, much from Soros‘ personal fortune, and works in 140 countries worldwide making grants across various developmental projects. The Society works to „build vibrant and tolerant democracies,“ its website says, and has given away nearly $14 billion since it was founded in 1979. Nearly 20 semi-autonomous boards decide how the money is spent.
Soros, a Jewish survivor of World War II worth about $25 billion, is best known in the UK as „The Man who broke the Bank of England“ after he bet big against the pound in 1992 and made more than $1 billion.
But Soros has been the growing focus of attacks in recent months by populists and nationalists who denounce his support for liberal causes.
Soros said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind many of the attacks against him. Putin „doesn’t like me,“ he said, largely because Soros is critical of the Russian regime. In 2015, the OSF was expelled from Russia on grounds of security risks.
In October 2017, the Hungarian government launched a „national consultation“ about Soros, accusing him of wanting to dismantle border fences and open borders to refugees.
Speaking to the FT, spokesman for the Hungarian government Zoltan Kovács said Soros had, “never been elected by anyone, the organisations — NGOs, human rights groups and so on — have never been elected by anyone.”
“[They are] clearly engaging in determining how political decisions should be made. And this is wrong,“ he said.
Hungary-born Soros has been an advocate of allowing the resettlement of refugees in Europe since the beginning of the European migrant crisis in 2015, and said the attack was a „conspiracy“ against him.
Tensions also flared up in Macedonia last year, where the recipients of OSF grants had their windows smashed in May, in retaliation against the collapse of the rightwing government.
Meanwhile, in February, the leader of the ruling party in Romania said Soros had „financed evil,“ referring to his role in anti-corruption demonstrations. On the Israeli front, Eli Hazan, foreign relations director for the ruling Israeli Likud party, told the FT fighting Soros was a „pleasure.“…..
A short time after this, on February 26,the putschists – those who had seized power in Kiev – directly authorised the use of force by the Right Sector, as well as such organisations as Hizb ut-Tahrir and a Wahhabite group to take the Crimean Supreme Council building by storm. Many tend to forget about this now. All this happened within five days of the European grandees’ failure to persuade members of the opposition to deliver what they signed up to on February 20. Only after that all processes were triggered. They all started when the use of force against the Crimean Supreme Council was authorised and it immediately became crystal clear that the Crimeans had nothing to do with these illegitimate authorities. This was also a violation of international law, including the Budapest Memorandum I mentioned earlier on, under which Ukraine undertook not to support xenophobic sentiments.
We entirely support [the rule of] international law but, first of all, we want all those who initiate the demolition of international legal documents to come to and behave accordingly……………..
Question: It is no secret that the United States is preparing a helicopter base and an LNG terminal near Alexandropoulos in northern Greece near Russia’s planned gas hub on the Turkish-Greek border. It looks as if the United States is trying to shut the door, both symbolically and practically, on Russia’s energy cooperation with Greece, the Balkan states and Southern Europe. Do you think that this kind of pressure can complicate or worsen Russian-Greek relations?
In the next few days, dispute talks will be resumed over the name of Greece’s neighbouring country, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Greeks believe that the name „Macedonia“ is unfair because the greater part of the ancient state of Macedonia belongs to Greece and that the name “Macedonia” represents a possible territorial claim over Greek territory. Russian officials said in the past that you might revise the name under different conditions. Can you comment on this?
Sergey Lavrov: Russian officials said this? We have recognised Macedonia as the Republic of Macedonia, and only as this.
Question: What if conditions change? Will a new compromise be possible then?
Sergey Lavrov: I have spoken about the subject of gas. We see some fear of honest competition in US actions. Since it is unable to compete honestly now, the United States have started using unfair methods of competition and political pressure to force European countries to build the necessary facilities for buying more expensive gas. The choice rests with European countries. We believe that they must be aware of their economic interests. If they are willing to pay more in this situation, then this is their decision.
Our projects on the diversification of gas routes to Europe include Nord Stream 2, which I have mentioned, and Turkish Stream, which can be possibly extended to Europe. As of now, we are only building a line for the Turkish consumers. A second line will be built only if we receive ironclad guarantees from the European Commission that they will not do what they have done to the planned South Stream pipeline towards Bulgaria, which seems to be willing to discuss the possibility of hosting a second line of the Turkish Stream pipeline again. We can do anything if we are doubly sure that the European Commission will not derail this project.
Of course, we are monitoring the discussions that are underway at the European Commission to introduce retroactive rules to hinder the implementation of Nord Stream. It is a dirty game. I hope that the purely economic nature of this project, as well as the support the leading European energy companies have given this economic and commercial project, will prevent any foul play.
As for the resumption of talks and efforts to settle the dispute over the name “Macedonia”, they were in limbo for a long time and only resumed when the United States decided that Macedonia should be admitted to NATO. Since Greece is a NATO state you don’t need any concessions. But Macedonia, which is being encouraged to join NATO, needs them. It is as simple as that.
No matter which name Greece and Macedonia agree on for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, it will be generally recognised if it is adopted officially and sealed in the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia. I hope that everyone can see the real meaning of the current developments. The point at issue is not to ensure respect for any common or specific features of two kindred peoples, but to ensure that one of them joins NATO.
Question: Last year, two Russian citizens, Grigory Tsurkanu and Roman Zabolotny, were captured in Syria. There was video evidence of their captivity. My colleagues from the channel talked to Grigory Tsurkanu’s parents, who sent inquiries to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Executive Office of the Russian President, the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Ministry of Defence of Russia. There has been no information on their fate, on what happened after their captivity. Defence Ministry sources suggested informally that, perhaps, this information has been classified, although, officially, they were not army servicemen. According to one version, they might have been members of a private military company. Do you know anything about these persons? Can you check if the inquiry reached the Foreign Ministry? Is there information on Russians taking part in operations in other countries on contract?
Sergey Lavrov: There is nothing I can add to what you have said. We know about the reports that you have mentioned. We look into the fate of any Russian citizen wherever he or she might be, if we receive reports that he or she was either reported missing or got into trouble. The whereabouts of our two citizens whom you have mentioned is unknown. Steps are being taken, above all, by our military, to determine their location, and collect and verify corresponding information. As soon as anything becomes clear, we will readily report this.
As for other countries, this practice is widespread in many states. This was the case in Iraq and other countries of the region, where so-called Blackwater, which was renamed later, used to operate. I think that we need to clearly define the legislative basis so that these people are also covered and protected by the law.
Laut Lawrow ist es diese Realität, die die USA gegenüber der Anwendung von unfairen Praktiken im Wettbewerb mit Weltmarkt sidomon in dieser Energie treibt. Er hat die Aufmerksamkeit auf Gas-Projekte gebracht, Nord Stream und South Stream 2, nach ihm wurde aus politischen Gründen abgesagt. Nach ihm, obwohl Nord Stream 2000 km kürzer und 30-50% billiger als Pipeline durch die Ukraine sein wird, zwingt die USA die EU das Projekt aufzugeben.
Lawrow fügte hinzu, dass Russland wird keine Maßnahmen ergreifen, den türkischen Strom nach Europa zu erweitern, wenn nicht Garantien von der Europäischen Kommission. Er kündigte an, dass der türkische Strom zur Zeit nur für die türkischen Verbraucher gebaut wird und dass versucht hat Bulgarien aufzunehmen.
Der Betrug der EU, von Steinmeier und dem Polnischen Aussenminister damals, der Französiche Aussenminister, einem CIA angeheuerten Agenten, vom American Enterprise Institut
Sergey Lavrov: This topic that you are touching upon is diverting our attention away from the actual theme. The real matter here is that Ukraine signed the Minsk Agreements, which have nothing to do with the Crimea issue. These agreements must be implemented. If we now instead of making the Ukrainian leaders do, at last, what they promised to do and what was later formalised in a UN Security Council decision, start mulling over how this or that line of the treaty should be read, we, as it seems to me, will only give them an excuse to further drag their feet when it comes to the fulfilment of this very important document, which, I would like to point out once again, was unanimously approved by the UN Security Council. Our Western colleagues in both Europe and the United States – we know this from our talks with them – fully understand the tactics of the incumbent Ukrainian leaders regarding the Minsk Agreements. They are well aware that our Ukrainian neighbours are still trying to provoke the use of force in this stand-off in order to divert attention away from the fact they are deliberately not fulfilling the Minsk Package of Measures. Let us not theorise now – I do not want this to be seen as a lack of respect for international law. Utter disregard for it was demonstrated by those who incited, organised and supported Maidan. After all, I will remind you that in February 2014, former Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, together with the opposition leaders reached an agreement, which was certified by the foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France. A day later the opposition scrapped the agreement. It turns out that those who on behalf of the EU signed this agreement had deceived the Ukrainian people because the agreement provided for the creation of a government of national accord but, instead, a “government of winners”, as it was named by Arseny Yatsenyuk, was formed. Just one day later, if I may refresh your memories, a congress of people’s deputies of the Southeast [of Ukraine] and Crimea was held in Kharkov, with the deputies having been elected in compliance with the Ukrainian Constitution. They decided to take control of their regions until law and order were restored in Ukraine. They did not use force against the putschists but on February 23 the putschists approved a language law. Although it was not enacted, its message was clear to everybody – it was an absolutely anti-Russian and, essentially, a Russophobic law.