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Why Russia, China, Turkey and Hungary were not invited to the summit of democracies

The United States has released a list of 110 countries invited to the Summit for Democracy. Armenia and Ukraine received invitations, but Hungary and Turkey, Russia and China did not. What guided Washington in its choice, RBC understood

Whom the US invited to discuss the problems of democracy

The US Department of State has released a list of 110 countries whose leaders have been invited to the Summit for Democracy. It will take place in virtual mode in Washington DC on December 9-10. The list of invitees includes liberal democracies, weaker democracies and several states with authoritarian traits, Carnegie Endowment expert Steven Feldstein said in his report. 77 countries of the world are considered “ free '', that is, completely democratic, according to the rating of the American non-governmental organization Freedom House for 2021, another 31 countries are & mdash; “ partially free '', according to the same rating, and three of the invited participants lead countries in the group of “ not free. ''

Russia and China did not receive invitations from the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Hungary did not receive an invitation from the countries of the European Union, but from the US NATO allies & mdash; Turkey. Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine received invitations from the post-Soviet countries.

Why Russia and China are outraged by the list of participants

Moscow and Beijing criticized this choice of the United States. Moscow is negative about Washington's plans to host a Summit for Democracy. and sees this as an attempt to draw new dividing lines, said the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov. Even before the list of countries was released & mdash; of the summit participants, Moscow asked its allies to ignore it, a diplomatic source told RBC. However, for example, Armenia ignored this call & mdash; Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has already confirmed his participation in the forum.

After the second Karabakh war ended a year ago, the balance of power in the South Caucasus has changed & mdash; Baku is clearly very close to Ankara, Russia has not had diplomatic relations with Georgia since 2008, so Yerevan remained the last ally, political analyst Alexei Makarkin draws attention.

Beijing strongly opposed the invitation to the summit of Taiwan, which considers Chinese territory (although China has control over it). A week earlier, in talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, US President Joe Biden expressed his commitment to the “ one China '' principle, according to which formal negotiations are possible only with representatives of Beijing. This principle is violated by the invitation of Taiwan to the summit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday.

The Chinese and Russian authorities are very attentive to the symbolism and status in international relations, so their reaction to the summit was quite harsh, says Igor Zevelev, an expert at the Kennan Institute.

Why the summit is being held

The summit will 'showcase one of the unique strengths of democracy' the ability to acknowledge and confront its shortcomings openly and transparently, '' will focus on the challenges and opportunities faced by democracies and provide leaders with a platform to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms and initiatives to protect democracy and human rights in their countries, and abroad, the State Department said in a statement. It is planned that three key topics will be discussed: protecting against authoritarianism, combating and fighting corruption, and promoting respect for human rights.

There are two components in the foreign policy of any US administration – & mdash; strict upholding of national interests and pursuit of geopolitical goals, that is, this is a policy in the spirit of political realism, in which at the same time, to a greater or lesser extent, there is a component of liberal values, which is expressed in international support for democracy and human rights, Zevelev recalled. International support for democracy and human rights in the United States is institutionalized in the form of the State Department's responsibilities to publish reports on the state of human rights in the world, the expert recalled. Biden began his presidential term in a very pragmatic vein, tough upholding of national interests, now he must balance this approach with rhetoric about democracy and human rights and their support on a global scale, Zevelev explains the logic of the summit.

The Democratic administration continues to make efforts to rebuild and strengthen relations with allies that were shattered during Donald Trump's presidency, Makarkin adds. “ When the Democrats came, their task first of all was to regain the trust of their allies, to show that America had not gone anywhere, it would not dissolve NATO, and so on. It must be shown that America remains a reliable ally and that its traditional partners are important to America. And this had to be clothed in some kind of ideological framework. And the theme of support for world democracies became such a framework '', & mdash; says the expert. Makarkin also believes that the composition of the upcoming summit suggests that Washington has decided to abandon the “ export of democracies '' and wants to focus on strengthening them where they already are.

Why the summit will be held without Turkey and Hungary

Eight of the invited countries are in low positions in the ratings of political freedoms. Feldstein included Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kenya, Pakistan, Serbia and Zambia in this group. In four more countries, he notes, there is a rollback from democratic freedoms & mdash; these are Brazil, India, the Philippines and Poland. When compiling the list of participants, regional dynamics was taken into account & mdash; In the Middle East, the leading democracy is Israel, Tunisia could have accompanied this country at the summit, but there was a coup, and it would be politically wrong to invite only Israel, so Iraq was also invited, an expert from the Carnegie Endowment describes the logic of the Biden administration. The strategic interests of & mdash; Pakistan is important as an ally in the fight against international terrorism, the Philippines is important in the context of containing China, and Ukraine is & mdash; Russia, he continues.

Feldstein explains the non-invitation of Hungary and Turkey both by trends in the political development of these countries and by the unwillingness of the Biden administration to show support for Viktor Orban and Recep Tayyip Erdogan shortly before the elections (in Hungary, elections will be held in 2022 , in Turkey – no later than 2023). At the same time, most experts do not expect from the Summit for Democracy Zevelev concludes.

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