National sovereignty – the pillar of Russia’s statehood

View of St.Basil’s Cathedral from the Moskvoretsky Bridge decorated for Russia Day. Ramil Sitdikov / RIA Novosti

View of St.Basil’s Cathedral from the Moskvoretsky Bridge decorated for Russia Day. Ramil Sitdikov / RIA Novosti

Published Jun 12, 2024


Ambassador of Russia to South Africa Ilya Rogachev

Annually, on 12 June, we celebrate Russia Day commemorating the adoption on this day in 1990 of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Russia by the Congress of People’s Deputies of the RSFSR. Why is it considered a true milestone in the history of our country in terms of securing Russia’s national interests?

The notion of state sovereignty is increasingly coming to the spotlight. The present-day collective West’s policies to redistribute the resources of the rest of the world in its own favour, leading to the increased global inequality, is no different from what was formerly known as colonialism – but with more subtle instruments. The true independence for many countries, including economically developed ones, is yet to be achieved. Not as much in terms of International Law as in the way their elites think and act.

Throughout its history, Russia had to defend its sovereignty, opposed the attempts to subdue it many times. Since over 1,100 years ago, we have firmly learned that erosion of our state and neglect of our national interests even for a limited period of time are mortally dangerous for Russia. Our country’s very existence came under threat during these times, as belligerent neighbours, seeing the weakness and lack of unity in Russia, sought to conquer and plunder it.

Their predatory attitude towards Russia clearly manifested itself during the Time of Troubles in the early XVII century, when the Poles and the Swedes undertook interventions into Russia and seized its lands. Sweden took Russian territories in the North cutting us from the Baltic Sea, and Poland – territories of Smolensk and Chernigov.

In the history of our country there were many other critical moments – like the Patriotic war of 1812 against Napoleonic France, Civil War of 1917-1922 and the repelling of foreign military intervention (involving a dozen of countries – Great Britain, France, USA, Japan etc.), struggle against Nazism during World War II. But every time when Russia was in great danger, our multi-national people drew strength from historical experience, traditions of our ancestors, timeless values - and united to defend its right to freely and independently determine its fate, or political, social and economic models of its development.

Today Russia is facing another such moment. The West alleges that we started an ‘unprovoked and unjustified war’ but it is a lie. We are struggling for our legitimate national security interests, and for the right of people to belong to the Russian world. Essentially, Russia is fighting against the collective West to defend its sovereignty again, with Ukraine conflict being an episode of this struggle. We aren’t alone: the majority of nations in the Global South and the Global East tired of the collective West’s arrogance also stand up for strengthening their independence and against double standards, imposed values, manipulations and unequal partnerships.

Our opponents dream of undermining Russia’s statehood, dividing our society and even dismembering our country, but as history shows, such attempts only entail consolidation of our people. Russia’s national sovereignty is the pillar of our statehood. As before, we will take the privilege to decide our fate ourselves.