Russian Experts Agree - Surrendering Territory to Japan in Pacific Will Set Off Snowball Effect!
EVENING WITH VLADIMIR SOLOVYOV
— The negotiations in the Kremlin between Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe lasted over three hours. Nothing sensational happened and nobody expected it, except for those who always want something to happen. Maybe, the Japanese expected it, but we're definitely not Japanese. We warned them: don't hurry to make statements and oaths. First, Tokyo should recognize the outcome of WWII, including Russia's sovereignty over the South Kuril Islands, not some «disputed territories» as they like to call them.
What is there to dispute about? They're ours and that's it. Then, we'll search for a solution accepted and supported by the peoples of the two countries. If we have to. What do they want from us? Why are those Japanese so nervous? Where did that idea that we should sacrifice something that we own to make an alliance with Japan against China come from? Their American colleagues claim that. What does it mean?
Sergei Lousyanin, Director of the IFES RAS: The matter is much bigger. Everybody knows well that in addition to this aspect, deterring China, there's Japan's attempt to encourage the USA or even drag it into this if, God forbid, Russia surrenders and they can extort those islands, then disruption of the Russian-American strategic balance in the Pacific Ocean can't be excluded because there's the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Okhotsk, the strait, and so on. Of course, another point is… If a miracle happened and Abe solved this issue, he would become a national hero of Japan. He wouldn't just strengthen his domestic position, but go down in history as a hero. The main thing is that, you see, they aren't just trying to extort them, they're referring to some historic documents, Article 9 of the Declaration of 1956, first and foremost. But it says completely different things. It says that the Soviet Union (this is history) as a gesture of goodwill… (it isn't stated that the USSR was ready to juridically solve the Kuril issue) as a gesture of goodwill, is ready to transfer two of the southernmost Kuril Islands following the signing of a peace treaty. Back then, those islands were uninhabited. They had no military significance. By the way, the late academic Tikhvinsky said… (he held the Soviet-Japanese negotiations in 1955 in London, he represented the Soviet Union) he said that but for those voluntary telegrams from Khrushchev's administration and him, the Japanese were ready to sign that declaration without that Article 9 and any transfer of them as a gift.
— I didn't get it. Did Khrushchev feel an itch? Did he want to transfer everything to everybody? To transfer Crimea to Ukraine, transfer the islands to Japan? What kind of executive was he?
— You see, it was just… The late academic Tikhvinsky said that he held resent because they had already imposed their terms. They agreed on fish, Japanese prisoners of war, everything. He insisted that they should transfer them. This is how it began.
— But there was a condition.
— Of course, this was the main condition. Moreover, the Japanese don't want to remember the key, basic documents, which juridically and politically summarized the results of WWII in Asia, they're the Treaty of San Francisco and others, which clearly state that Japan recognizes the sovereignty over its own islands — Hokkaido and the three other islands. The Kuril Islands aren't mentioned there. Now, they're trying to cancel and denounce it.
— No, there's another nuance in the Declaration of 1956. Japan was supposed to be a neutral state if I understand it correctly.
— Yes, you're absolutely right.
— And without foreign military bases.
— Yes, and in 1960, there was…
Leonid Kalashnikov, deputy of the State Duma: Some say that Khrushchev supposedly counted on neutrality like Austria and Switzerland have when he signed that declaration. But even given all of Khrushchev's initiative, when one carefully reads the declaration, one should note that Article 6, where both Russia and Japan mutually waive their rights to bring claims and recognize the current situation.
— You're absolutely right.
— For example, I don't like when someone mentions only the Declaration of 1956. You were right when you said that there were allegedly disputed territories. All of your recent programs are dedicated to history lessons. I think that this program will be fully dedicated to historic lessons. My father didn't just fight in WWII but finished it. All of the Siberian divisions were sent to Japan. Speaking of conferences, there wasn't just the Yalta Conference. There was the conference in Cairo, where the Kuril issue was discussed. After that was the conference in Potsdam in 1945. Should we forget about it? Then we'll have to refuse from Kaliningrad which was also transferred under those agreements. They'll come to revise them. And even after the Declaration of 1956…
— Why Kaliningrad? Finland will bring its claims.
— Finland, Korea…
— Everyone around will start demanding our lands.
— You see, the thing is that since 1956, there have been three Russian notes. What is a declaration? It's a letter of intent. The notes were unambiguous, they clearly stated: that's it, guys, the situation as changed again, the treaty you signed with the USA changes everything. The American military bases are still there. The Americans deployed their missiles in Poland. What did we do in Kaliningrad? We deployed our Iskander missiles there. No, let's transfer Kaliningrad then. What's changed? The military base is still in Okinawa. It's being expanded and they don't hide it… You're right when you talked about the Sea of Okhotsk because many people don't understand that it'll immediately become not our internal waters. How will we deal with that 200-mile zone and our submarines?
You see, we could be fine with that. But I got most excited today about what Putin said. Until the people want it… I remember how I held the parliamentary hearing with our Communists, our faction, and everyone in 2012 when we suddenly decided to solve the Arctic border dispute with Norway. We negotiated every inch of land from the polar circle to Murmansk when they suddenly decided to sign the treaty. We lost tens of thousands of square miles of water. Svalbard still isn't recognized. Let me draw a parallel: in 1921, it wasn't recognized as anybody's land. We established the border from Svalbard. De facto, not de jure, we recognized it. That's why this danger hovers over us. It is serious, as you said. Many said it but nothing happened. Nothing happened because, among other things, Putin clearly understands what's going on in the country and what will happen if it happens because the Kuril Islands isn't a tiny island which can be sacrificed in the process of delimitation. This is the people's memory of the Great Patriotic War and WWII. If we start with this, we'll finish…
— It has a snowball effect.
— You're absolutely right.