// Pathways to Peace and Security. 2018. No 1(54) Special Issue: Humanitarian Challenges, Humanitarian Support and Human Protection in Armed Conflicts. P. 129-181
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations
23 Profsoyuznaya ul., Moscow 117997 Russia
This article’s main focus is on analyzing and comparing Russian humanitarian policy and activity towards crises in eastern Ukraine and in Syria. In the Donbass case, Russia has arguably come closest to exercising real human protection, acting if not strictly according to the “letter”, than at least “in the spirit” of R2P. Russia’s support to refugees from and civilian population in Donbass has been, by Russian standards, unprecedented in scale, size, nature and the degree of domestic public support to humanitarian effort across the Russian society. This time, Russia’s humanitarian role was not a mere instrument for advancing strategic goals, but also reflected genuine human solidarity. In the Syria case, Russia initially neglected acute humanitarian aspects of the escalating conflict, despite Moscow’s growing diplomatic role in conflict management. However, as Russia qualitatively upgraded its involvement in Syria, with the launch of its own military campaign followed by reinvigoration of the negotiating process, it has also expanded its humanitarian activity. By the end of the 2010s, this activity has grown into Russia’s largest humanitarian operation in a conflict zone outside Eurasia, even as it remained strictly subordinated to political-military imperatives of Syria conflict management.
Russia, armed conflicts, human protection, humanitarian aid, Donbass, Ukraine, Syria, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), refugees, humanitarian convoys, de-escalation zones, reconstruction, human solidarity, EMERCOM, Ministry of Defense, ICRC, UN, OCHA, UNHCR, humanitarian NGOs
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