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date: 08 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

While Russia officially supports the humanistic principles underlying the responsibility to protect, it has criticized the expanded interpretation and implementation of R2P by Western states. This chapter looks at Russia’s own practical experience with activities in the ‘spirit’, if not strictly the ‘letter’, of R2P and explores the genuine appealof the human protection imperative for Russia as a society rather than just a state. It argues that Russia’s involvement in the crisis in eastern Ukraine is the case when Russia has come closest to exercising its own version of R2P which was driven at least as much by a massive genuine human solidarity impulse on the part of the bulk of the Russian society as by the Kremlin’s strategic interests. The chapter identifies a growing gap between Russia’s practical experience on human protection highlighted by the Donbass case and its conservative and narrow conceptual and policy approach to R2P.

Keywords: responsibility to protect, Russia, Donbass, Ukraine, humanitarian aid, refugees, relief, reconstruction, civil society, human solidarity

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