The 58th Munich Security Conference, which ended on Sunday in the Bavarian capital, which took place against the background of an unprecedented escalation in the conflict zone in Donbass, in every sense became the moment of truth in the ongoing dispute about relations between the West and the East and the possibility of their peaceful, non-conflict coexistence in the conditions of the XXI century.

With all the huge spread of assessments and opinions about the practical significance and meaning of the forum, which brought together the political, business and intellectual elite of the Western world in Munich on February 18-20, hardly anyone would dare to argue with the fact that the current security conference, which brought together her Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger, was quite special.

Firstly, this year's forum can be considered an anniversary one: 15 years ago, on February 10, 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed its participants with his Munich speech, which later became famous.

A decade and a half ago, some regarded the Russian leader’s speech as a Cold War 2.0 manifesto, while others regarded it as a wake-up call to wake up the West and make it wake up, to open its eyes to the collapse of the international security architecture.

Thus, in February 2022, it was important to sum up at least intermediate results of the unfinished dispute that began in 2007 about who scatters stones and who collects them, who is trying to solve the complex equation of international security written on the board, and who wants to erase it. .

Erase and thereby abandon the idea of ​​comprehensive collective security proposed by Moscow with equal responsibility for it of all world centers of power.

The second feature of this year's Munich Security Conference was that for the first time in the 21st century it was held without the official participation of Russia, which in itself initially largely devalued the significance of the forum (before that, Russia was absent from the forum at the end of the Boris Yeltsin era, more than two decades ago ).

Tango is danced by two, but this year one partner chose to stay at home and did not go to the Bavarian dance floor.

In an interview with the Russian press, Forum Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger lamented that his official invitation to Moscow to take part in the discussion did not receive a positive response.

Meanwhile, one could see in the Russian refusal of the Munich debate itself not a desire to evade dialogue, but an unwillingness to participate in the “dialogue of the deaf”, which was recently spoken about in relation to communication with Western colleagues by Munich old-timer, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Thus, the participants of the Munich conference this year communicated in conditions when they could not be afraid that another Munich speech by Vladimir Putin would bring confusion to their friendly Euro-Atlantic ranks.

The usual “voice crying in the wilderness” by Sergei Lavrov did not sound in Munich this year either.

And finally, the third distinguishing feature of this year's Munich forum was the extreme events in the south-east of Ukraine against which it was held.

It would seem that the unexpected escalation in the Donbass that took place the day before, but after the visits to Moscow and Kiev of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, did not leave the forum participants any opportunity to brush aside the events of recent days, which could determine the fate of the world for years and decades. forward.

At some point, there was a feeling that now the Munich guests, as if nothing had happened, coming out to the microphone or sitting in cozy chairs with headphones, would no longer be able to repeat their former mantras.

They will not follow the path of least resistance and will not use the old homemade preparations - scenarios for imposing sanctions and pressure on Russia, which, by inertia, is accused of planning a big war in Europe.

They will try to make an effort on themselves and understand what the hell is happening, why Ukraine is moving towards the abyss and is trying to drag Russia and all of Europe into it.

However, a comparison of the two information flows of recent days - news about terrorist attacks, the breakthrough of Ukrainian saboteurs into the republics of Donbass, the mass evacuation to Russia, and the discussions that were heard in Munich about how important it is to build the architecture of international security and who undermines it, showed that Donbass and Munich are two parallel, non-overlapping realities.

The statement adopted in Munich by the foreign ministers of the G7 countries showed that they do not understand what is happening.

That is, they understand everything exactly the opposite.

“We are particularly concerned about the measures taken by the self-proclaimed ‘People’s Republics’, which should be seen as preparations for a military escalation.

We are concerned that staged incidents could be used as a pretext for a possible military escalation.

Russia must use its influence on the self-proclaimed republics to ensure that they maintain restraint and take de-escalation measures,” the G7 said in a statement.

Against this background, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky soloed in Munich, easily, unlike Vladimir Putin, who left his capital.

For President Zelensky, the Munich Security Conference has become a kind of geopolitical Eurovision contest, allowing him to perform his signature number.

According to him, Western assistance to Kiev is not handouts, but "a contribution to the security of Europe and the world, where Ukraine has been a reliable shield for eight years."

This is how European security, it turns out, has formed a “Ukrainian shield”.

In turn, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: the European Union, the United States, Great Britain and Canada have already agreed on a comprehensive package of sanctions against Russia if a war breaks out in Ukraine.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki went the furthest, proposing to the allies now not only to put an end to Nord Stream 2, but also to think about turning off the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.

But if you think about it, it was during these critical days that the Munich Security Conference may have had a unique chance to restore its reputation and become a platform for geopolitical crisis management, urgently proposing new ideas and getting involved in the settlement in Donbass.

However, this unique chance was lost.

Munich didn't say anything.

At a decisive moment, when the future of relations between East and West is being determined, Munich lost its speech.

Already without Russian President Vladimir Putin, who made his diagnosis 15 years ago.

The point of view of the author may not coincide with the position of the editors.