News and Views on Tibet

Dalai Lama’s envoy to Russia branded “foreign agent” for condemning war in Ukraine

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Telo Tulku Rinpoche, former head of Buddhists of Republic of Kalmykia and the Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Russia (Photo/Reddit)

By Tenzin Dharpo

DHARAMSHALA, January 31: The envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Russia, Telo Tulku Rinpoche has been included in Kremlin’s infamous list of “foreign agent” on January 27 for his condemnation of Russia’s war in Ukraine. The foremost Buddhist figure of Republic of Kalmykia or the ‘Shajin Lama’ said Monday that he has resigned as the religious head of the Buddhists in Kalmykia but will continue as the envoy of the H.H. the Dalai Lama to Russia.

“I learned that on January 27, 2023, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation entered my name in the register of “Foreign Agents”. Over the past two days, many people have expressed concern and sympathy regarding my name being listed on the “Foreign Agent” register. I am sincerely grateful to those for their kind messages and appreciating my work.

“To the people of Kalmykia and all the followers of Buddhism in these difficult times, I wish you to maintain courage, fortitude and commitment to the ideals of compassion, love and non-violence, on which the teaching of the Buddha we profess,” Telo Tulku Rinpoche wrote on his social media handles.

Speaking to Phayul on Tuesday in Dharamshala, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile, he said, “I will remain as the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama unless the Kashag decides something else. When asked if the Office of Tibet in Moscow will be affected by the incident, he said, “As of right now, I don’t see any reason for the Office of Tibet to be affected, but I cannot guarantee that it won’t be affected. Since, we haven’t done anything against the Russian laws, rules and regulations, so I don’t see any reason why the office would be closed.”

The US citizen also said that he considers being labelled a foreign agent as a “privilege” and to be included among people of conscience including many celebrities, writers and poet in Russia. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights verified a total of 7,110 civilian deaths during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as of January 2023. Of them, 438 were children.

7 Responses

  1. The so called “Seventeen Point Treaty” was signed by the Government of Tibet and the Chinese Communist Government in Beijing on May 23 1951. The two nations had EQUAL STATUS, representing their respective countries. If Tibet was subordinate to China, China would have no compunction to sign a treaty with Tibet. They could have send their army without Tibet’s consent. Since, the Tibetan Government was in full control of our territory and the Chinese Government had NO JURISDICTION, the Chinese were obliged to get Tibet’s consent for Chinese troops to move to Tibet. However, the consent from the Tibetan Government was not voluntary but was extracted through the use of military intimidation, it was indeed an UNEQUAL TREATY! It was made under DURESS, therefore null and void under international law.

  2. America, European Union and all NATO countries are helping Ukraine with both weapons and money. America is leading the charge because its not only the most powerful country but its the guarantor of Europe’s security. It was for this reason, American forces were based in Germany since the Second World War. Europe was threatened by Soviet Union the other super power until 1991 when it collapsed. There was a lull in the Cold War animosity between the west and Russia in the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR while Boris Yeltsin was in power. After Yeltsin, Putin was feted by George W Bush by taking him to his Taxis ranch and claimed that he saw Putin as somebody he could do business with. Obama made a big splash in befriending China but it went badly wrong. Likewise, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also made a point to visit China first rather than Japan as tradition demanded but the relationship only soured in his Prime Ministership even though he speaks fluent mandarin and served in China as an Australian diplomat. There was a time in the early stages of Putin to befriend Russia since Russia was in a precarious economic meltdown after the ravages of communism. The west should have cultivated Russia and kept communist China at bay. However, the Clinton administration gave China the MFN (Most favored nation) status and leaned towards China while Russia was more or less left in the cold. As the nations subjugated by the erstwhile Soviet Union freed themselves from the shackles of the USSR, NATO took advantage of this vacuum left by the Soviets and expanded Eastward. Putin was able to improve the economy of Russia and started building its capabilities and kept a weary eye on NATO’s creeping tentacles. I have told what triggered the present crises in my previous letter.
    The west failed to drive a wedge between Russia and China and that is now haunting it with the two former antagonists becoming buddies to challenge the might of the west.
    Putin is now using winter as a weapon to make some gains by trying to rouse his troops by reminiscing the Battle of Stalingrad in the Eastern Front when the Soviet Union inflicted a catastrophic defeat on the German Army during the dying days of the Second World War. Whether Russia is able to gain more ground or not only time will tell. Forty six western countries have helped Ukraine to the tune of €108.8 billion worth of military, financial and humanitarian aid from 24th January to 29th of November 2022! The US alone has transferred $54.43 billion to the Government of Ukraine. The west helped Ukraine immensely to make sure they are able to defend their country and to the satisfaction of the US and its allies, Ukraine has not only defended its territory but have made inroads into Russian occupied Ukrainian territories. There is no question that Russia will over run Ukraine. The Russians are only creating a buffer between Russia and Ukraine by occupying Ukrainian territory in the east such as Donbas. Ukraine is in no mood to cede any territory and has ambitions to retake Crimea as well. Ukraine is internationally acknowledged Sovereign nation which has joined the UN.
    Tibet is a sovereign nation under international law and the Dalai Lama himself has said in the Strasbourg Declaration of 1988: “Our history, dating back more than two thousand years, HAS BEEN ONE OF INDEPENDENCE. AT NO TIME, SINCE THE FOUNDING OF OUR NATION IN 127 BC, HAVE WE TIBETANS CONCEDED OUR SOVEREIGNTY TO A FOREGN POWER”. Despite Chinese occupation, Tibet is an independent country under international law. Tibetan independence advocates wants complete independence and have no will to concede our sovereignty to communist China. In Australia, the aboriginal people are still continuing their campaign for a treaty with the Government on the issue of Aboriginal sovereignty over their land more than 200 years since it was colonized. They have gained land rights which entitles them to lease the land to mining companies who have to pay royalty to the indigenous owners. Now, In occupied Tibet, Tibetans have no rights over own land! It’s all owned by the CCP. Therefore, Tibetans have to fight for total independence and NEVER CONCEDE OUR SOVEREIGNTY. It means a long struggle and it also means we have to fight with any means including taking up arms. We have to only look at Ukraine how they are dying for their country which is the future for themselves and their children. No power is invincible. We saw the Russians defeated by the mujahadeens in the 1980s and we saw the Americans again being humiliated in Afghanistan by the rag tag Taliban. There are many stories of such nature. Wars are won through determination and sacrifice. The occupiers don’t have such determination and commitment to defend their ill gotten land. That’s why Tibetans have a better reason to die for Tibet than paid Chinese recruits who have no reason to die for a land they despise Tibet for its bleak and unforgiving cold. They find it hard even to breath properly! Since the Chinese born in lowlands can’t breath the thin mountain air, the communists are recruiting Tibetans to man the border in Eastern Ladakh, Doklam and Arunachal Pradesh. THE CHINESE DON’T BELONG IN TIBET- THEY ARE ALIEN INVADERS! ITS THE BOUNDEN DUTY OF THE TIBETAN PEOPLE TO DRIVE THEM OUT OF OUR COUNTRY!

    1. As a Ukrainian, this made me cry. Long live Tibet and its people! We stand by you and support you! With love ❤️

  3. The west has to either defend Ukraine genuinely by starting a real, proper war against Vladimir Putin by sending armies and fighter jets, or keep quiet.

    The west is not supporting Ukraine, it is just pretending to support Ukraine. And Ukraine knows it, Russia knows it, west knows it, tibetans know it, everybody know it.

    So far we saw just words of support, but no action of support.

    If Ukraine loses war, then Ukraine will be in Tibetan position. A religious leader from Ukraine will have to negotiate Middle Way Path with Russia for a win-win solution in the ensuing decades. Ukraine can only seek genuine autonomy within Russia via non-violent approach, but independence will be out of question.

    This is because the world will have already seen that since Ukraine cannot solve the conflict by war or violence, only choice left is non-violent approach. Ukraine doesn’t have oil like Iraq, so the support they get is only verbal support, just like Tibet in 1950s.

    Xi Jinping is closely observing whether Ukraine gets military support strong enough to defeat Russia or not. It is a litmus test for Taiwan.

  4. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has all the similarities of Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1949/50s. They are making same claims over Ukraine and Tibet. Both Russia and China are imperialist powers throughout history. While Tibet was never ruled or part of any Chinese empire, it developed a priest-patron relationship with the Mongol empire and this continued until the Qing empire came to an end in 1911. There was no political overlordship by either party and it was on equal footing as two sovereign nations. Even the May 23 1951 so called “17 point Treaty” between Government of Tibet and CCP Government was on the basis of equal footing and the Chinese communist Government recognised as such. They tried their best not to fly the Tibetan flag and display the CCP flag prominently to give the impression otherwise!
    Ukraine has a similar history like Tibet. It was divided between Russia and Poland in the 17th century. Ukrainian nationalism developed and United the country but the short lived independence was lost when Bolshevik revolution of 1917, absorbed it into a vassal state known as Ukrainian People’s Republic. Ukrainians have a strong dislike of the Russians as a historical grudge. A friend told me, when she visited Ukraine in the 1980s, they spoke Russian to the Ukrainians since they didn’t know Ukrainian! To their dismay, the locals wouldn’t even respond! Therefore, there is lot of bad blood between the Russians and Ukrainians. The strong resentment of Russia by the Ukrainians is because of the Soviet-era great famine of 1932-1933 in which four to five million Ukrainians died and regarded as a genocide by the Ukrainians. Unlike Tibet, Ukraine gained its independence when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Ukraine like Tibet is a vast country with 44 million people while Tibet has only six million.
    Putin used the pretext of getting rid of “Nazis” to invade Ukraine just like communist China invaded Tibet under the pretext of “liberating” Tibet!! it created a Soviet era Russian scenario of serfs who were serving the Russian aristocrats and were treated abysmally. The Chinese copied Soviet style communism and they also used the same terminology and political scenario that existed in pre-Bolshevik Revolution of Czarist Russia to fashion their propaganda to demonise Tibet and its rulers! In reality, 90 percent of Tibetans owned land and being a Buddhist country, there was no such cruelty inflicted upon the population. The people loved and even adored and worshipped their leader, the Dalai Lama while in Czarist Russia there was terrible treatment of the population which created a fertile condition for the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 led by V I Lenin.
    Putin felt threatened by the Eastward expansion of NATO! After the collapse of the erstwhile Soviet Union, most of the Eastern block countries which were the vassels of the Soviets joined NATO to protect themselves from Russian aggression. Initially, Victor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian leader at the time was attempting to sign a treaty with the west but days before the planned treaty in November 2013, he abruptly withdrew. This erupted in demonstrations by Ukrainians at Maidan Square which came to be known as the Orange Revolution. Yanukovych denounced the growing protest as a coup and fled the country to Russia.
    The genesis of the present crises is Russia’s ire in losing Ukraine to the west and it wanted to wrest it. Putin miscalculated the strong resistance by Ukraine and over confidence of its armed forces. Putin has concentrated all the power in his hand. He is surrounded by yes men who wouldn’t dare to go against him or his decisions. His plan was a short sharp war to bring Kiev’s to its knees but it is almost a year since 24th February when Putin let his dogs of war.
    Putin is a killer and the US President said it in no uncertain terms. He has waged war in Chechenia and reduced it to rubble. In twenty months campaign against the Chechen independent movement, Putin killed an estimated 25,000 to 200,000 Chechen civilians plus 8000 to 40,000 Russian soldiers lost their lives in the second Chechen war. The world looked the other way as millions of Syrians were killed. An estimated 580,000 people were killed and 13 millions Syrians were displaced and 6.7 million were made refugees who are languishing in Turkey.
    Today, Putin has used the same tactic of destroying civilian infrastructure to debilitate and destroy their morale and most of Ukraine’s eastern part is reduced to rubble. He has sent poorly trained recruits as cannon fodders to the frontline and owing to their inexperience and lack of training, the war is raging even after almost a year. His dream of recapturing Ukraine has not only gone up in smoke but in fact he achieved the opposite of what he sought to achieve. He has inadvertently United the west and bolstered NATO’s relevance in the 21st century. Remember, when Trump was President, being Putin’s buddy, Trump said, “NATO was obsolete”.
    Putin’s army consists of Chechen conscripts, the Wagner group which is said to be Putin’s private army and in recent times as the war went against Putin, he is said to be using prisoners to go and fight in Ukraine to secure their freedom. Countries like Sweden and Finland have never joined NATO even though they share border with Russia. Now, with Putin’s reckless invasion of Ukraine both Sweden and Finland are in the process of being inducted into NATO. Turkey is spoiling the game by refusing to allow Sweden to join NATO because of a far right Swedish group leader’s burning of the Koran recently.
    There is no end in sight. The famous German Leopard tanks will arrive at the end of March. These tanks and other contributions from the US to UK will bolster Ukraines defence capability and secure territory occupied by Russia it is hoped. If the war goes badly with Putin, there is real danger of using chemical weapons which Putin used in Syria. It’s also possible, he might use tactile nuclear weapons under the pretext of the west arming Ukraine. With a deadly killer at the helms in the Kremlin backed by equally blood thirsty CCP megalomaniacs, the dawn of 21st century is looking like going back to the 19th and 20th century which have been wrecked by bloodshed and misery. The war between Russia and Ukraine is fought on the basis of protecting democracy and preventing autocracy. It is therefore a battle for ideologies. Neither side can afford to lose. Depending upon how the war fares for Russia in Ukraine, the Chinese will start their attempt to to seize Taiwan! We are looking for a rather grim picture of wars that will bring immense suffering to humanity and the whole sale destruction of countries! When there is even a single mad man like Putin or Xi, they can create havoc on our planet!

    1. I want to say that 17 Point Agreement was not signed on equal basis. The 17 Point Agreement between Tibet and China was not a legal agreement. The Chinese communists have Annexed Tibet illegally with military force and the 17 Point Agreement was signed unter duress in Peking. Still the Tibetans tried to make the best out it. But the communist Chinese themselves didn’t abide on any of the points in this agreement which led to Tibetan revolt in March 1959 in Lhasa and His Holiness the Dalai Lama‘s escape to India.

      When the 17 Point Agreement was signed on equal basis with acceptance from the governments on both sides and especially if the communist Chinese abided to this Agreement sincerely, the Tibetan would not have fought against the Chinese in the eastern Tibet in the fifties and there would not have been the March revolt in 1959 in Lhasa.

      I think the communists are Chronic liars. We have made the experience that one can’t trust the communists at all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *