Without necessarily stating it as such, Moscow seeks to present its understanding of multilateralism as more universal in nature than that of the EU. It does this by claiming that the Russian understanding is devoid of ideology and values: an extension of an inclination on the Kremlin's part to achieve the impossible and strip concepts of values. For Russia, multilateralism is less normative principle than strategy. When speaking of it, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov refers to the example of organizations of which Russia is a part, such as the UN, G20, and BRICS. They are simply presented as vehicles through which Russia promotes and projects its interests, a pragmatic understanding of the multilateral, in which, as Lavrov puts it, "there is no room for any idealized position or messianism," the latter defined as "the aspiration to disseminate values across the world." Russia's conception of multilateralism is also one that supports the sovereignty of states, which is protected by international law. How multilateralism, sovereignty, and support for international law do not constitute values is unclear.
By contrast, the EU is entirely transparent and firm in its belief that multilateralism represents a value-driven stance, but equally sees it as a pragmatic response to global challenges. At their meeting in June 2019, the EU foreign ministers reinforced the message of the EU Global Strategy that support for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law are necessary to bolster the "rules-based multilateralism" that the EU promotes.