Friday, July 13, 2007

Daily Mail (rant)


12/07/07 - News section

We must be tough with Private Putin
by EDWARD LUCAS


How they must be trembling in the Kremlin. Britain is talking tough: a "withdrawal of cooperation" in education, social affairs or trade. Probably the first public expulsion of Russian diplomats since 1996.

Officials will dress this up as a strong response. But in truth it is preposterously feeble.

We have seen nuclear terrorism on the streets of London. The assassins used polonium-210, a rare radioactive isotope produced in a Russian government research institute.

They killed a UK citizen and endangered dozens more. Now Russia is brazenly refusing to extradite the prime suspect.

It is clear that Britain now officially accepts what many have been saying for months: that the FSB, the secret-police heirs to the KGB, connived in the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.

If the skull and crossbones were flying over the Kremlin, it could hardly be clearer: Russia under Vladimir Putin is a pirate state that unashamedly flaunts its contempt for the law.

It is no exaggeration to say that the FSB runs Russia: its former chief, Mr Putin, is the president. Its ruthless and greedy tentacles stretch across all corners of that vast land, high finance to the depths of organised crime.

It has throttled Russian democracy. It is gobbling up business. Now it is hunting down the Kremlin's foes abroad.

We should be responding to this outrage with a series of tough measures that will hit the Kremlin and its cronies hard.

Britain's first step should be the expulsion of not just a symbolic few, but every one of the dozens of FSB operatives here.

They range from a handful who are "declared", working openly at Russia's embassy and Edinburgh consulate as liaison with British counterparts.

The more sinister ones pretend to be cooks and drivers there.

At the Aeroflot check-in back to Moscow they can meet their deep-cover colleagues: those pretending to be businessmen and students.

Some expulsions may, indeed, have already happened. Sources say they were kept quiet in order not to escalate the row with Russia.

If so, that was typical official spinelessness: we should be trumpeting our fury from the rooftops of Whitehall, not sparing the Kremlin's blushes. We should stop giving Russia's rulers visas to come here.

They enjoy the spoils of power at home while they invest in Britain, their wives shop here, and their children go to our finest private schools. They must realise that welcome is cancelled for accomplices in murder.

British banks and businesses must realise the risks of gobbling Russian bait. The heads of Britain's biggest companies recently paid grotesque homage to Mr Putin at an economic forum in St Petersburg in June.

They included BP and Shell, seemingly undeterred by having had their best assets in Russia snatched by the Kremlin's business allies.

Tony Blair had just warned British firms about the political risks of Russia. Yet scandalously, our captains of industry toed the Kremlin line, that Mr Blair's warning was the "emotional outburst of an ex-prime minister".

Not since British trades unionists went to the Kremlin in the 1980s to praise the peace-loving Soviet leadership and denounce the "war-mongers" Thatcher and Reagan have I felt more ashamed. The bleak truth is that we again have a fifth column in this country.

During the last Cold War it was the communist trade unionists, who with their "peace movement" allies used the Kremlin's secret funding to undermine our democracy and our defences.

Now the fifth column wear pinstripes, not overalls. The 30 silver roubles that fuels their treachery is not smuggled, but highlighted in the top line of their annual report and accounts.

Selling lorryloads of stolen goods in the streets of the City of London would be stopped even by our paperwork-swamped

No compromises: Vladimir Putin police. Yet Russian companies that have looted their rivals and defrauded their shareholders are allowed to raise money on the London Stock Exchange.

Our American allies now deny visas to dodgy tycoons and have toughened the rules for Russian companies wanting to list their shares in New York. But London's financial markets have become a colossal car boot sale for the crony capitalists of the Kremlin.

The grim pattern is repeated across Europe. Our influence on Russia is swamped by the Kremlin's clout inside the West.

Its energy companies' investments create a formidable bridgehead. Germany's gutsy Chancellor, Angela Merkel, longs to be tough with Mr Putin, a man she loathes. But her own party's influential business backers are holding her back.

We must stop Gazprom and other statebacked Russian energy companies buying our companies until Russia abides by the rule of law. That day is a long way off.

Russia's increasingly menacing nuclear posturing gives the lie to any idea that a replacement for Trident is no longer necessary.

We need to upgrade our electronic security: the cyber-assault on Estonia in May was a grim warning of what awaits those who annoy the Kremlin.

Networks of thousands of computers - known as "botnets" - hijacked by organised criminals crashed many of that brave little country's most crucial websites, cutting off the outside world.

American and Nato specialists have been working intensively to learn the lessons of that attack. We risk being dangerously complacent.

The BBC must urgently investigate the scandalous pusillanimity of the Russian service, once an emblem of British liberty and now unwilling to interview Cold War heroes such as Oleg Gordievsky on the Litvinenko case for fear of losing their transmitters in Russia.

It is worrying that Gordon Brown's close advisers include no one with real knowledge of Russia, now the world's largest rogue state.

Britain has the chance to lead Europe in resolute resistance to the Kremlin's xenophobic and authoritarian regime. Let us hope our new prime minister does not flinch from the challenge.

Edward Lucas is the author of a forthcoming book, The New Cold War And How To Win It


©2007 Associated New Media

67 comments:

Jens-Olaf said...

What a contrast, if a German daily like Sueddeutsche publishes a very critical article on Putin, many comments will praise Putin and his way of governing. And of course they will emphazise how careful we should be with Russia and we should 'understand' it. I am wondering how the Britsh would comment on a harsh Putin critic. I only know in Germany there is a lot of 'understanding'.

Nothing is Free said...

Well that's the price you pay for the Dutch disease. When your "modern" economy is all about banking and and services and tourism, it's "Yes, Sir! Anything else, Sir?".

It is obvious that the UK wants to put the whole thing to rest as soon as possible, else it would not have been asking for the impossible. (Oh I know that those Russkies ignore their own laws all the time anyway, but you can't preach to a savage by stooping to his level, can you?) The right thing to do would be to prosecute the case through Russian courts. If it looks like a kangaroo court, fine, you have all the moral right to be howling your indignation. Until then, it's a bunch of hot air.

From all evidence gathered so far, there is no proof that the "cyber war" on Estonia was anything more than hacktivism. The nuclear posturing claim is laughable. At the current rate of force renewal, Russia will have a moderate deterrent in 10 years time, but no first-strike force by any stretch of imagination.

The worst thing that Russia can do to UK is take her business elsewhere. After all, as far as Russia is concerned, the UK is just Upper Guernsey with (American) missiles.

Nothing is Free said...

Russia, now the world's largest rogue state.

Actually it would be Britain's biggest and most favourite weapons customer - Saudi Arabia.

White Crow said...

Articles like these make me glad to realize that businesses can make their own decisions, independent of journalists and ex-prime ministers.

British businesses would be stupid not to invest in Russia, since it's one of the biggest bonanzas in world history to do business here.

Of course, pathological Russophobes would prefer to have the country run By MK and BB instead.

It's tough to deal with a resurgent Russia -- grow up and get used to it.

By the way, Mr. Lucas -- you DO know that the Russian constitution has an article that does not allow the extradition of Russian citizens, don't you?

Britain is free to provide the evidence to Russia and see how it plays out.

One more comment on journalists: it's funny to notice that there is almost no interests among British newspapers and self-declared experts to investigate the strange deaths that have accompanied the rise of MK and BB to fortune and fame...

Colleen said...

"Our American allies now deny visas to dodgy tycoons and have toughened the rules for Russian companies wanting to list their shares in New York."

Do you mean the Sarbanese-Oxley Act? That's for all listed companies, not just Russian.

"Angela Merkel, longs to be tough with Mr Putin, a man she loathes."

I disagree, unless you know something not publicly available. Merkel hasn't reversed Schroeder's policies at all. During the G8 last month, Putin was always placed at Merkel's immediate right in every picture opp. Stoiber, Beck, Steinmeir - all the key politicians in Germany have passionately taken Russia's position in its ABM dispute with the U.S. Being friendly with Russia is a national priority for Germany IMO.

White Crow said...

Colleen,

you're right. It's pretty presumptuous to speculate on the feelings of a politician towards another politician, or what they "long" to do, but actions speak louder than words: apart from some symbolic acts and a few snide comments, German policies towards Russia are largely unchanged.

Germany is too heavily invested in Russia to fall for Menatep/Soros sponsored clap-trap.

German businesses in Russia are doing fine, thank you very much, just like British -- they have more brains than journalists, and realize that what really matters is economic development, not the fate of some dubious creatures like MK, AL, or BB.

Regarding Litvinenko: isn't it funny that his 'last statement' was written down, but not videotaped? How do we know he actually made that statement, or are there recordings of it?

Recording technology these days comes on cell phones... have BB minions not enough money for a camera cell-phone?

Giustino said...

The 'Dutch" disease is more than banking and services. It's constantly tolerating the murder of your citizens and their enablers -- see Russian FSB and Litvinenko, radical Mosques and 7/7, Glasgow attacks.

I don't see any harm in expelling all the FSB personnel in the UK. Why not? What are you Putin apologists so afraid of? You are totally sucking off the ITAR-TASS teet. 'Everything's fine; go back to sleep'. A little Polonium poisoning? 'No big deal. Everything is fine. We are making money in Russia. Go back to sleep.'

Fifth column indeed ;)

Nothing is Free said...

I don't see any harm in expelling all the FSB personnel in the UK. Why not?
Why not indeed? Who are they BTW? Are there any Western intelligence personnel in Russia?

What are you Putin apologists so afraid of?
What's a Putin apologist?

You are totally sucking off the ITAR-TASS teet. 'Everything's fine; go back to sleep'.
Presumptious. But were it so, it beats sucking the "Daily Mail" hind teat any day.

A little Polonium poisoning? 'No big deal.
Present the evidence. Press for a trial in Russia. Until then the current histrionics are not justified. (But of course we all know that the natives cannot be trusted with their own natural resources, much less the trial of a British citizen.)

Jimy said...
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shaftoe said...
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shaftoe said...

Hilarious read.

A country that doesn't even have a constitution histerically demanding Russia to violate it's fundamental law and hand over it's citizen, given that no evidence of his crime has been provided (because no eveidence even exists, as it seems).

A country that became a shelter for all kinds of criminals, thieves and terrorists, a country that continuously refuses all legitimate (and supported by evidence) requests for extradition of such thieves and terrorists - - this country dares to talk about law and justice?

Talking about "skull and bones" over the Kremlin - what country has the most famous pirate among it's knights? Not to mention other "honorable" persons like treacher Gordievsky...

Way to care about own national interests - just bark at Russia, no meaning or logic required, just make it loud. Who cares about medic-bombers in UK? Who cares about terrorists and thieves in UK as long as they declare themselves enemies of Kremlin? (btw, I wonder how UK is going to handle another arrest warrant for Mr. Berezovsky, issued by Brazil this time)

It would be pathetic and disgusting if it wasn't just plain stupid and hilarious.

Vitaliy said...

So, Edward, it seems like you has not get any positive comments this time...
Could you guess why?
... (nop! nop! wrong!!!)

ok, I will open the secret:
you are lier, and even worse, you are dump lier :((
try to be more smart, more professional at least...

Colleen said...

Vitaliy, it's an encouraging sign that the masses aren't buying the propaganda of bitter and resentful warmongers with ulterior motives.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but Mr. Lucas appears to be passionate about an opinion entirely wrong and completely based on the premise that Russia is evil and must be destroyed.

Nevertheless, such pieces are a fun read because they are so emotional and passionate (on the hate side). A casual observer can ask themselves, "Wow, how can this guy be so wrong and not have a clue!"

So, I can't wait for Mr. Lucas' book.

No offense Edward, just an entirely different opinion on the Russia vs. west angle.

Colleen

http://winthrop77.blogspot.com

rusak said...

"...Mr. Lucas appears to be passionate about an opinion entirely wrong and completely based on the premise that Russia is evil and must be destroyed."

The thing is, Lucas really does think like this. Lucas would be an excellent case study in anti-Russian hysteria. He really does think that Russians are inherently and relentlessly evil. This nut has basically dedicated his life to the struggle against the Borg- er, I mean the Russians.

Just take a look at this:

Quote:
Just to say that I found your website extremely interesting and I entirely share your fears for the futures of small nations still trapped under Russian rule.

Regards Edward Lucas Moscow correspondent The Economist

edward lucas
edwardlucas@economist.com
UK/Russia -- Tuesday, May 02, 2000 at 16:34:41 (EET)


Here he blatantly questions Russia's territorial integrity. And this, while he was the Moscow correspondent(!) for the Economist. Imagine if the Washington correspondent was writing things like this about the American Indians -- against a background of constantly demonizing and trashing the United States in every article. He even signed his name to it, amazing!

Edward Lucas, seriously, how does your rank hypocrisy not make you sick? Maybe you should look a little closer to home and share some fears about the future of, say, the Cornish nation under English rule. I mean, "the English" have pretty much exterminated the Cornish, Welsh, Scottish and Irish languages -- why don't you worry about that?

Edward Lucas said...

Thanks for all the feedback. I think the "dutch disease" is really an overvalued currency caused by rapid oil and gas exploitation.

With regard to the last comment, I do care about Cornish (and indeed have written about it in the Economist)
http://economist.com/world/britain/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_PVDPSTG

It is entirely reasonable to worry about the future of the Mari, Komi, and other ethnic nations of Russia whose language and culture have suffered so much under Tsarist and then Soviet rule. Now it looks as though they are having a tough time under Putin too.

Edward

White Crow said...

Sorry to be a nuisance, but anybody who claims that Russia is suffering from "Dutch Disease" shows that he hasn't read the economic literature on the topic in any meaningful detail. There was a recent OECD study on this that came to the conclusion (very carefully and awkwardly stated) that Russia does not, in fact, suffer from Dutch Disease. Nor is it likely too, since "Dutch Disease" depends on a number of factors NOT present in Russia's economy.

A very intelligent analyst at the OECD, Mr. Ahrend, has written extensively on the matter of "Resource Curse" in Russia as well, and comes to similar conclusions.

This is, of course, totally beside the little detail that the whole concept of "Dutch Disease" and "Resource Curse" is an economically questionable concept. It's more of a political 'science' concept than anything else.

The literature on it is amazingly weak on definitions, and vague to the point of being useless.

Of course, it's a sexy concept journalists love to talk about, since most journalists are notoriously incapable of understanding academic research.

rusak said...

Wow, that article about Cornish -- I hope you didn't overexert yourself, Edward.

So then, can we find your comments on, for example, Cornish or Irish nationalist sites, giving moral support to the freedom fighters? God knows, the Cornish are a CAPTIVE NATION if there ever was one, Edward. How bout some articles from you, supporting Cornish independence from the evil English empire? And of course Welsh, Scottish and Irish independence as well. And England doesn't need Gibraltar or the Falklands or any of those other islands either. As a matter of fact, why don't the Anglo-Saxons just pack up and go back to Germany, and give "England" back to the Celtic nations, whose language and culture have suffered so much under English rule.

It's funny, you just mentioned the Mari and Komi, but neither of these is even in the list of nations on that site! What was that, a slip of the tongue? Oh, just more oppressed "captive nations" to be liberated, right?

Edward, your pathological hatred of Russia is not "reasonable" by any means.

Tell me something, would the Economist allow their Washington correspondent to be someone who, say, openly supports Native American independence from the United States? Would they allow the Paris correspondent to openly support the breakup of France so that the "captive nations" like the Bretons, Basques, Corsicans, Occitans, Provencals can have their freedom? Can the Madrid correspondent openly support the breakup of Spain? You know, somehow I doubt it. And if this is not the most outrageous kind of hypocrisy, then what is it exactly?

Edward Lucas said...

Yes I agree with Mr Claus here. I was being pedantic and clarifying the term "Dutch disease" rather than arguing that it applies to Russia (not least because there were almost no manufacturing exports to be crowded out in the first place). I do think that natural endowments encourage rent-seeking behaviour by officials, and this is visible in Russia. I have also argued that beautiful countryside and cityscapes have the same effect: the Czechs get a huge rent from Prague which probably stops them concentrating as hard as they should do on competitiveness.

E

Edward Lucas said...

and in response to Rusak, yes I do believe in federalism and strongly supported Scottish and Welsh devolution. It is a mistake to think that respect for national and cultural rights is the same as demanding the breakup of a state. Canada has accommodated Quebec. Germany makes great efforts to preserve its minority languages (eg Sorb and Platt-deutsch). In most civilised countries, indigenous minority cultures and languages are regarded as a national treasure, not an object of contempt and ridicule.

Yes the Economist has supported language rights for Bretons and Basques (and has had a lot of arguments with the Spanish government because we support talks with Basque leaders who they regard as terrorists).

You may disagree with the terminology of "captive nations" but Captive Nations week is still marked every year in the United States with a declaration by the president.

May I suggest that you try visiting Mari-El and talk to the local people there about what they think about Russian linguistic and cultural chauvinism, before you pronounce so confidently that it is a non-issue

Your approach reminds me of the deplorable way English bureaucrats used to deal with Welsh 100 years ago.


Regards
Edward

Jens-Olaf said...

As for the Mari, it is about education in their native language for example. Disintegration of Russia,that is not on the agenda. And some Maris got severe problems while supporting their own interests. That's it.

Jens-Olaf said...

Have to add this part of a press release regarding the Maris:
'On 25 January of this year, Galina Kozlova, a member of the board of the Mari national organisation Mari Usem, and wife of Vladimir Kozlov, chair of the Mari council, was attacked and suffered severe head injuries. The attack follows a series of attacks on Mari activists and journalists in the Mari El republic, and no convictions or arrests have been made. The Mari are a Finno-Ugric minority in Russia, concentrated in the Mari El republic. They are pushing for full cultural and linguistic rights, such as access to secondary and higher education in their language.'

White Crow said...

I lived very close to Mari El, and it seems that their language is quite widely used on a daily basis there, including in shops.

Keep an eye on how things develop with the new Tatarstan accord, the move by Kadirov in Chechnya to have Chechen taught in primary schools, and the subsequent ripple effects of this on other minorities.

I'm sure that Russia will be able to accommodate a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society that nonetheless remains a whole political entity. Russia's diversity is its strength.

Szaulo said...
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Szaulo said...

Yeah, dream on Russia-lovers and admirers, dream on. You wouldn't tell a wake-up call from a death-knell, anyway :)

Nothing is Free said...

Tell us something more useful, Cassandra. Will the $ rally next week?

Knight Igor said...

Hello from Russia, dear Edward.


You is a paranoid. Kill yourself, save the world...

Szaulo said...

@knyaz' igor
"Kill yourself, save the world..."

Before the KGB helps you do that..., right?

And remember Mayakovsky.

shaftoe said...

"It is entirely reasonable to worry about the future of the Mari, Komi, and other ethnic nations of Russia whose language and culture have suffered so much under Tsarist and then Soviet rule. Now it looks as though they are having a tough time under Putin too."

I guess it's the "white man's burden" that moves Mr. Lucas so much in his care about "futures of little nations". Same burden that encouraged "civilised" genleman to ensalve not-so white people and transport them as limber over the oceans. I wonder what those people would choose - suffering under barbaric Tsarist and Soviet rule or bright future under sincere care of civilized "white men".

All those little "enthnic nations" (nicely put, btw), they are probably better off being under Prince Harry, wearing cute HJ uniforms with nazy swastikas.

As sarcastic as this may sound, the statement above is absolutely true for at least one "ethnic nation" - Estonia.

Jews are not little anough as a nation, so Mr. lucas doesnt pay much attention to what happened to them in heroic Baltic States during WWII. Much more important is how many brave "freedom fighter" (Nazy collaborators) were sent to GULAG. This one is tricky though - the numbers of "repressed" and the number of Forest brothers (and others alike) almost match . So much for "repressions agains civilians"...

But who really cares about the facts? "Kremlin unleashes massive cyber attacks on brave Estonia" sounds much better for a "white man" with a "burden".

I wish this burden had something to do with conscience...

shaftoe said...
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shaftoe said...

I just looked at the links on the right column and visited some of those recourses.

"In an op-ed column in Wednesday's edition of the New York Times Theodore Postol (pictured above), identified only as "a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology," lectured us as to the wisdom of accepting dictator Vladimir Putin's offer of an alternative missile defense system not based in Eastern Europe (Russia has shown neo-Soviet level panic over the idea of a missile defense system being installed in Europe which could block a Russian attack, threatening to place offensive missiles in Kaliningrad to overwhelm such a system). Professor Postol is exactly the same sort of traitor to democracy as was Neville Chamberlain."


"Annals of Russian Hypocrisy: The Sochi Scam
Filed under: Russia

Writing in the Moscow Times, hero journalist and radio talk show host Yulia Latynina"

La Russophobe of course...

How can people be so full of such a disgusting mix - hatred, ignorance, bigotry, incompetence and pathological desire to lie?

Because I can't believe such stuff can be produced those who are just on payroll - one has to really think and feel this way.

Sick.

der unbequeme said...

Joseph Goebbels would be proud of Mr. Lucas. I haven't seen such a Russophobe agitator for a long time. Everyone of your statements is ridiculous. Russia is right not to extradite Lugovoy becase the consitituion prohibits it (like in many other countries, too). Britain rejected 26 Russian extradition requests in the last years, even for criminals who are wanted in other countries, too (like Berezovsky in Brazil). So shut up, hypocrite!

Edward Lucas said...

I am amazed that so many people on this discussion think that Russian justice is fair. Have any of you actually sat in a Russian courtroom and watched proceedings? Do you know what the acquittal rates are? Do you know what the inside of a Russian prison is like? I agree that British justice is patchy and has deplorable shortcomings, but I would far rather be Lugovoi in front of an English court than Berezovsky in front of a Russian one

Russophobia doesn't come in to it. Just because I don't like the Kremlin much these days doesn't mean I dislike Russia. Same as people can dislike George Bush but still like America.

rusak said...

"and in response to Rusak, yes I do believe in federalism and strongly supported Scottish and Welsh devolution. It is a mistake to think that respect for national and cultural rights is the same as demanding the breakup of a state."

The point is that you don't hold Britain, Western Europe, the US and Canada to the same standards to which you seem to hold Russia. And Edward, you didn't support "federalism" and "devolution" in the Soviet Union, which you considered a "Russian empire" -- you wanted its breakup, and you think the same way about the Russian Federation today.

"Canada has accommodated Quebec."

Only because the French speakers have solid numbers and didn't have to take any crap from the Anglos -- it certainly wasn't because of any "good will" on the part of the Anglos. You brought up Quebec as an example, so how do you feel about officially "accommodating" the Russian language in Ukraine?

"Germany makes great efforts to preserve its minority languages (eg Sorb and Platt-deutsch). In most civilised countries, indigenous minority cultures and languages are regarded as a national treasure, not an object of contempt and ridicule."

Ha, yeah right, the Cornish language and culture is a regular "national treasure" in jolly old England! Who are you kidding, Lucas? With "great efforts" like this, who needs cultural genocide?

You want to talk about "civilised countries"? Let's talk about this -- how many ethnic Russians ministers are there in the governments of Latvia and Estonia? If we look at a list of the richest people in Latvia, there are more Russians and Russian-speakers on it than Latvians -- but there is only one Russian name out of 19 ministers in the Latvian government. And there is not a single Russian name in the Estonian government. What, am I really supposed to believe that they couldn't find a single Russian who knew the language and was qualified enough? In civilized countries, Edward, efforts are made to promote ethnic harmony and things like that. There should be a token ethnic Russian minister at least for the sake of appearance. Otherwise, it just looks like an apartheid state. I don't care about the Bronze Soldier or other symbolic stuff like that -- I care about things of practical significance.

You called Russia "xenophobic" but meanwhile, back in reality:

The Russian minister for economic development and trade, Gref, is a German. The minister of the interior, Nurgaliev, is a Tatar. The minister for information technologies and communications, Reiman, is a Jew. The minister for emergency situations, Shoigu, is a Tuvan. I don't know what kind of name Zurabov (minister of health and social development) is, but it's not an ethnic Russian name. I heard that Lavrov, the foreign minister, has Armenian ancestry on his mother's side; his predecessor, Ivanov's, mother was Georgian. The minister for regional development, Yakovlev's, mother was an Ingermanland Finn. And of course there are couple of Ukrainian names in there as well.

"Yes the Economist has supported language rights for Bretons and Basques (and has had a lot of arguments with the Spanish government because we support talks with Basque leaders who they regard as terrorists)."

I wasn't talking about "language rights" -- I was talking about independence. The point is that the Economist generally would not allow someone so avowedly hostile to a nation (and its power) to be their correspondent for that nation.

"You may disagree with the terminology of "captive nations" but Captive Nations week is still marked every year in the United States with a declaration by the president."

Maybe Russia should gather the more extreme elements of the minorities in the West and create its own "Captive Nations week" that would be marked every year with a declaration by the president.

The Captive Nations Resolution is thoroughly illegitimate and it is an insult to every Russian. It was written by a Ukrainian nationalist, Dobryansky, who certainly was no friend of the Russian people. The resolution uses terminology lifted straight out of Nazi anti-Russian propaganda. If there had been a sizeable ethnic Russian emigre community in the US at the time, that resolution never would have passed.

You know, it's funny -- these days Ukrainian nationalists want to claim Igor Sikorsky as a Ukrainian. But you know what Sikorsky thought about the Captive Nations resolution? He said that he and his associates "knocked on every door" and did everything they could to stop it, but unfortunately they did not succeed.

That resolution should be amended or repealed altogether, and an apology should be made to the Russian people, as a precondition for normalization of relations between Russia and the United States. The United States should not be allowed to have racist legislation on the books in the 21st century.

"May I suggest that you try visiting Mari-El and talk to the local people there about what they think about Russian linguistic and cultural chauvinism, before you pronounce so confidently that it is a non-issue

Your approach reminds me of the deplorable way English bureaucrats used to deal with Welsh 100 years ago.


I didn't say anything was a "non-issue" -- what are you talking about, Edward? You're talking about yourself, not me.

shaftoe said...

"I am amazed that so many people on this discussion think that Russian justice is fair. Have any of you actually sat in a Russian courtroom and watched proceedings? Do you know what the acquittal rates are? Do you know what the inside of a Russian prison is like? I agree that British justice is patchy and has deplorable shortcomings, but I would far rather be Lugovoi in front of an English court than Berezovsky in front of a Russian one"

Ha, so you admit that Berezovsky has every reason to be in jail? You just complain about how the jail looks inside, right?

As for the courts - sure, Russian judges don't wear wigs, so no doubt that there is no justice in Russian courts.

Where police can shoot to death innocent people on the street - and nobody even gets in court for that (forget about jail)? UK, not Russia.


"Russophobia doesn't come in to it. Just because I don't like the Kremlin much these days doesn't mean I dislike Russia. Same as people can dislike George Bush but still like America. "

Same? Not even close. The majority of Americans voted against GWB, which didn't prevent him from becoming the president. The majority of Americans disapprove GWB, so you can quite easily separate the White House from the American people. But how is it the same with Putin having overwhelming support of the population in Russia?

So let's be honest and not do this "I love Russia but I hate Kremlin" thing.

And please don't start about "Kremlin-controlled TV", "lack of freedom of speech" etc, because that's just childish nonsense. Always talking about 3 major free-air TV networks but forgetting about the forth one which is anti-Kremlin to the bones. Add to that Euronews - is that one controlled by Kremlin and censored too? How about BBC-World, TV5 MONDE, DW-TV, some Italian channel plus Georgian, Azerbaijan, Ukrainian channels, plus RTVi, plus Tatar (talking about "ethnic nations" language problems), plus something from Poland - in a cable TV package costing only $6/month?) And that's just one company package, in large cities there are usually 2-3 competing cable TV companies offering services in EACH APARTMENT BUILDING.

I'm not even going into satellite dishes and internet.

But of course, all this doesn't matter because the majority of the population can't afford all this? $6/month is huge money, everyone knows that Russians live in poverty.

When you talk about Russian people being brainwashed and zombified by Kremlin-controlled media, you state pretty clearly how you feel about Russian people. It reads in every article. Brainwashed barbarians with tendency to support everything totalitarian in need for liberators - to teach and guide them for their own good...

Anton said...

hi )) Sorry about that "test comment" thing that I hope never went through anyway.

Edward, I recently sent you a letter, asking about the article you wrote here :) Remember those "EVIL-KGB-VODKA-BALALAIKA-BEARS" lines? However, I don't feel like I've said enough, so I created a google account to continue )

It's funny you've mentioned Komi. Cause I'm actually a Komi kid (not a commie kid that is )). You may not believe me but I never felt opressed while living in Syktyvkar (the capital of the Komi republic in Russia). We studied Komi culture and Komi language. It's just that Komi language is unpractical, so most children study Russian and English ( or German, French or Spanish) in their schools.
So your reference sounds unprofessional, as it's my personal experience here against you making things up a bit ))

I mean no harm, but if you call yourself a journalist, try consulting not only your paranoid fears of my country, but also facts and common sense. Otherwise it just looks like you're getting paid for being so russophobic.

Can it be that you're an undercover FSB agent, pulling lame unproved anti-Kremlin propoganda in order for Russian readers to get more nationalistic and start despising Western countries? Try changing tactics, mate, you risk becoming a laughing stock not only in Russia (but you probably don't care about my country )).

By the way, if you want to learn more about media freedom in Russia, you can ask me, as my occupation is TV journalism )) We do have problems, but i think every country has them (you know, being biased and stuff ;)).

For all those who commented on the article and are not paranoid about EVIL-MORDOR-SAURON-KGB-BEARS-VODKA-RUSSIA-EMPIRE - thanks, guys. People like Edward Lucas make Russians hate your nation. People like yourselves show our countries can co-exist and cooperate peacefully ) Certainly hope it'll be that way.

Cheers)

rusak said...

I am amazed that so many people on this discussion think that Russian justice is fair.

This is not about whether Russian justice is fair. It's not Britain's place to decide that. If Britain wants cooperation from Russia, it had damn well better cooperate with Russia. Britain's refusal to extradite Berezovsky is more politically motivated than the charges against him. What does it even matter if they are politically motivated? The charges against Al Capone were politically motivated. The breakup of Standard Oil was politically motivated. The US embargo on Cuba is politically motivated. The bottom line is, they just don't like Russia's politics and think they can get away with it. But, again, it's not the their place to pass judgment on Russia's politics -- unless they want a good dose of their own medicine.

Russophobia doesn't come in to it. Just because I don't like the Kremlin much these days doesn't mean I dislike Russia. Same as people can dislike George Bush but still like America.

Nobody believes you, Edward. From your writings, as I recall, one of your main ideas about Russia is something to the effect that Russia (state and people) must repent for all the hideous, terrible history, beg for forgiveness from the "captive nations" (probably give up all the land and cease to exist too, right?) and all this kind of thing. And supposedly it is because Russia had refused to do this that it has problems now. Did I get that more or less correct? Oh, but "Russophobia doesn't come in to it".

Edward, I don't see you atoning for English crimes over the centuries. Not at all. Let me tell you this on behalf of the Russian people: we would rather just go straight to hell than to ever apologize to anyone. And Cornwall will be free before you ever get the satisfaction.

Colleen said...
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Colleen said...

A+ to the last two comments.

And let's not forget that the U.S. still uses the death penalty, the U.K.'s a monarchy, and that perhaps up to a million innocent civilians have died in a war for oil that these two countries illegally waged.

Yes, we're talking about Russia but we can't just talk about Russia without putting things in perspective and comparing its actions with common norms and the actions of others. "The theory of relativity"

I agree with Rusak regards Edward's prejudice, but the thing is that he might not realize it. To the reader it does seem that Edward is completely Russophobic, putting a negative spin on any action Russia takes. Once again, he naturally assumes that Russia is evil and, of lately, urging the west to confront (destroy?) it.

shaftoe said...

You may not believe me but I never felt opressed while living in Syktyvkar (the capital of the Komi republic in Russia).

Anton, you blew your cover! Every westerner knows that access to the Internet in Russia is mostly limited to Moscow and St. Petersburg. And it's under heavy FSB censorship - "Its ruthless and greedy tentacles stretch across all corners of that vast land"

Everybody knows that even "cyber-assault on Estonia" has been carried out directly from computers located at Kremlin. If these KGB thugs could cover up and attack from Syktyvkar they surely would. But they couldn't - there is no Internet in Syktyvkar!

So your made-up story shows us that you are probably on a payroll working for Kremlin's xenophobic and authoritarian regime.

But Cold War heroes such as Oleg Gordievsky tell the truth to the freedom-loving people of the West, so stop your silly propaganda!

You should know that western journalists never lie to their readers.

Nothing is Free said...

My misguided Russophilic Friends (Useful Idiots),

You obviously don't know Moskovia history well enough. Mordor sounds a lot like Murder? And Moscow like Mordor... This is no coincidence, oh no, my huckleberry friends. All three derive from the ancient sanskrit merdr, because Moskva's favourite public spectacle was daily mass executions of captives on Red (as in BLOODY) Square. No different from the Aztecs really.

You know why the Balts and the Poles hate Russians so much?!! When the Russkies "liberated" them, for a full year they would shoot any man on sight, and rape all the women. Think about that the next time you watch Tootsie!!

rusak said...

nothing is free, frankly, I don't think the whole "Moskovia" gag is very appropriate here. You're dealing with Edward Lucas, not some Ukrainian or Belarusian nationalist. It's not really Lucas' regular terminology. You might even confuse some innocent passerby. If you want some BUZZWORDS, use "captive nations", "imperial ambitions", "suffering under Russian rule", "the Borg", "authoritarian" etc.

Nothing is Free said...

Dear rusak (FSB stooge),

Russian imperialism is Russian imperialism. Your mockery and bloody herrings will not silence me. It is a well-known fact that Litvinenko was killed on Putin's direct orders, because he was about to reveal irrefutable evidence of Russian involvement in 911 and Putin's paedophilia. You can kill us, smear us with your lies, but you will not stop the truth from coming out!

Nothing is Free said...

Russophobia doesn't come in to it. Just because I don't like the Kremlin much these days doesn't mean I dislike Russia. Same as people can dislike George Bush but still like America.

Yeah, I too hate niggers, but some of my best friends are black.

Jah_Alarm said...

Russiophobia~bullshitophilia...Little Britains will get what they deserve when their American 'allies' leave them for good, as they did in South Vietnam

White Crow said...

nif,

please forgive me for coming down so hard on you last time. Your humor is priceless!!!!! I should have known.

La Russophobe said...

Hooray for Edward Lucas! Looks like he really touched a nerve on this one, because the personal abuse from the Russophile scumbags is flying fast and furious. As always, Russians can't tell the difference between their friends (Solzhenitsyn) and their enemies (Stalin) and therefore support their friends and attack their enemies. It would be laughable if it weren't so very sad. Edward is one of Russia's greatest living patriots, and yet Russians want to kill him, just as they killed Anna Politkovskaya. What a wretched, pathetic nation it is!

It's wildly ironic how Russophiles complain about people "hating" Russia yet you never once hear them chastising Russians for hating America or any other Western entity. That's because they think it's fine for Russians to hate, just not to be hated. And so it goes in Russia, as the country once again swirls down toilet bowl of oblivion, blithely repeating the mistakes of the past and provoking a confrontation it cannot even wage, much less win.

What will replace Russia, as it replaced the USSR?

Timothy Post said...
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Nothing is Free said...

LaR,

Good point. The nerve was touched, and it is indeed raw. These borscht-eating balalaika players like to deflect fair criticism of their evil totalitarian culture, by mocking us with Mordor references. But why do they keep drawing this parallel? After all, no Westerner that I know of taunts Russians by comparing them to Mordor. Could it be because... it is true?

Truth has this funny way of coming out, under the strangest of circumstances, from the least likely sources, and often, like in this case, unconsciously.

The wheel of time is turning, and we have unfinished business to attend to. Just like GWB is now atoning for his father's wavering, the West must now make sure that Russia is defeated once and for all. The last 15 years have shown Russia's utter inability to earn our trust, let alone be a good steward of her real estate. What do you expect from a people, whose language does not even have a word for freedom?

It is not going to be easy. Many of Russia's former colonies may suffer from fallout. We may lose some cities. But when the hammer falls on the last bastion of tyranny it will be a small price to pay for getting rid of the world's largest rogue state. Finally, future former Russia's natural resources will at last be under good management and be used for good, instead of evil. A golden age of peace and prosperity will ensue.

rusak said...

It's often hard to believe that "La Russophobe" is not what is known in internet parlance as an "alias". Why would this character say anything positive about Solzhenitsyn? Edward Lucas certainly knows that Solzhenitsyn is not on his side. Solzhenitsyn is a Russian nationalist and he supports Putin now, as does "Gorby".

der unbequeme said...

Edward Lucas' only support in this blog comes from trolls who avowedly stand by their russophobia and appeal for nuclear bombing of Russia. Isn't it symbolic for Edward Lucas' work?

Vitaliy said...

Let me thank all reasonable people who understand the stupidness of Edward's argumentation. Smart people always command respect.
Forgive him.
That guy doesn't even pretend to be objective, just because he cannot be. Here, you see an examlpe of old ruin, a victim of the cold war. We have to take pity on Edward, his life was probably destroyed and his mind was definitely screwed during this time.
On the other hand, there no excuse for Edward since he pretend to be professional journalist. I think he must understand how pathetic his analysis and argumentation looks like. Even worse, he doesn't even try to find more facts about his topic, to persist his own opinion... I'm telling so confidently, because it is a tendency, try to read his papers!
Edward, it is real shame.

Just imagine, how pathetic will be his book. I'm on 99% sure that his book is just a short compillation of his articles. Since we see his professional level, we may conclude that his book will be just a trash.
Sorry Edward, I'm telling so because I wish you look at yourself objectively.

Nothing is Free said...

Dear rusak (FSB Stooge/Nashyist/Russophilic imbecile),

Gorby is a dyed-in-the-wool unrepentent communist. He was never a friend of the West. He just put on a good face when the terms of surrender were read to him. Now we see his true colors.

Solzy is either a sell-out, or under FSB duress. He has been looking rather shabby lately. Notice how Yeltsin, the greatest Russian leader of all time, died soon after seeing Putin? Rosstropovich sat next to Putin at some gala, and a month later is dead. George Bush came down with diarrhoea at the G8 summit. And we don't even have to mention the ultimate sacrafice by Saint Litvinenko.

Are all of these mere coincedences? There are no coincedences in Russia. BTW, how many pieces of silver do you get for your propaganda?

Konstantin said...

Sir Fransis Drake... Sir Winston Chirchill.. Sir Oleg Gorgiyevsky...

Keep good company!

Борис1 said...

sorry for my English
dear Mr moke fun of you article all office, more such a article

respeckt from agent KGB, cod name mr PUHLIY

Борис1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Борис1 said...

afftar MUDAK !

shaftoe said...

Watching live traslation from house of commons is just as much fun as it was reading the article.

House of clowns. Pissy clowns :)

alex said...

After your clause feeling such that you rave, I advise you to borrow in other activity, just has learned send 4 diplomats and all with visas they have got excited, England not an iron wall, and your Minister for Foreign Affairs the greenhorn,
It in machines should play instead of a policy to be engaged

Евгений said...

Dear Mr. Lukas. Excuse for my English, but your clause (article? h/z) paranoid delirium.

Giustino said...

As sarcastic as this may sound, the statement above is absolutely true for at least one "ethnic nation" - Estonia.

Oh Christ, just what we need, another Russian Nazi. Estonia has condemned war crimes perpetrated by its nationals.

Yet you still stick-up for people that shipped children to die in concentration camps. And people wonder why everyone outside of Russia hates Russian nationalists ;)

Give me a break dude. As Seinfeld would say, "What's the deal with those Russian Nazis ..."

You talk all the time about the 'victory over fascism' -- look in the mirror. Putin is your Mussolini. Mussolini 'brought stability' and 'made the trains run on time'.

Putin is attempting a similar nationalization of capital. He'll use this blowup to diminish UK economic influence in Russia so he can sell off their failed ventures to Gazprom.

How ironic, the vanquisher of fascism turns fascist. History does have a sense of humor.

ChicagoReader said...

Dear Ed:

Thank you for your excellent article. I totally agree that the British response should've been much tougher and, even more importantly, as you write, "we should be trumpeting our fury from the rooftops of Whitehall, not sparing the Kremlin's blushes." The only other effective measure would be to kick Russia out of the G8, something the UK cannot do on its own. Clearly, the Russians behave like thugs, but behind the xenophobic bravado lies an inferiority complex, the deep need for approval, to belong to the “civilized society.” Russia is “self-sufficient” (as is any country in which the needs of the society are secondary to the needs of the State), so in our responses we’re reduced to gestures and publicity. That is why exposing the Russians for what they really are is more important than ever.

As far as UK response is concerned, as weak as it was, I think we can still feel good about it: at least the UK had guts to do something. Most other countries wouldn't react at all.

I also agree with your condemnation of companies like BP and Shell. Still, it is up to the shareholders to do something about it. I hope they will wake up and vote with their dollars.

We do live in a strange time when a KGB colonel cum President, who castrated the legislature, wiped out the free media, made the judiciary tow the Kremlin line, and is turning the economy into one gigantic governmental chaebol is still a popular figure in Western Europe. Under these circumstances, your comments on Russia are tremendously important. Somebody's got to speak up.

Thank you again.

beatroot said...

Britain's first step should be the expulsion of not just a symbolic few, but every one of the dozens of FSB operatives here.

But you see, it won’t. For one very good reason. I have read here or the Economist or somewhere that this is a new ‘Cold War’. But there is one or two fundamental differences.

One is that there is no ‘battle of ideologies’ going on.

Secondly, trade. Britain is one, if not the, major trading partner of Russia’s these days. London-grad, they call it. Chelski FC. Deals flying between the two capitals. And that will limit, quite properly in my opinion, any diplomatic pogroms.

So I think the trade relationship will put a cap on how bad these disputes between Russia and other trading partners gets. That’s good, puts a cap on aggressive response, and it doesn’t make for a new Cold War. That might go down well with Daily Mail readers, but there again, so does a lot of alarmist silly stuff. …

eatyourbeans said...

I have to laugh though bitterly at the symmetry: Reagan broke the USSR with an arms race; Putin can break the West with oil. Tables turned.
So Chapeau! to Mr Putin, and a warning.
Russia has very hungry neighbors in China and Islam, and will need powerful friends to help her hold on to her pretty oil.
Time will tell whether Mr Putin is wise or merely sly.

Estonia in World Media (Rus) said...

what a change from "don't annoy the Kremlin" advice given to now "brave little" Estonia several months ago.

Andrew said...

I wonder if Lucas ever considered working for the USSR’s Pravda newspaper? It’s surprising he didn’t bearing in mind that in this article he has demonstrated a rare talent for spinning and sabre-rattling while adding so much jingoistic dogma that he has over-egged his toxic little souflee beyond the point of collapse.

As a Brit living in Moscow, I see more than most the faults of Putin, Russia and Russia’s version of capitalist depmocracy. But this American radio shock-jock-esq diatribe has my jaw on the floor. It is true that the UK government need to do something to show their discontent at the Kremlin’s continuing lack of cooperation in murder case of Alexander Litvinyenko. After all, some maladroit assassin sprayed radiation over central London like a dog marking his territory -- leading not only to an almost unfathomably horrific death for a British citizen but placing many others in danger and depriving yet more of their peace of mind.

However, let’s get one or two facts straight. First, and most importantly, no matter how seriously the Kremlin takes Lugavoi’s guilt in this sordid affair, it is AGAINST THE RUSSIAN CONSTITION to extradite a Russian citizen to face trail or arrest in a foreign country. What right have Britain – or any other government, for that matter – to demand that a sovereign country breaks their own constitution?

Second, and on the subject of extradition, why is Boris Berezovsky still in our country? Here is a man who swindled, strong-armed, bribed and stole his way to the acquisition of vast tracts of Russia’s resources, managed – somehow – to siphon billions of dollars out of the country, and now he sits pretty in his London mansion while 30 percent of his compatriots live below the poverty line. Of course, the argument says that he did nothing many other, still in favour, oligarchs didn’t and yet it is he who faces trial. But does Russia not have the right to put these crooks on the block as they see fit?

Russia’s judiciary system holds little more independence than it did in the days of Brezhnev, and the country should be condemned for cultivating such a tin-pot-dictatorship system of justice. Yet even if one feels that Berezovsky’s wealth creation and asset acquisition methods do not merit judgment in such a lamentable system, surely his quoted aims to foment revolution, fund assassins and ignite a coup in against a sovereign leader, Putin, should, no matter what our feelings toward that leader, lead to extradition. Our protection of Berezovsky is the type of save haven we provide for dissidents from known terrorist states, and must be viewed by the Kremlin as such. Why Lugavoi but not Berezovsky?

Finally, BP, Shell and others have undeniably faced a tougher Russian government of late. But what do they expect? Of course, Russia benefited greatly from the investment of capital, technology and expertise that Western oil and gas companies like BP and Shell brought to the table, and it is unlikely that it would find itself in their current position of mineral resource wealth without this. But we in the west must take a long, hard look at the other side of the coin. When Russia was on its knees in the 90’s, facing virtual bankruptcy and in desperate need of foreign currency, western oil and gas companies won a score of the sweetest of deals to develop Russian energy resources. Redressing that balance is certainly not being done in the most civilized of ways, but, really, it’s the kind of tough stance that would be applauded if, in the late seventies, Britain found itself in a similar position and sold North Sea Oil on the cheap.

Perhaps, though, there is another explanation for these pugnacious tactics. It is TNK-BP, not BP, who find themselves being muscled out of the Kovykta field. If Russia was trying to kick BP out of the Russian marketplace, why does the British oil and gas giant find itself on Gazprom’s shortlist for partnership in the 2 billion dollar Baltic liquefied natural gas project?

Gazprom, Rosneft and the rest would like to bargain access to Russia’s vast mineral wealth for similar access to international projects abroad. These transactions are commonplace in the energy industry, and, indeed, we, the west, encouraged international investment from Russia at the downfall of communism. Gazprom, Rosneft, Transneft et al are perhaps going about their business with a style marked ‘Bandit Economy, circa Russia 1994’, but it appears likely that the Kremlin wants to rid itself of another ill-founded oligarch’s empire – Alfa Access Renova owned TNK – while improving it’s bargaining position with BP, something Lucas, the Daily Mail, and any other sane observer would approve of if it was Britain in a similar situation.

Rodric Braithwaite, former British ambassador to Russia, recently wrote, ‘Our own rhetoric is misjudged. We accuse the Russians of playing politics with energy and pipelines, as if the Americans had never prevented Western oil companies from building pipelines through Iran. We deplore President Putin's moratorium on the agreement on conventional weapons in Europe (although the West has not ratified it), as though the Americans had not first denounced the Anti-Ballistic Missile Agreement. We deplore the Russian refusal to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, the alleged perpetrator of the crime, even though their constitution does not permit it. At the same time we tell them that we cannot extradite Boris Berezovsky, the former Russian businessman now living in London, because our courts won't allow it. The Russians call all that double standards. They have a point.’

And so does Braithwaite.

Kristopher said...

Yeah, while I would agree with Edward Lucas, it is too bad that there is such a double standard with the States. It makes any sort of attack against Russia seem mighty hollow and elicits a big groan from the Russians, not all of whom may in fact be trolls.

Acting with impunity and God-on-our-side obstinacy are sort of the order of the day, what can you do.

I say this even though the house where I live with my wife and young son is 300 ft from the riots in April in Tallinn. Trust me, that ain't nothing compared to a good day in Iraq.

G said...

One thing they teach you on MBA programme is that other cultures are totaly wrong if you judge them from the point of view of your own culture :-))))).
Honestly, the cultural blindness of Edvard is simply stunning. He does not understand Russia, its motiffs, culture, even geography, yet he is writing articles about it. No surprise these articles do not look professional (sorry, Edward), just emotions and hysteria.
Yes, we borrow and raise capital in London. But you guys are not saints. These capitals were made on opium trade and overseas sweat shops in the 19th century. Does it make them exempt from moral evaluation ?