Monday, 16 July 2007

UK expels Russian diplomats - The opposite of warm peace is?

Foreign Secretary David Miliband is not taking any prisoners on his stance with Russia. Well, of course he would like to take one: Andrei Lugovoi, an ex-KGB officer and prime suspect in the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. The Russians are exercising their right to refuse the extradition of a citizen under the European Convention on Extradition 1957. Miliband has the backing of the Conservatives and the Lib Dems but I can't help feeling the spectre of the Cold War lurking in the shadows. Russian president Vladimir Putin does not come across as a man that responds well to external pressure or criticism.

Russia's Foreign Ministry chief spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said: "London's position is immoral. Moreover, in London they should clearly realise that such provocative actions masterminded by the British authorities will not be left without an answer and cannot but entail the most serious consequences for Russian-British relations". I for one do not want to fall out with a man like Putin, people still disappear in Russia and he has shown in recent weeks that he will not have Russia belittled. Bush and Brown are playing a dangerous game with our security. If you poke an angry dog with a stick, you expect to get bitten. We are not dealing with reasonable men, if we were, they would have already handed over Andrei Lugovoi.

Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev said: "In the end, both the UK and the US always understood that this approach doesn't work. This matter shouldn't be politicised." For the sake of his family, Alexander Litvinenko's murderer should be brought to justice, but I think we should ask ourselves: at what cost?

Is it me, or is it starting to feel a bit chilly?

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4 comments:

Elliott said...

Agree with you 100%. I couldn't believe it when I heard this news - how on earth does this further Britain's interests? As it happens we've steadfastly refused to extradite Boris Berezovsky back to Russia in just the same way (as I've commented back on my own blog).

After only a couple of weeks this government has accomplished something I would have thought impossible: made our foreign policy look even more foolish than before.

Harry Hook said...

I am certainly no Commie rascal, but if I was Putin, I would be concerned about EU empire building.

PS Is it worth buying a new gas fire?

Charlie Marks said...

Boris Berezovsky... ah, hows about a swap? The russians get the boated billionaire and the brits get the spooky spook?

Seriously, though, this whole affair is not about some dead spy (he who lives by the sword...) but rather the tension between russia and europe. Mind you, the russians have even fallen out with their allies (cutting off fuel to Belarus) so provocation doesn't work as a way of getting the russian government to change policy... old gorby's right on that one.

what's the problematic policy? The Russian oligarchy is seeking to gain control of the country's natural resources through the state owned company -- nationalised resources, privatised profits... The foreign companies are being squeezed out, notably BP, with whom Blair's government had a cosy relationship.

The russian ruling class is not content to be a comprador bourgeoisie and since there is no table around which "the west" and russia sits (apart from G8) there's bound to be a spiralling of this spat.

Lars H. F. said...

But are Bush and Blair actually acting together? Or is Brown slowly parting from the "special relationship" with Washington? What does one have to make of Brown untertaking his first visit to Merkel instead of heading to the US?

Teaming up with Germany to confront Russia? Further details can be found on the Atlantic Community:

Will Brown's Dinner With Merkel Leave Bush Hungry