Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning new claims on alleged links between members of the Russian community in the UK and intelligence services

Question: How would you comment on the claims in the British media that “half of the Russians in London are working for Russian intelligence”?

Answer: Those publications are based on a report by “Henry Jackson Society”, an organisation that does not hide its anti-Russian position. But even this superficial and irresponsible report has been distorted by the media affiliated with the current Conservative government for the sake of sensation and a further increase of Russophobic sentiment in the British society. A non-committal phrase – “Reflecting the level of paranoia within London’s Russian community, interviewees and interlocutors suggested that anywhere between a quarter and a half of Russian expats were, or have been, informants” has been transformed by the media into a categorical statement: “The study said there were as many as 75000 Russian informants in London”.

To the Embassy’s knowledge, our compatriots have met these tricks skeptically and even sarcastically. These publications would have been unworthy of a public comment, if they weren’t leading to a further escalation of tensions and distrust towards Russians living in Britain. We regretfully note that this is going on with the connivance of the British authorities. Official rhetoric concerning efforts against money laundering has already created a “toxic” aura around hundreds of Russian businessmen, and it is now spreading to thousands of taxpayers, who have decided to reside in Britain.

We also have to state that appearance of such materials is a new element in the pressure campaign against the Russian Embassy in London, which is intended to discourage both British and Russian citizens from contacts with us. We would like to note that, as far as we know, the British Embassy in Moscow does not face such problems.