"Concerning the sensational report on Russia". Article from News Agency "RIA Novosti", 23 July 2020

Concerning the sensational report on Russia

Article from News Agency “Ria Novosti”, dated 23 July 2020



The naïve British cannot protect their country from cunning Russians! Finally, Britain has published the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee Report, on the subject of threats from Russia and our country’s interference in British affairs.

The report was prepared before last year’s general election, but its publication was long delayed by the ruling Conservatives, and opponents of Boris Johnson accused him of doing it specifically to downplay the Russian threat and prevent his party from losing credibility. Now, however, the report, written in part by well-known retired MI-5 employee Christopher Style (creator of the file on Trump’s “Russian contacts”), has been published. The British press has been disappointed: there is no proof of Russian interference in the Brexit referendum (although they cannot understand how the British voted to leave the EU when most of the political elite, almost all of the press and the City were against it), although there are rumours of attempts to influence the Scottish independence referendum. This, however, is London’s point of view; from Moscow’s perspective, the report is sensational, because its authors’ conclusions are the best evidence that the British powers-that-be are prepared to work in the Kremlin’s interests. Style and Browder (another co-author of the report) do not in fact understand this, but this is the skill of the so-called KGB heirs’ game. But let’s start at the beginning.

Although the report is dedicated to searches for answers to the Russian threat, it has first and foremost an internal political dimension. Britain has many problems, not least the secession of Scotland from the United Kingdom. Glasgow is unhappy with Brexit, which went against the will of the Scottish people (the north voted to stay in the EU), and another independence referendum is being demanded. In the last referendum in 2014, the independence supporters lost, but now everything is working to their advantage (especially since EU citizens living in Scotland will probably be denied the right to vote). Although London does not want to allow the referendum, Glasgow is insistent, and it is not impossible that at some point it will announce it unilaterally.

And now the opponents of a new Scottish referendum have what they see as a compelling argument: it’s simply too dangerous to have a referendum! After all, Russian interfered in the last referendum! So the report maintains, with its reminder about “reliable comments from open sources” confirming Russia’s capacity to influence the Scottish referendum. This, it turns out, is the first “post-Soviet interference in Western democratic processes”. Quite so; and the incompetent British special services missed not only this, but also Moscow's attempt to influence the Brexit referendum. Of course the government “did nothing to defend Brexit”. The British came to their senses only after the vigilant Americans noticed Russian attempts of the Russians to interfere with the US presidential elections in 2016. The report contains much criticism of the special services, which are not ready to resist such a dangerous enemy.

So how is Russia a threat? And why does it need Britain? The authors concur that Moscow considers London the central player in the Western anti-Russian lobby, and therefore the United Kingdom is “one of the principal targets for intelligence activities in the West”. Surprising, yes; why would Russians see Britain in that way? Maybe it’s because we remember (and indeed remember with increasing clarity) our own history, in which we have seen the last few centuries (and especially since the early 19th century) as a constant strategic game of London versus our country. It may be at different levels, to varying extents, under different slogans and for different reasons, but Britain is the initiator and perpetrator of almost all forms of Russophobia. Interference in our internal affairs (including politically-motivated murders), support for internal Russian unrest, incitement to war on the empire’s periphery (for example, in the Caucasus and Central Asia), inciting other powers against us, harbouring fugitive troublemakers and thieves, and sowing misinformation and false propaganda, all are constantly present in Russian-British relations. Naturally, Russia treats Britain in the same way that it treats it, and we do not dehumanize the enemy or set ourselves the goal of crushing it. For us, Britain is nothing more than a continuous enemy and threat, with which we can conclude a truce and even be an ally, but is never to be trusted.

Meanwhile, Russia has never interfered in Britain’s internal affairs, even in past centuries, when Emperor Paul’s intention to march on India remained only an intention (which did not prevent the British from actively participating in the conspiracy and assassination of the Russian emperor). London at that time was so awash with anti-Russian falsehood (for both internal and external use), that even when exposed, it remained an integral part of British attitudes to our country. By inventing a Russian threat, both around the world and in its own country, the British elite found themselves enslaved by their own Russophobia. In other words, they can no longer adequately perceive what is happening; they see Russians even where there are no Russians. And as a result, the fight against the Russian threat turns into the exact opposite: a fight against what threatens the Russians.

A paradox! But what does the intelligence committee’s report say? There are three main Russian threats, three main challenges for Britain.

The first is cyberattacks, on both election processes and infrastructure. The second is misinformation, spread through media, social networks, bots, and data theft. The aim is to interfere in elections and simply work to split society (as in America, you see?). The third is Russian oligarchs. These are the most fearsome people, totally different from cyber-Russians and Russian bots. Everyone in Britain knows about them, reading about them in the press, watching TV series. How did these dangerous people get to London; how did they make it to Londongrad?

“In recent years the Russian elite has developed links with many countries, but Britain is evidently the most sought-after place for the oligarchs and their money. The money has been used to build their influence and develop a patron-client type of network of influence and relationships across a wide section of the British Establishment, including PR firms, charities, politics, academia and cultural institutions. All these have benefited from Russian money, taking part in the process of “reputation-laundering” (Russia’s reputation). In short, Russian influence in Britain is a new normal. Many Russians with close ties to Putin have integrated into British business, infiltrated high society, and been generally accepted for their wealth."

And not just accepted! “Several Russian elite members with close ties to Putin were exposed simultaneously as individuals involved in charitable and/or political organizations in Britain. They have contributed to the funds of political parties, and their social position generally allows them to assist in influential Russian operations. It is worth noting that many members of the House of Lords have Russian connections in their business interests. Indeed, some work directly for large Russian companies connected to the Russian state. All these contacts must be carefully identified and investigated, taking into account their potential use by Russia to its advantage.”

This process has now gone so far that "this level of integration, especially in Londongrad, means that any steps taken by our government now unfortunately cannot suppress evil, cannot prevent anything. It’s merely a case of damage limitation.” So what is to be done?

A law on foreign agents (similar to the American one) must be adopted, to tighten the recently adopted measures to combat criminal activity, which may not be so effective against the Russians. For example, the report supports additions to the 2018 Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act, proposed by the National Agency for Combating Criminal Activity, including sanctions for suspected links to organized crime.

In other words, we need to pin down all these Londongraders, these associates of Putin and the bandits, or is that Putin the bandit? But who are we talking about?

The report names no names, but there are plenty of them in the British press. Who is usually held up as an example when talking about influence and giving?

"Lyubov Chernukhina, wife of Putin’s former minister Alexander Temerko, former Ministry of Defence Employee": they donated money to the Conservatives and met with Cameron, May and Johnson. But Chernukhin was deputy finance minister at the very beginning of the 2000s; he worked with Kasyanov and then fled to London. Former YUKOS vice-chairman Temerko is on lots of international wanted lists: in Russia he is accused of embezzlement. But are these Putin's cadres?

Over a hundred Russian embezzlers and swindlers have fled to London, including some very big names (just remember former Bank of Moscow Chief Executive Andrei Borodin), and are obviously looking for various ways to guarantee their safety. To put it simply, they are using money to confirm the new proverb “there is no extradition from London”. London is also second home to many Russian oligarchs, although few of them can be suspected of working for Russian state interests.

In other words, the British authorities, in their war against Russian agents, are ready to strike at Russian residents of London, the vast majority of whom are anti-Russian and anti-Putin. This seems to be the case, and even the clause in the report on "the need to protect Russian immigrants living in Britain and opposed to Vladimir Putin" does not prevent this. Because if Russian oligarchs are a threat, then the forest is being cut down and the chips are flying.

It turns out that the report’s authors propose to do with these Londongraders what Russia itself has long wanted to do: deprive them of their property and influence. The British clearly have completely different motives, and the confiscated money will not be returned to Russia. Britain is no stranger to fleecing swindlers and rich refugees from other countries who have trusted it, and of course it has to try working Putin in this very real way. Our president has long since warned "torment and then swallow torment" by pulling out your money from abroad and then having it confiscated, with the mocking and offensive epithet of “Putin agents” slapped on for good measure." It’s subtle British humour, for those who specialist in humour.