18 October 2018
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PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

25.07.2017

Embassy comments on The Sunday Telegraph Christopher Booker’s piece on Dunkirk

        It is preposterous to say that Russia would rather forget Dunkirk. We had a similar tragedy in the summer of 1941, and had no other option but keep on fighting. Russia was the means of last resort in dealing with that existential threat to European civilization.

In our Twitter poll (on 19 July) we wanted to draw attention to the origins of that calamity on the Western front. And those are in the policy of appeasement. In fact, the British and French troops were badly let down by their Governments. Since they stayed idle along the border with Germany for eight months (September 1939 to April 1940), it was impossible to see where the will to fight would have come from. All the more so that the Germans executed the same Schlieffen plan, they couldn’t successfully accomplish in August 1914 because of an early action by the Russian army in East Prussia. Like in 1914, they moved through Belgium, and the Maginot Line didn’t protect that breach. We didn’t mention the Cliveden Set, Munich etс. for the sake of level-headed debate.

         But the most important thing from the point of view of contemporary European politics is that the Versailles system was utterly flawed. It marginalized Germany and the Soviet Union, leaving them no other choice but to cooperate bilaterally. Unlike the Western neighbours of Germany, her Eastern neighbors’ borders were not guaranteed. The plans for an Eastern Locarno were defeated by the Western elites. What came out of this project was a system of two bilateral treaties between Prague and Paris/Moscow. In the fall of 1938 the Soviet Union was willing to come to Czechoslovakia’s assistance, but could do so only together with France, and the French Government preferred a sellout to Hitler in Munich. Obviously, Nazi Germany was easier to defeat in 1938 than in 1939, and in 1939 than 1940.

We didn’t say that the Revolution in Russia was to a great extent due to the consequences of WWI, and even the Provisional Government could have done better and haven’t lost control, had it not been pressed by the allies to continue the war effort that the country couldn’t afford. Shall we mention that the Western powers were well aware of the futility of the war by the first Christmas, but still didn’t have enough wisdom to stop the slaughter? Another chance for peace arose in the spring of 1917, but was also missed. Then Paris and London failed the Wilsonian “peace without victors” test. J.M.Keynes in his “Economic Consequences of the Peace” made a convincing argument why the Versailles created economic conditions for another war in Europe. A big issue of causality in terms of European order/national regimes.

It is obvious that the Western powers failed to create a region-wide collective security system to prevent war in Europe. Instead they reacted to “the mass political awakening” (Zb.Brzezinski) with the “Soviet threat” in mind, and wouldn’t mind fascism as a way to manage it. That is why the appeasement and the effort to channel the German aggression eastwards. The partitioning of Czechoslovakia and invasion of Poland were viewed as necessary to ensure direct territorial contact for a military clash with the Soviet Union.

         We are very much in favour of good knowledge of history, including the Phoney War and Dunkirk. By the way, the Phoney War proved Moscow right in that it couldn’t count on Western powers had it chosen to stand up to Hitler in 1939. The Phoney War is hardly ever mentioned in history books here. It ought to be explained, however difficult it might be. But without that one cannot understand the tragedy of Dunkirk and the scale of courage of the troops put in that impossible position by their own government’s folly. It also illustrates the elites’ capacity for self-delusion and outright lunacy, which is always useful to bear in mind.

         Naturally, bigger issues of history arise. It is easy to understand the eagerness to disown Germany as black sheep (or later prodigal son) of the West. Yes, indeed, Germany was the first major European power to occupy another major European power since Napoleon in its war with France in 1870-1871. Prior to that Prussia had wars with Denmark and the Austrian empire. But the European order, agreed at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, was destroyed by the Crimean War in 1853-1856, which re-introduced war into European politics. Orlando Figes calls it, quite rightly, the first total war. Some historian would call it unnecessary. For others it was World War Zero, for it started the countdown to WWI, having provided the window of upportunity for the wrong unification of Germany, i.e. as a Prussian empire. 20 years before it happened, Fedor Tyutchev predicted that it would bring about a European catastrophe. Here, in Britain, that war is mostly remembered for the Charge of the Light Brigade. As Lord Tennyson put it, “someone had blundered.” It was the least consequential of the blunders in European politics that followed, including the British Government’s insistence on humiliating provisions in the Peace of Paris. Overall, this is about the importance of being knowledgeable in history, the view that we wholly share.




LATEST EVENTS

15.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the ties between “Bellingcat” and secret services

Question: Russian officials claim that “Bellingcat” is connected to intelligence agencies of the Western countries, but do not present any evidence of such ties. Doesn’t such approach contradict Russia’s position on the Salisbury incident, the MH-17 catastrophe and other notable cases, where the Russian government is continuously demanding to publish proofs of accusations? Answer: There is no contradiction. The fact that “Bellingcat” is affiliated to the intelligence services is obvious considering the whole range of relevant circumstances: date of its foundation (several days prior to the MH-17 catastrophe), nature of published information (which combines signs of intelligence data and highly professional fakes), its orientation (always anti-Russian), timeline of publications (each time at the best moment from the point of view of interests of NATO countries), biography of its leader (Elliot Higgins suddenly turned from a PC gamer into an “icon of independent journalism), non-transparency of its internal structure and financing. If “Bellingcat” can provide any other plausible explanation for such combination of facts, it should be presented to the public.


15.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the British government calls to step up anti-Russian sanctions

Question: How would you comment on the news that the British government has been lobbying a new EU sanctions regime against Russian nationals allegedly involved in use of chemical weapons and cyber-attacks in Europe? Answer: We have taken note of the respective statement by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt of 14 October and the relevant media reports. These suggest that, faced with an imminent Brexit, the British government makes every effort to step up the sanctions pressure on Russia and to complicate as much as possible Russia-EU relations after Brexit.


13.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the investigation of the death of Nikolay Glushkov

Q.: 12 October marks seven months since the death of Nikolay Glushkov. Does the Embassy have any new information on this case? A.: Unfortunately, once again we have to state that the British side continues to evade any sort of cooperation with Russia with regard to the investigation of the death of former Deputy Director General of “Aeroflot” Mr Glushkov that occurred on British soil on 12 March. The British authorities continue to ignore numerous Russian requests, including the official request of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation for legal assistance in the criminal case opened in Russia into the Nikolay Glushkov’s death. There are no answers to the Embassy’s proposals to arrange a meeting or consultations between the Investigative Committee, Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation experts and the Metropolitan Police representatives.


12.10.2018 - Ambassador Yakovenko’s introductory remarks at the press-conference on 12 October 2018

Ladies and gentlemen, In recent weeks we have received a number of media requests concerning the current state of bilateral affairs between Russia and the United Kingdom. I am also often asked how numerous anti-Russian statements by the British officials influence our approach towards the UK. Considering this, I have decided to invite you today to make respective short comments on these issues and answer your additional questions. Currently the relations between Russia and the UK are at a very low level. The reason for that lies in an aggressive anti-Ru ssian campaign launched by the current Tory government and supported by the British media.


09.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the new Bellingcat’s investigation

Question: How would you comment on Bellingcat’s claims that it has “tracked down Alexander Petrov’s real identity”? Answer: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recently advised us to consider such publications and statements as a display of freedom of public debate into which the UK Government does not interfere. There have already been reports that the Home Office and Metropolitan Police would not comment on these “speculations”. This is exactly the case when we should follow the example of our British colleagues.


08.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the UK authorities’ reaction to Russia’s official requests following recent flagrant media publications

Question: The Embassy declared its intent to request clarifications from the British side following the recent accusations of cyberattacks, and the media reports on preparations for retaliatory cyberstrikes against targets in Russia. Has there been any response? Answer: Today we have received a reply from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which implies that, as before, the British side is not going to provide us with any details that may serve as the basis of the accusations. In this case, we are not in a position to make comments on the essence of those accusations.


05.10.2018 - Embassy comment on another groundless British accusation against Russia

On 4 October, UK Permanent Representative to OPCW Peter Wilson speaking on behalf of Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan claimed that the “GRU” allegedly “attempted to compromise UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office computer systems via a spear phishing attack” and “targeted computers of the UK Defence and Science Technology Laboratory”. The same day the UK National Cyber Security Centre stated that “multiple email accounts belonging to a small UK-based TV station were accessed and content stolen” and “the GRU was almost certainly responsible”.Today, the Embassy has forwarded a Note Verbale to the FCO demanding that the UK Government produces and immediately shares with the Russian side hard evidence and proofs supporting those claims, and informs about sources used to draw such conclusions. We have reminded, in particular, that Russia had repeatedly proposed expert consultations on cybersecurity in order to address UK’s concerns, if any.


04.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the BBC journalist Mark Urban’s book on Sergei Skripal

Q.: How would you comment on the Mark Urban’s book on Sergei Skripal published on 4 October? A.: We intend yet to study this book. At the same time, it is a well known fact that Mark Urban has close links with British secret services. This gives us grounds for considering this book as an attempt to compensate for Sergei Skripal’s public non-appearance as the key witness to the Salisbury incident. Instead of facts, the public is again offered speculation and guesses.


04.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the recent anti-Russian statement by the Foreign Office

Question: How would you comment on today’s statement by the Foreign Office accusing Russia of worldwide cyber-attacks on massive scale? Answer: This statement is reckless. It has become a tradition for such claims to lack any evidence. It is yet another element of the anti-Russian campaign by the UK Government.


03.10.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question on INF Treaty

Question: How would you comment on the latest statements by US officials on Russia’s alleged non-compliance with INF Treaty? Answer: Russia has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty). The US allegations of Russian non-compliance relate to one particular missile type. While we have assured Washington on multiple occasions that the mentioned missile does not violate INF, the US has never explained the exact reasons of their preoccupation. These allegations divert attention from the American actions that are breaching a number of INF provisions.



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