Wednesday, 11 April 2018
From Russia with Lavrov
With Russia-UK and EU relations at an all-time low since 1989 – or at least the Kosovo conflict and Pristina Airport Sprint - with a KGB kill-squad offing upto 14 Russian dissidents in UK.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov even citing East Kent's 007 as a Licence to Kill in the issue.
And now yet more chemical strikes by Assad in Syria and further UN and USA retaliation as per the 59 cruise missile strikes last year.
And Putin, a former KGB officer in East Berlin, sanctioning the assassinations what now for Sergei Lavrov the Talleyrand of Russia?
A 77% majority for Putin’s last election - but without Navalny and even then candidates such as Titov and Sobchak – relative of Putin’s St Petersburg Mayor when Putin was Deputy Mayor and 23% of votes for them.
The Magnitsky crimes also in London High Court trials in what’s become Londonski after Londonistan for Russian dirty money. A Russian police captaint holding a libel trial in London;s High Court? Happens every day.
Corrupt barristers such as Lord/Judge Grabiner’s One Essex Court the go-to legal fraudsters to hide the funds from Russia’s fossil fuel industries and fossilised state industries.
Those industries in a tailspin if not terminal decline over the next decade.
Here in East Kent something of a Cold War relic too: a Russian submarine rusting in Chatham as so much junk and now a tourist attraction. Similarly Cold War bunkers used as data centres. Even Soviet Army maps for an invasion of UK with Russian phonetics: Margit for Margate and so on. And possibly a nuclear weapon in the Channel Tunnel to wash away any invading Soviet army.
Even Admiral Kuznetsov wheezing through the Channel just a few minutes from a surprise nuke strike on London or Gravesend:
At the very least the Kent Police window cleaning division needed to clean the soot from Kent’s windows - as with so much of the excessive air pollution from Climate Change shipping off Dover the world’s busiest sea route and Europe’s busiest port.
SS Richard Montgomery a WW2 lend-lease and munitions shipwreck. And thousands of unexploded munitions scattered across Kent from the Luftwaffe and V1 and V2 rockets.
Those sites probably more dangerous than Kuzenetsov or Spetnaz little green men (no badges on their uniform a cunning plan not seen since the Skorzeny Nazis shot as spies in the Battle of the Bulge in the Great Patriotic War) parachuting in to help with the apple-picking harvest, and cherry-picking of a hot-air Brexit.
Nukes on Kiev rather than Kansas might be viable for USA but hardly viable for Russia or the rest of Europe.
And Afghan heroin up 87% to the highest ever increase(!) is a problem for the streets of Moscow as well as London, as is the flow of cocaine into USA, and Mediterranean ports such as Palermo and Naples.
Russian fears of invasion and encirclement understandable after 1812, 1853, 1914, 1920 and 1941 and 20M dead in the Great Patriotic War. Russian troops in Berlin or Paris again as unlikely as German or American troops in Moscow.
Even Germany now ending conscription and upgrading its panzer and submarine spare parts.
Indeed iss the KGB already running the MOD apart from the bloat of the military-industrial complex? Royal Marines commandos going commando with neither underpants nor guns in the Caribbean Resilience of hurricanes last year. If it goes badly again can we borrow some Spetznaz or US Coastguards?
All 6 type 45 frigates with broken engines just so much junk as Kutsenov. 1,000 Boxer armoured cars – can they be parked on the Kremlin’s lawn as there’s nowhere to park them or use them in UK.
Even the Boris water cannons up on bricks in Kent – could you keep Britain’s silliest-ever Foreign Secretary in Moscow? We’ll pay.
Beyond oil and gas where are the Russian growth industries with UK and EU: Space and Sports certainly. Where are the Trump Davos 15 Friends of Russia? A Tomsk Ten to kickstart a reversal of decline?
No Spartak football exchanges taking off their Adidas tracksuits (Davos#3) limbering up on the sidelines with the Arsenal of democracy Sports Diplomacy programmes?
And 900k troops sat in barracks in Kaliningrad or other 1945 remnants such as TransDniestra or Kuriles. Against who? 5,000 or so UK and NATO troops in the Baltic states and 30k US Army Europe troops - both a tripwire rather than an invasion force.
And with Nukes now banned under UN law who will be manufacturing or deploying or even using them now?
Rather than spying on UK allies such as Estonia shouldn’t a UK-Russia alliance with Estonia’s excellent digital and e-governance systems be a step beyond cyberwar. Wiping out NHS digital hospital records as dangerous as switching off the electricity power stations or air traffic controls – the Manston-Infratil crimes and Ostend gunrunning with Viktor Bout an indication of that.
And Central Asian dictatorships or Belarus not much of a testament to Russian influence or growing democracy.
A Wider EU likely with almost all of Russia' population on the European side of the Volga. Just 8M across the steppes in the Russian Far East.
But with my Sincerity Advertising hat on, instead of Putin’s FSB-KGB games though where are the Trade Development officials for the New Russia of the 21st century?
The next Russian World Cup after 2018 or Olympics? The overhaul of Aeroflot begun with Manchester United sponsorship and all those rusty Ilyushins and Tupo9levs wheezing over Kent skies – and Russian planes the only plane crash in 2017.
Bolshoi and Red Army choir a great advertisement of Russia – Sergei could squeeze into his tutu and channel his inner Billy Eliot to fastforward the Bolshoi in Kent and UK with the retirement last week of Europe’s premier ballerina Marie-Agnes Gillot in Paris.
Even have his prostate checked on the NHS – both UK and Russia struggling with cancer cures. And London the TB capital of Europe as with Russian and East European regular TB outbreaks. As dangerous as a Polonium sandwich.
And tourism plans for cruise ships rather than cruise missiles into Kaliningrad or St Petersburg or the Arctic wilderness in Murmansk must also be more relevant for the Russia of the 21st century.
Russian generals knowledge and learnings from Afghanistan or Tashkent peace talks with the Taliban or Central Asia development alongside Kazakh despot Nazarbayev – clinging on like Kent’s geriatric politicians as dog in a manger politics replace any ideology or competence.
Only the sound of the gurgling of the brain drain. Lithuania just one Baltic state with 12% of its population now in UK seeking a better future.
And Putin with Assad and Kim Jong un the only leaders to approve chemical attacks in the 21st century – extraordinarily foolish and dangerous not just in terms of ICC war crimes trials but sarin-style attacks on the Moscow or London or Paris underground.
And Putin’s invasions of Georgia and Crimea and Donetsk something more than border-nibbling as detailed by dynamic UK Ambassador in Jamaica Asif Ahamad:
Let’s hope there are a few more Trump Towers in Rostov or Riyadh rather than more nuclear missile factories.
As the diplomatic expulsions – as with the latest sanctions the bright lights of London and Paris and Berlin and Rome being denied to many Russians even the bright lights of Minsk and Belarus pivots towards EU reforms and eventual membership.
And as the World Cup plays out over the next few months surely a reset of UK-Russia relations is needed.
Certainly UK and Russia not implacable enemies: Margate here in East Kent twinned with Crimea previously.
The bright lights of Margate and Ramsgate getting brighter than ever with a new Tracy Emin arts studio and neon lights display at St Pancras: I Want My Time With You to celebrate Britain in Europe.
While the shame of only Russia awarding Murmansk medals for those UK sailors that helped keep the Russian front open in the Great Patriotic War with Canadian wheat and American jeeps reflects on the MOD shambles.
Kentski could be something of a Kent Soviet in the Kent Big Apple.
A few simple reforms seem likely:
* a clear road map for Russia joining EU and expanding Partnership for Peace into NATO – all those troops sat in barracks an unproductive drain on the Russian economy it can hardly afford
* Arctic Sea Routes ban in UK and EU ports: merely a pollution risk and waste given OBOR China’s New Silk Route from Shanghai to St Petersburg
* TranSiberia road and rail upgrade - and Bering Strait tunnel/bridge: Vladivostok to Vancouver and onto New York with dry feet
•Surely as with the Franco-German peacekeeping division in Strasbourg a Russia-NATO division is needed.
* TB vaccine production expanded - for Russia, and London as the TB capital of Europe
* A greater détente rather than mini-Cold War with nuclear disarmament: 6,000 weapons each for Russia and USA mere waste – and a paper tiger with the Chernobyl dustcloud showing the radioactive dangers of use in Europe
* EU nuclear power stations closure and cleanup for renewables – a radioactive accident danger and excessive cost as with technical problems at Hinkley and Flamanville: Finland’s Olkiluto surely the last nuclear power station built in Europe. Nokia expansion (Davos6) into Smart Cities (St Petersburg after Chattanooga and Ramsgate?) a better use of Finnish tax roubles
* Syria and Libya civil wars drawing to a close: Russia’s Reconstruction Plan beyond just more bombing and the other half of the Syrian population leaving? A Six Companies approach with USA?
* Saudi Prince MBS and NEOM a forerunner of a Middle East development of peace and prosperity?
Kaliningrad? Brest-Litovsk? Sevastopol? and why not Russian peackeeping troops in the carnage of DRC Congo?
* End of Baltic and Black Sea fleet for robo-gunboats and submarines – those retired sailors put to use in the Atlantic and Pacific plastic patches rather than sitting around in bars drinking vodka
* Russia fuel companies and both NEOM and Desertec North Africa solar industries – the trumpDaovs15friedns such as Norway’s Statoil already branding as Equinor for the renewables age as with UK;s BP going Beyond Petroleum for a decade now?
Russia's foreign policy is looking like a Lada rather than an Aston Martin and surely Sergei has a Licence to chill with a thaw in UK and EU relations from Moscow to Margate.
Time for Change