This statement was released by the Russian embassy in London on Tuesday (10 January).
Judging by media reports (The Sunday Times is particular), the British authorities are planning to emulate the Obama Administration and launch an official campaign to counter the presumed "concerted drive by Russia to undermine the UK". It follows the EU summit and the successful humanitarian evacuation from Eastern Aleppo, brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey, which helped save lives of thousands people and separate bona fide Syrian opposition from foreign terrorists/jihadists, and the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution 2328 on Syria. Now there is a ceasefire in place endorsed by another UNSC resolution. HMG is also widely suspected of and expected to brief the incoming US Administration against Russia.
1. Why now? Is it, like in the US, to provide grounds for a rerun of the June referendum, now assumed to be tainted by "Russian influence"? Or is it to help save the status quo in Europe, under siege by the electorate demanding change? The British experience of this sort includes jingoism of the media at the time of the Crimean War, when Sidney Herbert was hounded for being a relation of Russia's governor of Novorossiya.
2. It seems that the Western elites will go to great lengths to save their own world with its Washington consensus, Davos and austerity, even if it does no longer benefit anybody else. Its demise is presented as the end of the world, another twilight of Europe. This panic and hysterics is a response to the overall loss of control, which brought about war a hundred years ago. It is also a loss of control over the public debate, exercised by way of the Orwellian newspeak of political correctness. Will the elite protect its vested interest with taxpayers' money and that of TV licences?
3. Unfortunately, as always, British special services are all too willing to oblige. There exists a longstanding tradition of giving them the benefit of the doubt, partly because of Elizabethan age literati and established authors to moonlight for the intelligence. As John Le Carré put it, intelligence services are a spiritual home of the political elites. Does it mean that now the government want the British people to worship in this church? We are surprised by Richard Dearlove's taking part in this game.
4. Sir Richard, as former MI6 Director, knows as nobody else, that for example, most of the damage to America and its place in the world was done by the George W Bush Administration. No foreign agents could have accomplished that much. The same is true for former British governments, although in a less spectacular fashion and on a smaller scale, mostly through inaction. Stephen Hadley recently said that globalisation had been a mistake for its destructive impact on Western society. Lionel Barber writes that the Globalisation 2.0 period is over. Why blame Russia for that?
5. What is untrue about Syria? That the Western intervention in Libya misled both the Government and the opposition? That in 2012, when, by the way, the first convoy of jihadists arrived in Aleppo from Turkey, the US outsourced regime change to its regional allies? That "Islamic State" was born about the same time? That the US-led coalition didn't bother about "Nusra", affiliated to "Al-Qaeda"? That the cause of the opposition, whatever it was, has been hijacked by terrorists? That the West was anticipating a fall of Damascus to Isis in October 2015 and didn't mind? That the British Government's harsh rhetoric on Syria is meant to cover up its complicity in the deliberate obliteration of Yemen to make it dependent on outside financial assistance in reconstruction?
6. And, of course, history matters. Max Hastings reminded us (in The Spectator) that the appeasement of Hitler was caused by the fact that upper classes had been frightened out of their mind by the Russian revolution. In fact, they decided to outsource resolution of the "problem" of the Soviet Union to the Nazis. It meant experimenting with fascism, the Cliveden Set, Munich, all the way to the Phoney War and Dunkirk. It is worth remembering that Sir Winston Churchill was considered a maverick at the time. Ultimately, defeating Nazi Germany was "outsourced" to the Soviet Union. In Syria, overlooking Isis and then "Nusra", both proscribed by the UN, means pretty much the same. The latest developments prove precisely that. If we weed the terrorists out of the Syrian landscape, the pro-Syrian opposition and the Government will find middle ground. The next in Syria is a restart of intra-Syrian talks in Kazakhstan.
We don't expect HMG to win this argument in an open and reasoned debate. We also think that it is plainly wrong for one UNSC permanent member to brief against another. And we challenge the mainstream British media to publish this comment.