Are Boris Johnson and the Tories really ‘anti-Russian’?

Downing Street has insisted Boris Johnson is “anti-Putin” but not “anti-Russian” in a rebuttal of Kremlin allegations against the Prime Minister.

No. 10 hit back after President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, called Johnson “the most active competitor in the race to be anti-Russian,” adding, “It will lead to a foreign policy impasse.”

The “war of words” broke out as Johnson announced a new wave Russian sanctions and promised more military aid to Ukraine during NATO talks in Brussels Russian invasioncalled The Independent.

Despite his tough stance, Johnson also insisted he was “not remotely anti-Russian” – and “joked that even his name is popular there”. Daily Mail reported. But as commentators have noted, the Tory leader and his party have had a mixed record on their relations with Moscow.

“Malign Russian State”

As Secretary of State, Johnson cracked down on Moscow and expelled 23 Russian diplomats poisoning by former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal in 2019.

As more than 20 other countries followed suit, expelling more than 140 Russian diplomats in a coordinated move, Johnson said that “the goal of this global collective action is for the world to send a signal that the doubts and fears surrounding this Kremlin action.” have crystallized”. reported Reuters.

In 2018, he compared hosting the World Cup in Russia to Adolf Hitler’s 1936 Olympics, he noted The guard. As Labor MP Ian Austin said President Putin wanted to “use” the tournament the way Hitler used the 1936 Olympics,” Johnson replied, “Yes, I think the 1936 comparison is certainly correct. It is an emetic prospect of Putin boasting at this sporting event.”

Moscow said Johnson’s words were insulting to “a nation that lost millions of lives fighting Nazism.”

Months later, he joined Washington in condemning “splittist” German plans to go ahead with construction Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Johnson said the plan could leave European energy consumers heavily dependent on “a malicious Russian state”.

The Prime Minister’s warning seems to have been confirmed by the invasion of Ukraine. This week he escalated the rhetoric the Russian invasion by calling for Putin’s gold reserves to be targeted to prevent him attempting to dodge sanctions.

The government said a total of 1,000 new sanctions had been imposed by the UK since the start of the Ukraine war. The UK has also provided arms to Ukraine, including 6,000 new anti-missile missiles and £25m for its armed forces this week, it has been reported The Independent.

Connections to Moscow

Some critics have argued that Johnson and the Tories have been careless at best and cozy at worst in their relationship with Russia.

In 2020, a report found successive British governments embraced Russian oligarchs and then looked the other way alleged electoral interference. She concluded that the UK government – led by the Conservative Party of David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson – had not made serious assessments.

A former Downing Street adviser told Politically that “previous stop-start attempts” to deal with “dirty Russian money” in the UK economy have been hampered by “this kind of Tory orthodoxy, which is also a Treasury orthodoxy, that the economy has to be fully open”. .

Questions have also been raised about Russian donations to the Conservative Party. The guard said: “A number of people with dual British and Russian nationality or with significant business ties to Russia have donated large sums to the Conservatives in recent years.”

Labor has estimated that donors who had made money from Russia or Russians had donated up to £1.93m to either the Tory party or constituency associations since Johnson became Prime Minister in 2019. The SNP put the figure higher at £2.3million.

The largest single donor is financier Lubov Chernukhin, who has donated £700,000. She is married to Vladimir Chernukhin, a former deputy finance minister under Putin.

When Johnson was asked by a Labor MP earlier this month whether he would order the Conservative Party to make these humanitarian donations in Ukraine, the Prime Minister declined, saying: “It is absolutely essential that… we show that it’s not about the Russian people, it’s about the Putin regime.” BBC reported.

“Putin’s Useful Idiots”

Johnson’s friendship with Evgeny Lebedev, the Russian-born businessman who owns the Independent and Evening Standard, has also come under the spotlight. Lebedev, the son of a Russian billionaire and former KGB officer, was knighted in 2020 after being nominated by Johnson.

The times reported that the British security services initially assessed that granting Lebedev a peerage posed a national security risk, but that assessment was withdrawn after Johnson intervened. The prime minister is said to have responded to the advice to drop him by claiming, “This is anti-Russia.” However, it should be noted Sky newsJohnson later dismissed the claim as “simply false.”

Commenting on the “anti-Russian” allegation, former Downing Street communications chief Alastair Campbell tweeted that it was “the Kremlin playing Britain like a fiddle” and “trolling” the West. Guardian journalist Carole Cadwalladr was also skeptical, denouncing the Daily Mail that led to the accusation as “Putin’s useful idiots.”

A foreign policy analyst, however, was more welcoming. “Three cheers for Boris Johnson,” he tweeted Nil Gardiner in response to the claim that “the Prime Minister’s handling of the Ukraine crisis is far stronger than that of Joe Biden or any other leader in Europe.” Are Boris Johnson and the Tories really ‘anti-Russian’?

Fry Electronics Team

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