Russia-British Ties Hit Post Cold War Low - 2007

Putin's recent rhetoric is definitely worth a closer look. I am really enjoying the blunt talk being thrown around by Moscow lately. The reaction from London, as expected, is quite lame. There is not much the West can do about the actions of the Russian Federation anymore. That is the reason why their response, be it official London or Washington, have been lame. Actually, their responses have been quite silly. Yeltsin's Russia is forever gone. Moscow today can more-or-less say and do whatever it wants. This is because the Russian Federation is not enslaved by Western "aid" agencies; because Moscow has veto power in the UN; because Moscow has alliances with China and Iran; because Moscow can cause serious problems in South America, the Middle East, Europe and Asia... Nor is Moscow frightened of anyone's armed forces.

The more I read about what certain groups did to Russia during the 1990s more of a 'Russophile' I'm becoming. Consider what that multi-billionaire criminal called Boris Berezovsky, a honorary citizen in London today, did to the Russian Federation in the years following the Soviet collapse. The theft of Russia by a select handful of non-Russian men was of biblical proportions. It simply boggles the mind when one realizes just how much the Russian Federation was undermined for so many years. After so much chaos, it also amazes me how fast Russian patriots pulled the nation together. Actually, Russia's current resurgence reminds me of the fast and glorious emergence of the Third Reich from the ashes of the Weimar Republic. Nno one should be surprised anymore to see Russians acting harshly towards anyone whom they perceive to have less-than good intentions towards them. They have endured too much in the 20th century; even comparable to what we Armenians have endured.


Arevordi

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Russia-British Ties Hit Post Cold War Low


The relationship between Moscow and London has hit a post-Cold War low with the murder of a former Russian agent in London and exile Boris Berezovsky's call to overthrow President Vladimir Putin. "It is at this moment worse that it has been at any time, if you measure it in terms of political rhetoric, worse than since the end of the Cold War," Roderic Lyne, the former British ambassador in Moscow, told Agence France-Presse. Ties took a sharp turn for the worse when Berezovsky told The Guardian newspaper earlier this month that "we need to use force to change this regime ... It isn't possible to change this regime through democratic means." The government in Moscow immediately renewed its call for the extradition of the Russian oligarch while its ambassador in London warned of a "new situation" between the two countries. "For Putin there is only one question to the UK government, the extradition of Berezovsky. Our relation with this country is based on one problem," said liberal businessman Boris Nemtsov, Russia's former deputy prime minister. Russian political analyst Igor Bunin recalled that ties also worsened with the radiation poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, the former agent turned Kremlin critic who died an agonizing death on November 23 in London. According to the Mail on Sunday, the British police are preparing warrants for the arrests of three Russians suspected of having poisoned Litvinenko with the highly-radioactive polonium 210. However, Moscow has already said it will extradite no-one. The showdown over Berezovsky is "only one in a number of items" undermining ties, Lyne said. Others include a range of human rights issues as well as "the concerns in western Europe over whether or not Russia intends to use energy as a weapon," he added. "But I think the most sensitive areas have been the area or territory of the neighbors of Russia and of the European Union, the countries coming into the European union and NATO," Lyne said.

Source: http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/a...?enewsid=71889

RAF Scrambles to Intercept Russian Bombers


RAF fighter jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian strategic bombers heading for British airspace yesterday, as the spirit of the Cold War returned to the North Atlantic once again. The incident, described as rare by the RAF, served as a telling metaphor for the stand-off between London and Moscow over the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. While the Kremlin hesitated before responding to Britain’s expulsion of four diplomats, the Russian military engaged in some old-fashioned sabre-rattling. Two Tu95 “Bear” bombers were dispatched from their base on the Kola Peninsula in the Arctic Circle and headed towards British airspace. Russian military aircraft based near the northern port city of Murmansk fly patrols off the Norwegian coast regularly, but the RAF said that it was highly unusual for them to stray as far south as Scotland. Two Tornado fighters, part of the RAF’s Quick Reaction Alert, took off from RAF Leeming, in Yorkshire, to confront the Russian aircraft, after they were shadowed by two F16s from the Royal Norwegian Air Force, The Times has learnt. “The Russians turned back before they reached British airspace,” an RAF spokesman said. There was no evidence to suggest that the incident was connected with the diplomatic row over the extradition of Andrei Lugovoy, the main suspect in the murder of Litvinenko.

Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle2093759.ece

BP Likely to Lose Giant Russian Gas Field


BP Plc's Russian venture is likely to lose its license for the giant Kovykta gas field Friday, although Moscow could postpone the tough action until after the G8 Summit and its landmark economic forum. The state licensing agency is due to meet at around 8:00 a.m. ET to review the issue. "We believe the delay in a final decision is plausible, but ultimately the license is likely to be recalled," said Steven Dashevsky from Aton brokerage. The Vedomosti daily newspaper quoted Friday a source close to TNK-BP as saying that the licensing agency, Rosnedra, might postpone its decision on Kovykta until the end of the Russian Economic Forum in St Petersburg on June 10. If the license is withdrawn this week the Kovykta issue may also emerge high on the agenda of the G8 summit to be held on June 6-8 in Germany. The protracted battle for the $20-billion Kovykta, which has enough reserves to supply the world with gas for almost a year, is seen by many analysts as part of a Kremlin drive to consolidate major energy resources under state control. Russia's environmental agency RosPrirodNadzor (RPN) earlier this year accused TNK-BP of underproduction at the field. The firm had hoped to use the field for gas exports to China but was forced to trim production to cover only local needs after gas export monopoly Gazprom banned the plan as it has its own rival project to supply China. Gazprom chief Alexei Miller and BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward met on Thursday, but gave little information other than to say they discussed working together in the European, U.S. and Russian energy markets. TNK-BP has repeatedly tried to rescue the project by ceding control to Gazprom, but the latter has said it was not interested in the field as the project was risky. "Even though the chances for a precedent-setting license repeal... are high, we still hope that TNK-BP and Gazprom can find a last minute solution," said Oleg Maximov from Troika Dialog. Shares of BP (Charts) closed up 0.3 percent to $67.23 in extended trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. Its competitors include Exxon Mobile (Charts, Fortune 500), Shell (Charts), Chevron (Charts, Fortune 500), and ConocoPhillips (Charts, Fortune 500).

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2007/06/01/news...urce=aol_quote

West is 'Worried, Fearful' of Russia, Says Blair


Tony Blair confronted Vladimir Putin at the end of G8 summit today and told him that the West was becoming afraid of Russia's behaviour. After a week that began with the Russian President threatening to turn his country's nuclear arsenal towards Europe in retaliation for a proposed US missile shield and months of gathering tension over the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London last November, Mr Blair said that he had a "perfectly frank discussion" with Mr Putin. “President Putin set out his beliefs that Russia was not being treated properly by the West," said the Prime Minister. "And I obviously set out our view that people were becoming worried, fearful about what was happening in Russia today, the external policy." "We had a discussion that lasted about an hour and it was a very frank discussion. It went through all the issues you would expect us to go through and we set out each other’s views, which are well known," said Mr Blair, adding that the conversation touched on energy policy, the missile shield and the Litvinenko case. “The atmosphere on a personal level was perfectly cordial but there are real issues there and I don’t think they will be resolved any time soon.” Mr Blair's dark assessment -- at the end of his final major summit as Prime Minister -- capped a week in which America's proposed missile shield, ostensibly aimed at the emerging threats of Iran and North Korea, has placed Russia's relationship with the West under severe strain. Tested already by disagreements over Moscow's muscular energy policy and the status of Kosovo -- Mr Putin says that if the Serbian province is granted independence, so should provinces in the Caucasus that want to rejoin Russia -- relations with Moscow have spilled into gloom over the missile system, parts of which the US wants to place in Poland and the Czech Republic. London and Moscow have also experienced their own specific disagreements, with Russia blocking the extradition of Andrei Lugovoy, a former KGB agent identified by Scotland Yard as the prime suspect in the radioactive poisoning of Litvinenko, a Putin critic and another former Russian security agent, last year. The Kremlin has refused outright to hand over Mr Lugovoy for trial while criticising Britain for offering political asylum to Boris Berezovsky, the former oligarch and billionaire considered by Mr Putin's Government to be Russia's most dangerous overseas dissident. In a mark of the continuing anger at Mr Berezovsky, Russian authorities announced another prosecution of the financier, on charges of embezzlement from Aeroflot, today. In his own press conference after meeting Mr Blair, Mr Putin made no particular mention of Anglo-Russian relations, instead congratulating Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, on hosting a successful summit and repeating his offer to Mr Bush that any missile shield aimed at defending Europe from attack should be developed in co-operation with Moscow. Earlier this week, Mr Putin suggested that Russia and the US should set up a joint missile radar base in Azerbaijan to track threats from the Middle East and North Korea -- a proposal described as "interesting" by the White House. Today Mr Putin said that other suitable sites for missile interceptors included Turkey and Iraq. He insisted that there was plenty of time before Iran developed missiles capable of threatening Europe -- “our American friends plan to create a missile defence system against missiles which do not exist in reality,” he said -- and urged America not to build a defence system that excluded Russia or without carrying out multi-lateral negotiations. Interrupted by a member of the Russian democracy group "Other Russia" who threw papers in the air to protest the so-called “tyranny under mass democracy” that has emerged under Mr Putin, the Russian President said that his country had survived "hard times" in recent years but promised free and fair elections to the state Duma later this year and to the presidency in 2008. "Everyone will have the right to say what they think about present day powers. I am not violating the constitution and I will not let anyone else violate it,” he said.

Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle1905689.ece

Putin Rebukes 'Colonial' Britain


Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed a UK request for Andrei Lugovoi's extradition as the remnant of a "colonial mindset". "They have long forgotten that it is a long time since Britain was a colonial power," he told Russian TV. The UK expelled four diplomats after Russia refused to extradite Mr Lugovoi, who denies killing ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London. The Foreign Office said it was still trying get Moscow to extradite him. Mr Putin was being filmed meeting pro-Kremlin youth groups at the presidential residence at Zavidovo when he was asked about the diplomatic row. He said 30 people sought by Russian law enforcement agencies "for serious and very serious crimes" were taking refuge in London and Britain did not "bat an eyelid and did not even think about extraditing them". "They (Britain) had the same problem, though to a lesser extent, with the USA, strange as it may sound, and with France and other countries," he said. "They do not extradite to any country people who are hiding on their territory, including people who are suspected of and charged with terrorist activities." He added that to other countries, Britain made "exaggerated claims", including "insulting advice" to "change our constitution". "They should get their heads examined rather than tell us to change our constitution," he said.
'Respect partners'

Mr Putin said Britain's behaviour was "clearly a remnant of a colonial mindset". "They don't have any colonies. And Russia, thank God, has never been a colony of Great Britain," he said. The Russian president added: "It shows they still have in their heads the ideas of the last century or the century before that. "They should treat their partners with respect. And if they do, we will treat them with respect." Under the European Convention on Extradition 1957, Russia has the right to refuse the extradition of a citizen, and its constitution expressly forbids it. A Foreign Office spokesman said that the government was still seeking to persuade Moscow to hand over Mr Lugovoi. "We continue to look for a willingness from the Russian authorities to work constructively with us to bring this crime, committed in the UK, to justice in a UK court," he said. Gordon Brown renewed his demand for the extradition of Mr Lugovoi on Monday and described the situation as "intolerable". Last week, four Russian embassy staff were expelled from the UK after the British extradition request was refused. That prompted Moscow to retaliate by asking four British embassy staff to leave within 10 days. Mr Litvinenko, who had taken UK citizenship, died of exposure to radioactive polonium-210 in London in November 2006. Traces of the radioactive isotope were found in several places visited by Mr Lugovoi, who denies any involvement in Mr Litvinenko's death.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/h...ws/6914522.stm


In related news:


Senior UK diplomat and British gay rights advocate beaten up after campaign of Russian harassment


Anti-homosexual protesters in Russia attack British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. Mr Tatchell was punched, knocked to the ground, and kicked while protesting about gay rights with a group of European parliamentarians. A senior British diplomat has been beaten by two unidentified assailants while on an official trip in provincial Russia. Nigel Gould-Davies, first secretary at the British embassy in Moscow, was attacked at 1am on Saturday as he walked across the theatre square in the Siberian city of Chita, police said. Mr Gould-Davies needed hospital treatment for bruises to his face. His glasses were broken in the attack and he was unable to see his assailants, police said. The beating is the second assault on Britons in Russia in two days, and follows an attack on Sunday by anti-homosexual protesters on the British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell (picture above). Mr Tatchell was punched, knocked to the ground, and kicked while protesting about gay rights with a group of European parliamentarians. Yesterday embassy officials described the attack on Mr Gould-Davies as a random assault carried out by drunken teenagers celebrating the end of the school year. But the assault follows sustained state-sponsored harassment by the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi against Anthony Brenton, Britain's ambassador in Moscow. Activists have picketed the British embassy, disrupted meetings and jumped in front of the ambassador's car. The campaign started last summer after Mr Brenton attended a human rights conference. Mr Gould-Davies was at the end of a two-week lecture tour in Siberia. The diplomat had given lectures to university students on globalisation, and had also met with regional officials. Chita, 3,760 miles east of Moscow, is home to Russia's most famous inmate - Mikhail Khordorkovsky. Khordorkovsky was jailed for eight years for tax evasion and fraud in a case widely seen as politically motivated, and as punishment for his role in funding opposition parties ahead of 2003 Duma elections. Embassy officials yesterday said there was no link between Mr Gould-Davies's trip and Khordorkovsky. An embassy spokesman said: "We can confirm that an assault took place against a British diplomat in Chita. We are in close contact with him. We look to the authorities to ensure that the perpetrators are caught." In Moscow, three Russian gay activists appeared in court yesterday following Sunday's demonstrations, which saw the arrest of 25 campaigners, including the German Green MP Volker Beck and the Italian MEP Marco Cappato. The mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, yesterday wrote to Moscow's mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, urging him to lift the ban on gay parades in the city that prompted Sunday's protest. He also called for all charges against the gay rights demonstrators to be dropped. "I am writing to convey my deep concern at the reported physical violence against and arrest of Peter Tatchell," Mr Livingstone wrote, adding that gay parades were now "the practice in most cities around the world". Yesterday Mr Tatchell said he was still recovering. He said the Moscow police had "stood and watched" while far-right skinheads kicked him to the ground and punched him. "Even today I'm woozy. My eyesight is pretty poor. It's difficult to see clearly," he told the Guardian. "It's almost on a par with the beating I received at the hands of Robert Mugabe's thugs in 2001. This time I wasn't knocked unconscious and left in the gutter. But I ended up with a much bloodier face and severe bruising and swelling." Mr Tatchell yesterday registered a complaint about his treatment with Moscow police. Officials, however, defended the actions of riot police. "The city authorities did the right thing by prohibiting the parade and thus preventing clashes between opponents who are numerous in this country and advocates of sexual minorities," said Mikhail Solomentsev, a spokesman for Moscow's mayor.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/art...d=networkfront

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