Monday, March 27, 2023

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Will the UK give up Russian capital after the war in Ukraine?

Will the UK give up Russian capital after the war in Ukraine?

After the desinization, will we also see the UK derussing? The point of Daniele Meloni

Will we also see the UK derussing after the desinization? The question seems legitimate after the explosion of the large-scale conflict between Ukraine and Russia and the disputed announcement of the first sanctions against Russian banks and 3 oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin.

For years, the UK has practiced a policy of attracting Russian capital fleeing Russia. Many of the elements settled in the most exclusive areas of Mayfair, London were on the run from Putin himself and brought their feuds to British soil. The case of Boris Berezovsky (the oligarch to whom London has always denied extradition found dead hanged in 2013) is emblematic, but it was after the killing of Alexander Litvinenko and the Salisbury poisonings in March 2018 that relations between the UK and Moscow were defined by the then Russian ambassador to Moscow, Yakovenko, "at an all-time low".

Yet, the Abramovichs, the Deripaskas, the Doronins and the Temerkos have for years roamed the capital and the English countryside, creating a thriving economy that revolved around their activities. Private security personnel (often retired former servicemen), estate agents, law firms, facilitators, PR agencies and the luxury industry benefited from the rubles brought to the UK by the oligarchs. The mediators between the new Russian and British establishments were often high society figures such as Prince Michael of Kent, Slavophile and Russian-speaking, who acted as a link between newcomers and local entrepreneurs and politicians. It caused a sensation when in Corfu on the yacht of the aluminum magnate, Oleg Deripaska, both Peter Mandelson, eminence gray of the Blairian New Labor, and George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the years of austerity, were surprised.

But all this passed away without any blink of an eye and even the most gory episodes such as the death of lawyer Stephen Curtis from the breakdown of his helicopter – who carried out his business for the Menatep group, the private bank active in the management of the wealth of the oligarchs. – were de-classified in news cases linked to Londongrad but not such as to shake the foundations of the British state.

Then came Ukraine and the other day Boris Johnson announced new sanctions after Putin's recognition of the breakaway republics of Donbass and Luhansk. "Too mild," both some Tory MPs and opposition Labor have thundered. Lisa Nandy, a Labor MP from Wigan, has attacked the government, arguing that 18 months after the publication of the House of Commons "Russia report", it has still "done nothing to implement its recommendations" and that the Tory party is funded by the oligarchs. Thus, with a very long thread of April 2021 posted yesterday on Twitter, he underlined – complete with photos – the money donated by the patron of Aquind, Alexander Temerko to the Conservatives, those given by the wife of Putin's former finance minister, Chernukhin for access to dinners and meetings with party leaders, the role of advisor to Deripaska to Lord Barker, former Minister for Energy of David Cameron. All donations duly registered with the Electoral Office, but which put pressure on the government to be tougher in sanctioning Russia's Londongrad.

The House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee report called Russian meddling in UK politics the "new normal" and claimed that all governments – whether Labor or Conservative – have welcomed the oligarchs and their money by generating an "inherent tension between British national security and their activities on British soil". The conclusion was even more troubling. "The defense of the stability of the democratic process in the UK seems like a hot potato that no organization or institution seems to want to deal with."

Boris Johnson and his Ministers Wallace and Truss have been the most active in condemning Putin's maneuvers in Eastern Europe and in supporting both the Baltic countries and Ukraine with means and men. But now the Tory government is being asked to do more at home to de-oligarchize London.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Thu, 24 Feb 2022 09:09:01 +0000.