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Friday, July 27, 2007

Russia Escalates Cold War II Unilaterally

How is reasonable, reliable, civilized Russia trying to resolve its dispute with Britain after expelling four British diplomats in a pure act of spite? Well, according to the Moscow Times, first it is kicking out totally innocent business men, inviting Britain to do the same (followed by the US and EU):

Moscow has asked the British Embassy's top trade and development official to leave the country in a move suggesting the ongoing diplomatic dispute between Britain and Russia could spill over into the economic sphere. Reports that the senior embassy official is responsible for liaising with Russian government officials and British investors indicate that Andrew Levi counsellor for economic and scientific affairs, is one of the four British Embassy officials who have been told to leave. Multiple sources close to Levi, who oversees trade and investment, have confirmed that he is one of the four and is due to leave the country Sunday. The sources close to Levi spoke on condition of anonymity, and a British Embassy spokesman said Wednesday that it was standard practice not to identify staff involved in tit-for-tat expulsions. Levi himself could not be contacted Wednesday. Analysts were surprised the list of officials being expelled included such a high-ranking official, although they were divided on what effect this would have on the climate for British investment in Russia. Sources familiar with Levi's case said Wednesday that he had played a significant role in dealing with recent difficulties faced by British firms operating in Russia. They said he acted as the point man during the negotiations over the Sakhalin-2 crisis, where Shell was forced to sell a controlling stake in a $22 billion energy project in the Far East to state-controlled Gazprom.

Next, Russia is announcing that it plans to dramatically increase espionage, inviting Britain, the EU and the US to do the same. In other words, Cold War II. The Associated Press reports:

President Vladimir Putin vowed Wednesday to strengthen Russia's military capability and intensify spying abroad in response to U.S. plans to build missile defense sites and deploy troops in Eastern Europe. "The situation in the world and internal political interests require the Foreign Intelligence Service to increase its capabilities permanently, primarily in the field of information and analytical support for the country's leadership," Putin said at a meeting with senior military and security officers in the Kremlin, Interfax reported. The Foreign Intelligence Service is a successor to the KGB. Putin did not identify specific targets, but officials in the United States and Britain have said recently that Moscow has intensified its spying in those countries. Putin said U.S. plans to station troops in Eastern Europe and Washington's intention to base missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic pose security challenges for Russia. Washington says the facilities are needed to protect the United States and Europe from missiles from Iran or other rogue states. Putin has proposed that the United States use a radar base in Azerbaijan for missile defense. U.S. officials have questioned whether the facility is technically compatible with U.S. systems.


Anonymous said...

Britain was the first to do that, no Russia (expelling diplomats).

Cold War II! Yeah! That's a good thing! Can't wait to kick some yankee or anglo-saxon butt!

Anonymous said...

“Russia is a neurotic pubertary country. But like with teenagers – we need to say enough is enough.” (Source:

Britain had all the right reasons for expelling the diplomats - killing U.K. citizens in central London and smuggling radioactive material into the U.K. (and Europe) is a very serious offence (at least in the civilized world). A very good reply to Putin’s reference to Article 61 of the Russian Constitution: “Russia's Constitution, like those of other States, is clearly capable of interpretation in the light of circumstances. For example, it states that economic activities aimed at monopolization are prohibited (Article 34); that people have the right to choose freely their place of residence in Russia, including in Moscow (Article 27); and that Duma deputies cannot engage in paid work (Article 97). We are not asking Russia to disobey its own Constitution - but to work with us creatively to find a way around this impediment, given the serious and unprecedented nature of this murder. Such cooperation has not been forthcoming. Tony Brenton, Britain’s ambassador to Russia(Source:

In regards to (kicking) the butts, the once almighty Russian army is apparently very fond of a quite different pastime: “the Russian military is reported to be investigating claims that army conscripts were forced to work as male prostitutes” (Source:

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Cold War, there's a map of Europe that you really must see:

As you can see, the post-Soviet reality has somewhat eluded one of America’s best sources on travel. This discovery prompted me to write a letter of complaint, suggesting that the site’s slogan be changed to “Travel Experts in the 50s.”