Vladimir Kornilov: Britain’s Self-Inflicted Wound – By Expulsing Russian Diplomats, The West Divides Itself

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



Western politicians like to repeat that the main goal of Moscow is to allegedly “divide the West”. The head of the Pentagon the other day also stated that the “poisoning with Russia” of the double agent Sergey Skripal was undertaken “to destroy the unity of the western union”. However, the latest actions of Great Britain brings a much bigger split. The expulsion of Russian diplomats and the accusations against Moscow without any proof cause disputes and misunderstanding in Bulgaria, Germany, New Zealand, and other countries.

Bulgaria: provide evidence

The head of the Bulgarian government Boyko Borisov directly requested from Theresa May to show at least some proof of the involvement of Russia in the incident in Salisbury in order to replace the phrase “highly likely”, concerning the accusations against Moscow, with absolutely certain. This caused a storm of indignation in the British press: how is it possible to demand confirmation from Britain – a gentlemen must be taken on his word.

But the uncertainty of Borisov also caused the Bulgarian opposition to be concerned: the left-wing coalition demanded from the Prime Minister to come to parliament and to present a report. “At the moment we don’t see any convincing proof, in general any proof that Russia is involved in “Skripal’s case’,” stated the secretary of the parliamentary Bulgarian Socialist Party faction Kristian Vigenin. “United Patriots” – the right-wing partners of Borisov in a very shaky coalition – are obviously not very enthusiastic about the possibility of joining the punitive action of the West. It is precisely this that compels the Prime Minister to manoeuvre between the EU’s pressure and the national interests of the country.

This situation shows that the act of expelling Russian ambassadors for the purpose of demonstrating the “unity” of the West generated a split not only between States, but also between the political parties of certain countries, including inside ruling coalitions.

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Germany: the coalition is under threat

Hot discussions inflamed in Germany concerning the decision of the government to expel four of our diplomats: both between parties and inside individual parties, as well as inside the coalition, which was formed with such difficulty. Many members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SDPG) demanded concrete proof of the involvement of Russia in “Skripal’s case”.

Among them there is the Vice-Chairman of the party Ralf Stegner, the deputy head of the SPD faction in the Bundestag Rolf Mützenich, and the influential politician Günter Verheugen – the former European Commissioner for EU expansion.

The latter compared the doubtful arguments of London to “a court verdict that says: we can’t prove that the accused committed a crime, but we wouldn’t exclude it. He also called to refuse the use of the mantra Putin and the Russians are responsible for everything.

The fact that Verheugen is responsible for the direction of European integration in the Agency for the Modernisation of Ukraine, which intends to develop a “Marshall plan” for this country, adds piquancy to these phrases.

Critics from “Alternative” spoke out against the actions of the government of Germany even more sharply, demanding to apply the presumption of innocence also in international relations. And even the “Green” representative Jürgen Trittin described the attempts to drag the world into a new cold war without strong proof, based only on certain hints“, as “reckless”.

New Zealand: spies weren’t found

The stormy sorting out of relations also takes place in another part of the planet — New Zealand. The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tries to resist pressure, explaining her refusal to expel Russian diplomats by the fact that Wellington didn’t find any spies in the small Russian diplomatic corps.

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It seems that she still hasn’t understood that those countries that expelled our diplomats didn’t even think about searching for “spies” amongst themselves. The indignant British press stated that New Zealand has thus put itself in a situation of “isolation”. It’s as if the latter appeared to be the only one on the list of “non-aligned” States.

However, this provoked internal opponents to also attack the Prime Minister. Her statement was called “naive” and she was even advised to go to the Embassy of Russia in order to personally see “how many intelligence officers there are there”. It is a pity that the deputy who advised the Prime Minister to do this didn’t explain according what criterion she distinguishes diplomats from “officers”.

Similar discussions are being carried out in a number of other countries — in those who succumbed to pressure concerning the expulsion of Russian diplomats and in those that showed restraint. Thus, the action conceived as a demonstration of the “unity” of the Western world aggravated a split in its elite, brought additional challenges for the establishment, and even endangered some governments.

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