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UK Says Russia Weaponizing 'Brexit' - Russian Embassy Slams Charge

The Russian embassy has issued statement criticising attempts by the British government and pro-EU campaigners to win the coming referendum by saying Russia wants Brexit

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The Russian Embassy in London has been finally goaded into action by the constant attempts to drag Russia into Britain's EU referendum debate.

It is becoming a constant trope of the pro-EU camp that Russia wants Britain to quit the EU.

The claim is brought up in article after article and speech after speech, often with the claim Russia is the “only” country that wants Britain to quit the EU.

The claim is rubbish.  It's all mind-reading.

No Russian official - certainly not Putin - has ever said anything like that.  In fact they've never said anything about the referendum or Brexit at all.

Some Russian commentators and journalists have talked about it - as they have a perfect right to do - but this should in no sense be taken to mean the Russian government has any opinion about it.

Though I don't like to guess Putin’s private opinions on any question, my best guess is he barely thinks about it and doesn't care.

At the end of the day, whether Britain stays or leaves, Putin still has to deal with the two Western countries that for Russia really matter: the US and Germany.  

Britain quitting the EU changes nothing.

Besides Putin knows there's nothing he can do to influence the EU referendum.   He's far too practical a man to waste time on something he can't do anything about

Though it may be too difficult a truth for the British to accept, their disastrous mishandling of their relations with Russia and Britain’s fallen place in the world mean that for the Russians Britain just doesn't matter.

The Russian Embassy in London under the dynamic leadership of Ambassador Yakovenko has now pointed all this out.  See its statement below.

Unfortunately the British people won't be told about this Statement.  Their government and media won't tell them.

The pro-EU camp will go on making exactly the same bogus claims about Russia they have been making up to now.  

Putin wanting Britain to quit the EU is just too good a story for them to give up on it, and the British government and media nowadays never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

That is not however a reason for not putting the record straight, and the Russian Embassy has done its job by doing so.

This is a Statement of the Russian Embassy to the UK first published on its website

For quite a while the British Government has been referring to perceived Russia/the Kremlin’s interest when facing a problem of selling its policies to the public opinion at home, otherwise suspect and unconvincing. 

It is done at various levels of the Government including Foreign and Defense Secretaries.

What all the pronouncements of this sort have in common is the claim to know better than the Russian Government where our national interest lies and what our policies are. 

In a sense Russia is scapegoated for almost everything that has gone wrong in Britain and the West over the past 25 years, i.e. the War in Iraq, misadventure in Libya, global financial crisis, advent of deglobalisation (the term, coined by Gordon Brown), the Ukrainian and Syrian crises, and now the rise of anti-establishment sentiment in the West and the migration crisis of the EU.

That behaviour has reached a new high now that Russia is being dragged into the domestic debate on Brexit. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, speaking at the Chatham House on 2 March said, that “the only country who would like us to leave the EU is Russia.” And that, according to him, “should tell us all we need to know.” 

First of all, why is the wicked Russia thesis used to explain a Government policy, be it the presumed deal struck with the EU partners or a more fundamental issue of the EU membership, which must be defended on its merits? Secondly, why is it all the British public need to know?

And why shift the topic? The EU is not a military alliance, which is Nato. It is not about the special relationship with the US. Neither is the British nuclear deterrent involved, not is, for that matter, London’s permanent seat at the UN Security Council at stake.

It goes without saying that we have a huge problem with this strategy/tactics. It seems that the present British Government has a vested interest in a disfunctional bilateral relationship with Russia. 

Another conclusion one may draw therefrom is that the authorities thus admit that they cannot win the argument in an open and straightforward debate. Of course, we wouldn’t oblige. 

We find this unfair towards both Russia, with whom Britain maintains diplomatic relations, and the British people, who deserve a better treatment from their own government.

We expect our British partners to explain themselves. In the meantime, we’d like the British people to know that those pronouncements have nothing to do with Russia’s policy. 

As a matter of fact, our Government doesn’t have an opinion on Britain’s place in the EU. We have nothing to do with the very idea to hold this referendum. It is for the British to decide. We’ll accept any outcome. We have enough problems of our own to mind somebody else’s business. More than that, we believe that if our Western partners had minded their own business well enough, all of us would have had fewer international problems on our hands.

It doesn’t mean that we don’t have problems dealing with the EU. Overall, we share the concern over the bias in the form of political expediency/correctness that stifles debate on real issue, forces real life into the straitjacket of ideological constructs and schemes. In reality, these leads to crises like the EU unilateralist foray, under the previous Brussels team, into the Ukrainian affairs.

We are even blamed for the migration crisis in Europe. And that contrary to the fact that it started well before our limited military intervention in Syria on 30 September 2015, which radically changed the dynamics in that country, helped establish the IGSS and bring hope of peace. 

Was it not the West, who by way of Libyan intervention as a precedent misled the Syrians on both sides and then outsourced the regime change to its regional allies, who have their own accounts to settle, have designs on Syrian territory and still insist that Syria become a Sunni state? 

Russia, on the contrary, is hugely contributing to finding a political solution in Syria and, thus, alleviating the migration crisis. This is done at least at four levels: fighting Isis (our limited Air Force deployment), working in tandem with the US in the IGSS, mediating support for the ceasefire at the grass-root level on the ground and providing humanitarian aid. 

We’d like to know what the British record on Syria is?

We wouldn’t have dwelt on that, had HMG not alluded to the Russian threat to British national security at every opportunity. We leave it to the conscience of our British partners. 

As to the Brexit debate, we find any outside interference unacceptable and counterproductive for the cause of the Government, especially given the fact that the issue is viewed by many in Britain in existential terms.

This statement is circulated to both referendum campaigns, to all the main political parties and British media.


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