JRL NEWSWATCH: “When BoJo Meets Vova; A piece of advice for Britain’s new prime minister on how to deal with Putin’s Russia” – Moscow Times/ Mark Galeotti

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“Boris Johnson … in the past called … Putin a ‘ruthless and manipulative tyrant’ (… presumably a criticism in today’s political world?) … his Russian counterpart congratulated him on his election and suggested that ‘it would be in the interests of our countries and peoples to develop relations in various spheres.’ How, though, could any improvement in relations be accomplished without blessing the Kremlin’s authoritarianism at home and adventurism abroad? …. When [Johnson] was Foreign Secretary, before the Skripal incident, he visited Moscow. Since, though, he has said that he ‘made the classic, classic mistake of thinking it was possible to have a ‘reset’ with Russia.’ * * * … A hard line with the Kremlin ought to be matched by a charm offensive toward ordinary Russians. Relax visa requirements … offer up bursaries for talented young Russians to study in the best universities … take every opportunity to undermine Putin’s attempts to legitimate his regime as a necessary bulwark against a hostile and hateful world. Britain has, after all, still considerable soft power in Russia. … Of course, nowadays security is collaborative. The Kremlin is eagerly anticipating the further dislocations within the West likely to follow Brexit. …”

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