Only the truth will stop Putin

Edward Lucas

In 1987, Margaret Thatcher gave a 45-minute speech on Soviet television, which is still talked about by Russians. With “iron charm” and destructive logic, the British Prime Minister defeated three interviewers who served as a support for the communist propaganda machine. The prisoners of the Soviet Empire tasted the amazing ideas of the free world, and Thatcher won the nickname “Iron Lady”, which was conceived as an insult, but sounded proud.

According to British Foreign Secretary Liz Trass, she admires Margaret Thatcher. However, when Trass made sluggish public statements this week after meeting with a Russian counterpart, she missed a great opportunity. Here is what she had to say: “Minister Lavrov represents a regime that has not won a fair election for more than 20 years. Powerful people violate their own laws and international agreements signed by them. Corruption, lawlessness and disorder are exported. Critics are being killed in Russia and abroad. They disguise their actions – and the crimes of the Soviet past – with lies and distorted information.

This is how a rogue country behaves. Our response will not be diplomatic, as will my statements. If you think past pacts, agreements and promises are worthless, don’t expect us to offer the following.

Of course, we are ready to negotiate arms control, as the West did with the Brezhnev Kremlin. We can discuss climate change, Iran, and so on. But I’m not going to legitimize your deliberate claims and discuss. NATO, not to mention Ukraine, does not pose a threat to your security. The only country that can hypothetically invade Russia is your new friend: China.

If you don’t like NATO enlargement, blame yourself. If you were kind and respectful to your neighbors, they would not be afraid of you. 

The real reason for the attacks and intimidation is the desire to divert the attention of Russians from the real threat to their country’s security – that is, from your large-scale looting, which has been going on for decades.

We have been too careless with the Russian kleptocracy for too long. Today (better late than never) we are introducing a sanctions program that prohibits members of the Russian elite, their wives, children, brothers, sisters, parents and other relatives from entering the UK. You, Minister Lavrov, will have to explain to your close friend, billionaire Svetlana Polyakova, who has accompanied you on more than 60 trips abroad, that she will no longer be able to enjoy her luxurious possessions in London. In the coming days, other high-ranking Russians will also have awkward conversations with friends and relatives.


We will also begin a thorough investigation into the destructive effects of Russian money on our political system, and introduce a long-needed register of foreign lobbyists. We will work with colleagues in the United States and other countries to limit their travel and business models. It’s time to look for lawyers who specialize in extradition. Other gaps in our financial and legal systems will soon be closed.

We will also, with the support of our allies, reduce Europe’s dependence on energy exports from Russia and close British trade and financial agreements with Kremlin-friendly companies. The time when Russian oligarchs could sell stolen property in London’s financial markets is over. Minister Lavrov, today you have an unpleasant job ahead of you – to explain to your political leadership the consequences of their foreign policy for their personal interests.

Of course, ordinary Russians suffer the most from embezzlement and crime. It’s time for the free world to take their trouble seriously. Once upon a time, during its heyday, the BBC news service played an important role in the overthrow of the Soviet empire. I am pleased to announce that the United Kingdom and its allies are launching a 24-hour Russian-language television channel, which will traditionally provide unadorned, unbiased coverage of internal and external affairs. I also propose, together with our friends in the European Union, to create a new Russian-language Free University, which will continue our traditional activities of the last few decades to promote cultural freedom behind the Iron Curtain. Russians who seek to study, teach, research, and debate freely

Russia’s greatest glory is in its cultural richness, in which it is a true superpower. We will not allow the stagnant political system introduced by the Kremlin to stifle the talents of Russian artists, writers, painters and artists. The United Kingdom will open its doors to them hospitably and widely.

I would like to emphasize that only Russians can change their country. So they will have the full support of my government and the rest of the free world. It is in their and our interests for Russia to return to a world of freedom and law, to reconcile with its past and with its neighbors.”


  1. If the UK do everything Edward says, It’ll be a fucking miracle. I fully expect all this talk of cleaning up London will slowly fade away once this lot is over. Prove me wrong.

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