A look at Russian interference in British democracy The editor of the columnist


    Proof that Russia and its threatening president, Vladimir Putin, are actively trying to undermine Britain’s democracy, politics and security continue to accumulate. Although shocking in themselves, recent revelations only confirm the long-established pattern of covert official action, interference and subversive activity. The question now is: what will the authorities do about it?

    For example, the revelation last week that Russian hackers tried to steal confidential data from British, American and Canadian researchers working on the study will be widespread disgust. coronavirus vaccine. Security Minister James Brockenshire said Moscow’s behavior was “completely unacceptable.” Yes, Mr. Brockenshire. So?

    Dominique Raab, the foreign minister, was equally vague about the consequences when he told the House of Commons that “Russian actors” were almost certainly trying affect the 2019 election using illegally acquired official documents. Raab had previously downplayed allegations of interference. Now he also says that such cyber thefts are “completely unacceptable.” Yes, Mr. Raab. So?

    The timing of government discoveries also raised concerns about what appears to be a strange reluctance to confront a concerted Russian destabilization campaign against Britain and its allies. Raab’s statement came just hours after the newly formed parliamentary committee on intelligence and security (ISC) said it would publish its report on Russia’s intervention, which was heavily delayed.

    Have ministers tried to distract the public from a report that is said to contain potentially embarrassing Tory material? Indeed, did they try to discredit Jeremy Corbyn, a former Labor leader who unknowingly obtained the illegally acquired documents Raab mentions? If so, it will be another cunning twist in a vague British conspiracy that Russian spies can only admire.

    Boris Johnson’s inexplicable refusal to allow the publication of the ISC report, which was ready in October, gave rise to this hare. Last week, he scored his legs after the prime minister did clumsily improper attempt to impose your candidateChris Grayling, as the new chairman of the ISC, and was bravely thwarted by one of his own MPs, Julian Lewiswhich he then vengefully expelled from the parliamentary party.

    These strange and disturbing events deepened the suspicion that Johnson had something to hide. Perhaps it will become clear when the report is finally published this week. But maybe not. Even now his most tangible findings can be restrained for “security reasons”. This may satisfy Johnson and perhaps the Russians as well. But this does not suit British democracy.

    Hints that may help explain Johnson’s behavior can be found in recently published testimony provided by the ISC investigation from Christopher Steele, former head of the MI6 department in Russia. Steele reportedly discussed many “signs” that Moscow was assisting pro-exit groups. Brexit 2016 referendum campaignin which Johnson starred.

    Report, or secret additions to it, may also contain inconvenient conclusions about foreign funding from the Conservative Party, which has received large, apparently legal cash contributions from Moscow-linked donors. Such influence trading is a common practice for Putin. In recent years, right-wing Eurosceptic and populist parties across Europe have benefited from “Russian gold.” Left parties, such as Labor, do not usually enjoy this advantage.

    The Russians, meanwhile, may have claims compromised Donald Trump before he became president of the United States, and still somehow “hold” him, if they won some official trust, Johnson would be very embarrassed. They appear in the context of Russia’s proven attempts to influence the 2016 U.S. election in favor of Trump, as outlined in last year’s Mueller report.

    The complete denial of Russian Ambassador Andrei Kelin is not enough to dispel serious concerns about Moscow’s activities. Delays on Downing Street, obscurity and a lack of sincerity on the whole issue of Russia’s destabilization efforts are a matter of deep concern. More worrying is that there is no plan to punish Russia. The sanctions imposed after the Salisbury poisonings did not change his malicious behavior. Recent changes in Russia mean Putin may be in power until 2036. We ask again: what will the government do to stop it the attack on Britain continues?

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