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A Sunday Times allegation that nine wealthy Russians have donated to Britain’s Conservative Party is leading some to suspect that disturbing evidence is being withheld at this time in order to safeguard its election prospects. Two expatriate oligarchs named, former allies of President Putin, are now British citizens. As David Slinger asks, (Gloucester Citizen, 2811.19) “Do we have a democratic right to see the reports?”
Would publication of the parliamentary report – which has passed security checks – shine a spotlight on the bankrolling of their party by disaffected millionaire Russian oligarchs?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has – to date – refused to publish the findings – thought to present evidence of covert Russian attempts to influence the outcome of the referendum and 2017 general election gathered by UK intelligence.
David Fromkin (Foreign Affairs) once wrote that the history of Britain’s participation in ‘The Great Game’ (see Kipling) ‘gains interest and possible significance from the American decision in our own time to contest Russian expansion on much the same battlefield’. Despite a temporary parliamentary setback pictured above, is the ‘Game’ afoot and will America – as usual – expect British diplomatic, intelligence and military support when required?
The US government is understandably apprehensive as Russia is increasing its influence in the Middle East and has also been co-operating with China – the latest move being a partnership in a $55 billion pipeline which the WSJ sees as ‘challenging the economic and strategic clout of the U.S’.
Work on the Power of Siberia pipeline project
Richard House wonders why opposition parties haven’t made the report a major general election issue, as it is ‘potential dynamite for the whole Brexit cause’.
Foreign Policy mentions ‘pervasive reports—never quite conclusively denied by the Foreign Office—that during Johnson’s time as foreign secretary, direct oversight of MI6, the foreign intelligence service, was quietly moved out of his portfolio because of his rather startling ‘Russian connections’
If the report does cast significant doubt on the narrow referendum result to leave, Richard House adds, the whole legitimacy of Brexit would be thrown into doubt and the Tory Party would be in total meltdown.