Archive for December 13th, 2010



an extreme case of Russophobia

It is perhaps only a coincidence that the detention of the Russian researcher of Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock occurred within hours of Russia beating Britain to host the World Cup in 2018 and incidentally severely humiliating Cameron and co in the process.

The coverage of the story, in particular the attacks on the character and integrity of the researcher in question, Ms Ekaterina Zatuliveter, have been truly grotesque, if predictable. All the old clichés about Russian spies have been rehashed. The way she has been portrayed has been truly shameful.

Christina Patterson, writing in The Independent (08/12/2010), titillated her readers with a lurid description of the “leggy Russian blonde, who may or may not be a spy, and who enjoys being photographed in bikinis and grass skirts”, before resorting to cheap sexual innuendo to question her qualifications for the post.

It is a grave injustice that the victim is not even allowed to answer back as the full weight of the British gutter press is thrown at her to malign her character and integrity as a professional person and as a woman.

It is indeed a serious infringement of basic human rights that more than a week after Ms Zatuliveter’s arrest Russian consular officials have not been permitted to visit her. This is a disgrace and a real indictment of British law; it is no exaggeration to say that someone held on suspicion of mass murder would be granted more rights than this.

In this whole sorry affair what stands out most of all however is the extreme anti-Russian racism and sexualisation of Russian women that prevails in the media and among British politicians. Chris Bryant, the unrepentant Blairite MP for Rhondda, claimed that Ms Zatuliveter “was really only interested in doing Russia stuff. She seemed slightly odd.”

What does seem odd though is that people should feign surprise that a Russian citizen should take a pro-Russian stance on major international affairs like the recent conflict between Georgia and Russia; are only Britons permitted to demonstrate patriotism one wonders?

Surely we can agree with Alexander Sternik, charge d’affaires at the Russian Embassy in London, who expressed the hope that the issue would not mark the start of an “orchestrated campaign against Russia because it goes against the current of improving Russian-British relations…It is very conspicuous that as soon as the green shoots show through the rubble in the Russian-British relationship, these sorts of scandals break out. That’s a fact of life.”

From WikiLeaks we have learned exactly how desperate some members of the British establishment are to ingratiate themselves with the United States. I suspect that the only beneficiaries of this latest outbreak of Russophobia will be those forces who want to see the UK become ever more servile to Washington. I say free Ms Zatuliveter immediately!


rural workers’ struggles

Mike Pentelow
“Wilf Page and the History of Rural Workers’ Struggles”
7pm 15 March 2011

venue Bishopsgate Institute


ideologies in the age of extremes

Willie Thompson on
“Ideologies in the Age of Extremes”
Copies of Willie’s new book of the same title will be available.
7pm, 21st January 2011

free, all welcome,

Bishopsgate Institute

December 2010