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The Russian Pest.
For the last one hundred years Russia has been a pest. An empty vessel and a constant irritant to the nations in the West as they fought, thought and forged their way to union.
An empty vessel – though the world’s largest nation by land mass, its average gdp per capita ($10,000) places it firmly below most of the countries to its west – only Bulgaria ($8000) records a weaker economy.
An irritant – ever since Lenin left his hiding place in Germany and took the train to Moscow, Russia’s only interest has been to meddle, interfere and reduce the happiness and success of its culturally rich and free neighbours.
Russia’s shadow hangs over Europe still and the further East you look the more significant its negative gloom.
Today it is stilll snapping at Ukraine and the global leadership vacuum in the West is being tested.
84 years ago Stalin, concerned at the emerging failure of collectivised farming, and wanting to destroy Ukrainain resistance once and for all, requisioned the grain harvest and created the famine called Holomodor. One of the greatest atrocities in a terrible century – Holomodor killed more than 3 million Ukranians. This note is timely – every year on the fourth Saturday in November their memory is honored with candles lit through the day.
But there is no pity or humanity in the blood stream of Russia. Putin still seeks to regain the Holomodor vassal state. 10,000 have died since he started the 2014 conflict with Russian backed separatists.
So watch with concern the warfare starting in the Azov Sea and look sceptically at the $7.5 bn bridge across the Kerch straight. It is no coincidence that, once built, Russia could block the straight and Ukrainian access merely by anchoring a cargo vessel in the only opening large enough to allow passage of ships.
We are truly in dangerous waters. Russia is testing the ambition of the West precisely when the European leadership is crumbling.
Have a good day. James

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