December 12, 2019 in the UK will have early parliamentary elections in case of a victory in which the Conservative party, its leader, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised that the Kingdom will leave the EU no later than 31 January.
However, the upcoming election is interesting because of the intrigue in connection with the Brexit, but also that they are attended by a few influential “friends of Russia” who prefer not to advertise their “friendly” relationship.
The BBC Russian service says at least six candidates to the new Parliament of great Britain, which is associated with Moscow’s long-standing relationship, starting with the organization of “Conservative friends of Russia”, founded in 2012, but later renamed the “Westminster Russia forum” (Westminster Russia Forum).
Then, in 2012, in honor of the creation of the organization in the Russian Embassy in London organized the party was attended by the former Russian Ambassador to Britain Alexander Yakovenko and Russian MFA Sergey Nalobin.
But today, the former “friends” often pretend that they never advocated dialogue with Moscow. Thus, the first formal founder of the organization Richard Royal, in the past laid claim to a seat in Parliament but lost the election in 2014 resigned as Director, leaving organization and other former Russophile.
– The Russians mentioned in the report about the illegal participation of Russia in British political life
The Deputy of the British Parliament for the past 27 years John Whittingdale in 2015-2016 held the post of Minister of culture and sports. In 2012 Whittingdale was an honorary Vice-President of the “Conservative friends of Russia”. In this capacity, he participated in the Westminster delegation of deputies from “United Russia” headed by Alexey Pushkov. He regularly visited Russia with official visits.
When the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, Whittingdale led the “British Ukrainian society”, receiving funding from the Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, known for its connections with companies close to the Kremlin.
All their travel costs to Ukraine Whittingdale compensated by the “British Ukrainian society”, and that at least 10 thousand dollars. The purpose of these visits in the parliamentary report it was stated “the development of closer relations between Britain and Ukraine”.
After Yanukovych fled from Ukraine, and against officials of Russian President Vladimir Putin has imposed international sanctions, the tone of the public statements of Whittingdale in Russia has changed dramatically. In 2019, for example, he signed “an open letter against political repression in Russia”.
Now Whittingdale is a candidate in electoral district of Maldon (Essex County). And on its website, Russia is the most often cited criticism.
Another candidate to the Parliament – Theodora Clarke from the conservative party of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself is a Russophile with Russian roots and is very familiar with many of the Russian oligarchs.
In recent years, Clark also chose not to Express sympathy to Russia, but in 2012 actively advocated the development of Russian-British cultural ties. Clark even topped the portal dedicated to Russian culture, and organized “Russian art week”. Clark actively engaged in Twitter, where he writes about the course of his election campaign. There is no mention of Russia. But in 2018, Clark wrote a column timed to the NATO summit in Brussels, where he mentioned the “growing threat from the Russian Federation” and – without further clarification – “the strong and warlike aggression.”
The following honorary Vice-President of the “Conservative friends of Russia” – the Deputy of Andrew Rosindellwho stands now in the Parliament for Romford.
In 2012 Rosindell said “really admires” the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet during whose reign in Chile were missing or killed about 3 thousand people, many of whom were in the opposition. After the barrage of criticism Rosindell become careful in expressing their sympathy, including in Russia. In 2017, he proposed to issue the inter-party parliamentary statement on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. Rosindell offered to Express regret that the Bolsheviks came to power, and also to honor the memory of millions of people killed by Communist regimes around the world.
Another new face among the candidates in the new British Parliament – the pianist Julian gallant, the candidate of the Conservative party. Love to Russia from Gallant, by his own admission, emerged simultaneously with the love for future wife – the Russian, whom he met at the Russian Embassy. Since then, he’s at least 50 times was in Russia.
In 2009, gallant was the head of Pushkin house in London – the centre of Russian culture, which at that time became a link in noticeably improved relations between Russia and Britain. Now the candidate of the Conservative party, claiming a seat in the British Parliament, in his campaign appeal does not even mention your leadership experience Pushkin house. In public speeches he does not speak about Russia and says nothing about it in Twittre where documenting every step of his election campaign.
Sam gallant commented on the lack of statements about Russia: “I Assure you that I’m not going to hide my love to Russia and Russian people, – said the gallant BBC. – If I did not mention Russia during the election campaign (and I think mentioned), because now the center of attention – Brexit, crime in London and the environment”.
In 2012 the honorary President of the “Conservative friends of Russia” was the former Minister of foreign Affairs of Britain, Malcolm Rifkind, and the honorary Vice-presidents – MPs Nigel Evans and Robert Buckland. Tepere Evans and Buckland again running for Parliament in the UK.
All three came from the organization immediately after the scandal about MP-labour MP Chris Bryant. In November 2012, “Conservative friends of Russia” published a photo of Bryant in his underwear, accompanied by her sarcastic comments. The catch was that before that, Bryant has often been criticized “Conservative friends of Russia” and chaired a cross-party group on Russia in the British Parliament. After that, Rifkind, Evans and Buckland criticized the “Conservative friends” and left the organization.
After the scandal with a photo of Bryant “Conservative friends of Russia” was renamed “Westminster Russia forum”. Among the leaders or members of the Westminster forum, the members of the British Parliament is not mentioned. But in the list there are several high-ranking supporters brekzita, actively promote the campaign for a British exit from the European Union.
For example, political Director of the “Westminster forum” Morgan Brobyn was Deputy campaign Manager for withdrawal from the EU in Wales. Another activist, “Westminster forum” Nigel Sussman was a candidate for Parliament from the party of UKIP in the last election, but lost.