The hopelessly out-of-her-depth UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has penned an article in the Telegraph outlining the UK’s response to “Russian destabilisation”.
The article demonstrates one thing; Truss is able to learn and repeat a mantra of power. That is she exhibits that she is on-side with the NATO-imperialist narrative. The text operates at the ‘mythic’ (pre-rational) level; it is a statement of loyalty to the tribe. Nothing more. Certainly no thought or analysis.
Truss has the nerve to cite the Minsk agreements on Donbass as she lectures Russia and carries out the obligatory manoeuvre of presenting the Western position as being on the right side of the law. (It is a vital part of the brand that the West follows ‘international law’; when they break it as in the murderous and devastating 2003 invasion of Iraq they just have to have a lacuna). Of course Kiev has done zero to implement the Minsk agreements and far from pressurising them to implement them the UK has been bolstering their refusal to do so by providing military support for them to fight a war in Donbass. It is the UK which is against the Minsk agreements (which incidentally they had no part in creating in the first place).
Truss refers to an online essay by Vladimir Putin about Russia’s relations with Ukraine. She abbreviates a quote from the essay: “However, President Putin made clear in his manifesto last summer – ‘On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians’ – that he believed ‘the true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia’. We cannot turn a blind eye to any attempt to impose that partnership by force.” However – the essay repeatedly makes it fully clear that Putin is expressing what his personal view is and that he also believes that the choice is one for the Ukrainians to make. He repeatedly acknowledges that Ukraine is a separate and independent country and he looks for partnership with Ukraine. He believes that a partnership and close relations with Russia is the true spiritual destiny of Ukraine and he argues this is in Ukraine’s economic interests. He argues that Ukraine is being led astray by radical nationalists and Western powers eager to asset-strip the country. But again – he accepts that it is a matter for Ukrainians to choose. Truss simply displays her crudity when she uses this essay to suggest that Putin wants to “impose that partnership by force”. (As for Donbass Putin makes the point; given the direction Ukraine is taking with its anti-Russia stance and laws which deny Russian ethnicity to Russians  do they really want Donbass? Certainly the recent law about shop-keepers having to greet customers in Ukrainian would be unworkable in Donbass). As usual with these people there is no attempt to engage with Putin’s arguments; simply they take one line and use it to reinforce their preconceptions.
There is the necessary claim that Russia is repressive. Truss cites Memorial – a human rights organisation which has recently been shut down in Russia. It was shut down a by court order because it had been (under a legal process) required to indicate to its audience that it received funding from aboard. (One of its media partners was US propaganda outlet Radio Free Europe). It had violated this law and the prosecutors argued that this was not an accident but was deliberate and evidence that it was indeed a foreign funded organisation trying to subvert Russia. It is true that in Russia foreign-funded liberal media outlets are under sustained pressure from the state. But the part that Truss disguises is that such organisations are indeed funded by Western agencies with the express aim of changing Russian society. It was just such a campaign – of funding NGOs in Ukraine – which facilitated the events of Maidan. When Russia shuts these organisations down that is described as evidence of ‘repression’. The claim itself is part of the op.
Truss’s article is what we would expect. She tries to establish that the UK/West is on the right side of the law and that Russia is malign; “What happens in Europe matters for the world. Over 30 years ago, we joined our partners in Moscow, where we agreed that fundamental freedoms like human rights are ‘matters of direct and legitimate concern to all’. That same principle drives us today to stand steadfast with Ukraine in support of its future as a free democracy”. It is Russia who is violating agreements. (Nothing here about NATO’s expansion; nothing here about how the West interfered with and even set in motion the illegal coup in Kiev in 2014 which saw the ouster of a legal government; nothing here about how the EU then signed a partnership agreement with a government which came to power in said coup – in violation of all the norms of ‘democracy’; nothing here about the totally undemocratic attempts to enforce Ukrainian language in Russian-speaking areas in modern Ukraine ). I don’t know about the history of Ukraine. No doubt it is possible to understand that history in terms of a Western-leaning destiny for Ukraine. But as far as recent events go it is Putin’s analysis which seems to be grounded in facts. The West is destabilising Ukraine and seeking to bring it into its own orbit at any cost (including civil war in Donbass). We would add that we all understand that Truss’s “fundamental freedoms” is a code-word for a free-for-all for Western financial interests.