Sunday 27 February 2022

Cash Cow or Mushroom Cloud


Craig Murray, ex-UK ambassador to Uzbekistan who was sacked by Tony Blair for exposing human rights violations there, tweeted this today: “Russia—an economy the size of Italy—even with Belarus cannot quickly subjugate Ukraine. But the political classes will push the irrational fear that Russia could invade all of Europe, for Christ's sake, to feed yet more cash to the military and arms industry.”

There is no doubt in my mind that Russia, under the Putin regime, has the capability to inflict massive destruction on its enemies both at home and abroad. Call me a cynic, but I suspect that, as I write this, Russian oligarch—and Putin friend—Gennady Timchenko is clinking his champagne glass with Rees Mogg.

The following is all true, except the bits that aren’t. I imagine it goes something like this. Timchendo is telling Rees Mogg not to worry about the temporary halt to his Russian investments in Novatek and Rossiya. “Anyway,” he laughs, “didn’t you make a killing on their sale?” Mogg raises himself from the sofa and pours them both another glass of Veuve Clicquot, “Please congratulate Vlad for saying he is putting Russian nuclear forces on ‘alert’. ‘This will guarantee morre monies for arms companies from Salisbury to Seattle, St Petersburg to Severodvinsk. And as you know, my friend,” adds Mogg, “it will keep everyone terrified.”


Business completed, Gennady asks Mogg how his son is doing at Eton. "Has he made friends yet with any Russian boys? It will be useful for him in the future.” He taps his nose.

Back to Craig’s words. Thirty years ago, I left besieged Sarajevo on a Russian air force Ilyushin II-86. There were three other passengers on an otherwise empty cargo plane. At the front end there was a hissing samovar with an open flame. The navigator kindly poured me a cup of dark tea. He invited me to sit beside him at the front of the aircraft, below the pilot.

As we taxied for take-off, he rolled out a map and from a side drawer, took out a slide and compass. As we left the runway, he spoke some numbers into his mic to the pilot. A few moments later, he tore his headphones off and threw them aside. He looked at me and laughed. “Not work. Nothing work in this plane. No worries we will get there.” He then shouted the same numbers to the pilot.

I thought then as I think now. There will continue to be terrible suffering for the peoples of the world, but for governments, war is for profit. They have no desire to exchange their cash cow for a mushroom cloud.


You can read Craig Murray’s “Ukraine - How can the War End’ here