X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House From the archive

The Spectator: on 150 years of punishing Russia

6 March 2014

10:31 AM

6 March 2014

10:31 AM

Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine has left western diplomats scrabbling for sanctions that won’t backfire on to the rest of Europe and America. The foreign secretary William Hague said Russia must ‘face consequences and costs’. When a policy paper was photographed that said the UK should not support trade sanctions or close London’s financial centre to Russians, Mr Hague said it did not reflect government policy. But punishing Russia is sure to be an expensive business.

Just before the Crimean War, when Russia invaded Turkish Moldovia and Wallachia in 1853, a Spectator editorial took a hard line; Russia should be punished on principle.

The present operations of Russia proceed entirely upon the old fashion of coercing other states into an alliance against their likings if not against their convictions. Not- withstanding her diplomatic cleverness, Russia is by no means a fair type of European intelligence or honesty… Like a noble in the middle ages, the Czar seeks to bribe or bully his betters into standing by him; and hitherto the minor states of Europe, if not those of the first rank, have even been obliged to sacrifice their own clear perception and their conscience to their policy or their fear. Let the principle and practice be established, that the individual shall not be suffered to dictate, but that the Powers of Europe will unite to sustain the common law of Europe, and every state would be released from this species of coercion. In other words, the conscience of Europe would be the high court of appeal, under whose protection every state should be independent, and no crowned man should make it afraid.

[Alt-Text]


But by 1927, the magazine had mellowed. Diplomatic relations between Russia and Britain were closed off after the Soviet Union was accused of subversive activities. This time, the Spectator’s stance was similar to the plans in document that was caught on camera this week.

The British people are not really as afraid of cartoons in foreign newspapers as they are of losing a potential foreign market. They might subsequently come to the conclusion that, for the sake of obtaining a purely party advantage, the Government had taken a step which sensibly diminished a portion—albeit a small one—of their foreign trade, and jeopardized world peace. And if they were to come to such a conclusion, the Government would have short shrift.

More recently, the magazine has written often about corruption and state-sponsored crimes committed under President Putin. Pavel Stroilov warned Cameron in 2011 to keep his distance from Putin. Alexander Litvinenko, the KGB rebel who was poisoned in 2006, had warned in 2002 that the West was making a terrible mistake in going along with Putin in exchange for his cooperation in the war on terror, he said. Russian dissidents today agree; one, Evgeny Legedin, warned against any business links at all:

“Merely by coming to shake hands with the dictator at such a moment, you inevitably risk accusations of appeasement. The only sensible way to deal with these gangsters is a complete boycott.”

In a 2010 article entitled There’s something rotten in the state of Russia, Owen Matthews outlined some of the worst abuses in Russia, including the death in prison of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who was trying to expose a scam allegedly perpetrated by corrupt officials. It prompted a letter from Jeremy Putley:

Considering the volume of available evidence establishing the real nature of Russia today, the question must be: how can it be ethical for foreigners to invest in Russia? The death in prison of Sergei Magnitsky, Hermitage’s lawyer, was surely a consequence of pursuing the profit motive beyond proper bounds.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close