Across the west, institutions that collaborated with Vladimir Putin’s Russia are having a moment of revelation. Lawyers who persecuted investigative journalists and a financial service industry that feasted on oligarchical loot are shocked beyond measure by the invasion of Ukraine.
They happily overlooked the levelling of Grozny, the war crimes in Aleppo, the missile attacks on civilian flights, the invasion of Crimea, the destructions of Russian democracy, the endemic corruption, the endless lying, and the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, Sergei and Yulia Skripal and Alexei Navalny. Only now they realise that the Kremlin may not be a reputable business partner after all.
In the 20th century, the opponents of totalitarianism on the left talked of their “Kronstadt moment” – the instant when they realised Soviet communism was not an emancipatory force but a foul tyranny. Today we see “Mariupol moments” as everywhere the men and women who excused and profited from the Russian empire express their determination to do better. Everywhere, that is, except the one place where self-criticism is needed most: the Anglo-American right. [Continue reading…]