Letter to the Guardian on Medvedev, the new Russian President

The letter below was sent to the Guardian newspaper in response to an interview the paper published with the new Russian President
3 July 2008

Your headline "Russians move to end rift with UK" (front page 3 July) is not matched by the important interview with President Medvedev. The British Council still faces harassment without parallel in any other state. BP employees are having their visas cancelled in a cynical state-controlled move to hand over part of the oil industry to the Kremlin’s cronies. And on the Litvinenko murder, Mr Medvedev’s PhD in private law obviously did not cover cooperation between states on major crimes.
On Iran, the new Russian president criticises European efforts to put pressure on Teheran to stop the drive towards a nuclear confrontation in the Middle East; he parrots the Milosevic line that Kosovo has to accept eternal rule by Belgrade; and he even manages a gratuitous side-swipe at the UN Secretary General – usually language reserved for John Bolton.
Many want Russia to become more European and work with the EU as a partner to solve current problems. Alas, the interview with President Medvedev does not live up to the headline and it looks as if we have the same old Russia in place – what we want we will get, what you want you can wait a long time for.