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Home / World / The message to Russia is clear, but it's not over yet

The message to Russia is clear, but it's not over yet

  Theresa May's speech had triggered a British diplomatic effort that was nothing short of furious.

Theresa May's speech had launched a British diplomatic attempt that was nothing short of furious.

Photo: AP

Faced with the associated processes of foreign ministers consulting their cabinet colleagues, completing formal formalities and ensuring that they comply with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the result was a resounding success: 27 countries were on board within two weeks.

The message was that enough is enough. The Kremlin's behavior has been a serious problem for years. As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said this week, the pattern includes the invasion of Ukraine, the suppression of flight MH17, interference in the US election


Yet an assault with a nuclear weapon on British soil was something else: a rude violation of chemical weapons conventions, the first offensive use of such weapons in Europe since the Second World War. It was a turning point. And while experts say Russia's President Vladimir Putin will continue with such behavior because it politically suits him to quarrel with the West, capitals like Canberra, Washington and London tell him that such insulted insults as the Novichok attack not be tolerated. 19659009] If the West wants to maintain its position, the world can expect more confrontation.

Strategic scholars consider Russia as a revanchist power – under Putin it wants to restore its lost greatness and what it considers to be the humiliation of its cold dissolve defeat

There is a lack of foundations for it. The economy is weak and too dependent on oil and gas. The population is aging. Corruption is widespread.

   Investigators wear protective suits earlier this month at the site of the Nerve Attack in England.

The investigators are wearing protective clothing at the site of the gangrene attack earlier this month in England.

Photo: AP

In order to achieve his ambitions, he therefore relies heavily on the hard power: his considerable military might – including a massive nuclear arsenal – and his decades of espionage, manipulation and disruption

For a President who spent 16 years in the KGB, with at least six members of his National Security Council as former KGB members and a growing share of the federal budget in intelligence services, Russia devotes more efforts to espionage and interference than they have for decades ,

  Foreign Minister Julie Bishop meets with Russian ambassador to Australia Grigory Logvinov.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop meets with Russian ambassador to Australia Grigory Logvinov.

Photo Alex Ellinghausen

In Australia, it is no secret that China is the main occupation of the intelligence services when it comes to foreign interference. "Russia has persistently and indeed acted as a concern."

Turnbull also said so when in December he submitted his foreign interference legislation to parliament and accused Russia of "devastating the democratic world".

ASIO leader Duncan Lewis said at a hearing last week at the Parliamentary Joint Intelligence and Security Committee: "If we look at events like the reported assassination in the UK a week or two ago … we should not be afraid of such It is important to consider extreme actions as immune. "

While Australia is not a priority for Moscow, it is important because it is a member of Five Eyes. His intelligence efforts in Australia have grown, observers in Canberra said, partly because Moscow is more involved in espionage, but also because its interest in the Pacific region has grown. She has, for example, built up a defense and intelligence relationship with Fiji, which is partly run from Canberra.

The government decided to drive two Russian spies on the advice of Australian intelligence agencies. They were the two whose deportation was most effective, although there are likely to be other undeclared agents among the 14 remaining diplomatic employees.

The Australian Government believes global efforts will burden Russia with 150 spies Sent home – some of them may have been there for years – are not small beans for a country like Russia.

  Retribution for retaliation: Australia is one of 27 nations that expel Russian diplomats.

Fearing retaliation: Australia is one of 27 nations with Russian diplomats.

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Australia is something out of the 27 countries that diplomats have expelled. It is the only one that is neither in Europe nor a member of NATO and therefore no Russia has immediate strategic bias.

Australia joins in part because Britain is a close partner, but more importantly because right now the dangerous state of the international system of rules and norms is of paramount importance to Canberra.

And on Friday the Turnbull government was ready for an impending retribution from Moscow . Canberra has 10 diplomats in Moscow and it is possible that there are no spies. The Australian Secret Intelligence Service is not a large organization and is focusing its finite resources heavily on Asia. As a recipient of US intelligence services within the Five Eyes network, it makes little sense to double ASIS with the Americans in a field where it can not compete.


So, where will this tit-for- swap us? Part of the challenge, experts say, is that Putin actually wants tensions with the West.

Kyle Wilson, a diplomat in Russia and an intelligence analyst at the Office of National Assessments who is a guest of the Australian today The National University said Moscow was not "particularly worried" by the diplomatic expulsions.

"There is a guess [Putin] wants good relations [with the West] He does not want good relations," he said.

If he wishes a rapprochement, then only on his terms, Wilson said, that is, Russia would have to be equated with the US and China, NATO would be abolished, US troops would leave Europe, and Russia should be able to dictate freedom to the smaller countries to the west and south.

  Poisoned: Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripa, 66, and his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33.

Poisoned: Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripa, 66, and his daughter Julia Skripal, 33.

Photo: AP

Provocations like the Skripal poisoning serve his Interests – by bringing together its main constituency in Russian intelligence services and teaching its story to the Russian people that the West hates Russia, which is more crucial for maintaining its power at home Meaning is.

A kind of drum roll that has grown louder and has now become a kind of cacophony: "Our enemies who hate us are massaging virtually at the gates," says Wilson. "It's the oldest card in the political pack." We are surrounded by enemies: this is a time when you need two things: ability and a strong leader.

He quoted a respected Russian observer as saying that the coming years under Putin would be characterized by three things: it would be reactionary, obscurantist and isolationist.

  Illustration: Richard Giliberto

Illustration: Richard Giliberto [19659048MichaelShoebridgeaformerseniordefenseofficialwhohasrecentlyjoinedtheAustralianStrategicPolicyInstitutesaidtheexpulsionsof27countriesareanimportantsymboltoshowthattheUKwasnotaloneinusingachemicalweaponas"monstrousHoweverheadded:"IdonotbelievethatthiswillchangethebehaviorofRussia"

"To actually influence the behavior of the Russian leadership to a more sustainable set of To be steps than that, "he said.

Shoebridge said that Julie Bishop rightly highlighted chemical weapons conventions – including Russia's Si – at her meeting with Russian Ambassador Grigory Logvinov on Wednesday afternoon


As a member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Russia is subject to levers such as so-called "challenge inspections" Britain and its friends could demand from Moscow.

The international community could also impose sanctions on Russian officials, who are believed to have been part of the decision-making chain to carry out Skripal's attack. Measures such as travel restrictions for members of the Russian elite could be effective.

But like Wilson, Shoebridge said that "there is a side that uses Vladimir Putin's story as a basis for the fact that Russia has many enemies and they want" he can use this international action to prove to his people that he is right " he said.

"What this does is that he can do more of this kind of action.

  David Wroe

David Wroe is Defense and National Security Correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in the Houses of Parliament

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