Sputnik has discussed this with British political commentator — Marcus Godwyn.
Sputnik: What are the biggest impressions you took away from Vladimir Putin's press conference this time around?
Marcus Godwyn: As usual this was a sterling performance. This time we had an audience. Vladimir Putin himself, his style hasn't really changed very much over the years. He remains consistent, but the way they stage his annual event it's often very different. Last year they decided to have no audience in the studio whatsoever. In earlier days there used to be groups of people gathered around in various regional towns and villages etc.
Sputnik: Putin had said that the different approach to the poisoning of the Skripals and the murder of Khashoggi reflects the desire to constrain Russia, do you agree? How would you assess that statement?
Marcus Godwyn: Obviously, we know that Khashoggi was killed or at least we think we do. Saudi Arabia is an ally of the United States and the Western world in general. In fact, Saudi Arabia and Israel were born in some ways out of the British Empire by the Balfour Declaration in 1917.
The Skripal affair, whatever actually happened to those two individuals, was created in order to give the British government a very strong anti-Russian propaganda tool. So, of course, the way the Western world, especially the British and American, treat this is going to be totally different; night and day, black and white.
Sputnik: But the reaction though, I believe that Putin pointed out that Khashoggi is dead and the Skripals are not dead it would appear…
Marcus Godwyn: He did seem to say that he thinks that Skripal is alive. So I guess he has some important information. That is news to some of us actually.
Sputnik: In the case of Khashoggi there haven't been any embassies recalling diplomatic personnel, there hasn't been the reaction and that was a killing, there was tapes of that. It was then admitted that they did kill him, they said it was accidental, but why was the reaction of Western and other governments why was it so different between these two cases?
To accuse a foreign state of poisoning with nerve gas two of its citizens, or at least one of its citizens because Skripal himself was, of course, a British spy by this time, you cannot get much more serious other than actually firing rockets or guns at somebody.
The whole point of it is to create anti-Russian propaganda. Therefore, obviously, the Western word in general, specifically the Anglo-Saxon world, is going to go along with that and use that as an excuse to harm Russia in any way they possibly can. They do not really want to harm Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is doing their bidding and is an ally of them.
I have read analysis, which I think is correct, the reason there has been some reaction by the United States and other Western governments to Khashoggi and none about the genocide that Saudi Arabia has been conducting in Yemen for the last three years is because the King of Saudi Arabia is a little bit too independent for the Americans liking.
Putin said relations with Great Britain are in an absolute stalemate. It's like a cul-de-sac with no through road. The British government have backed themselves into the position. I don't see that they can back down from this position and stay in power.
Sputnik: Out of the various outcomes what would be the most conducive to restoring good relationship between UK and Russia?
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Marcus Godwyn and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.