The narrative goes — according to the venerable Daily Beast — that Putin is quietly engaged in "asymmetrical warfare," gradually demolishing the whole European project and "meddling" in the Brexit campaign.
Heaven forfend that the voluble ex-Mayor of London, Eton and Oxford educated Boris Johnson would be taking his orders from the Kremlin as he persuades the British to exit the EU and sail away into the Atlantic in splendid isolation singing "Rule Britannia."
Or that Nigel Farage — the beer-loving, EU-hating, air-crash-surviving leader of anti-EU party, UKIP — is forever on a hotline to Putin and has been secretly plotting the overthrow of the Brussels machine ever since resigning from the Conservative Party in 1992 after the signing of the Maastricht Treaty.
Nothing to do with the fact that the EU is gently falling apart all on its own? Or that the US is gradually moving to consolidate its cherished "sphere of influence" in Europe?
When German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared Europe's door open to refugees, precipitating the biggest mass movement of people since the Second World War, she opened a Pandora's box, exposing deep flaws in the external borders of the Schengen zone, causing countries to erect razor wire fences and border controls fueling a huge rise in anti-immigration sentiment throughout Europe.
Now she is facing major problems in agreeing any common immigration policy, with huge disagreements over mandatory quotes in member states and still little progress on the relocation of 160,000 refugees from Italy and Greece.
The EU-Turkey migrant deal — under which "irregular migrants" who have been refused asylum after arriving in Greece and Italy after March 10 are returned to Turkey in return, on a one-for-one basis, for Syrian refugees being relocated to somewhere (as yet not agreed) in the EU — is slowly collapsing under deep opposition.
Crisis After Crisis
The EU-Turkey deal has split Europe with the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR joining many NGOs saying the relocation plan is immoral, if not against the Geneva Convention in that Turkey is not a safe country for returns.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's repression of the Kurds and Kurdish opposition parties, his human rights record, his use of anti-terror laws against journalists are all cited by critics as good reasons for Turkey not to be declared a "safe third country" under article 37 of the Geneva Convention.
The Eurozone is in crisis — with Greece embroiled in civil unrest as it attempts to meet the ruinous conditions of its third bailout and Spain, Portugal and Italy on warnings over breaches of stability targets.
Brexit is the next ticking timebomb, which is likely to destabilize Europe irrespective of the result. US President Barack Obama has squared up behind UK Prime Minister David Cameron in saying the UK should never leave the EU.
Britain's seat at the EU table is Washington's proxy as it encourages state after state to join NATO as well as the EU, which is hell bent on signing the biggest trade deal in the world — the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — giving US corporates immense leverage in Europe.
Far more strings are being pulled in Washington over Brexit than in Moscow.
The Daily Beast quotes a spokesman for the Russian embassy in London as saying:
"Russia is being dragged into the domestic debate on Brexit. As a matter of fact, our Government doesn't have an opinion on Britain's place in the EU."