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    Russia says Britain should drop 'Cold War' stereotypes

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    Britain should rethink its 'Cold War' stereotype of Russia if it wants to normalize bilateral relations with Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, March 18 (RIA Novosti) - Britain should rethink its 'Cold War' stereotype of Russia if it wants to normalize bilateral relations with Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

    Relations between Britain and Russia have been strained by the diplomatic fallout following the murder of Russian security service defector Alexander Litvinenko in November 2006 in London, and more recently by the closure of British Council offices in Russia.

    "There has been no decisive moving away from the stereotypes of the Cold War era in the political policies of the British elite," the ministry said. "If this problem is not resolved it will be hard to count on the normalization of Russian-British relations."

    It was recently reported in the British media that Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown have not had a single conversation since Putin rang to congratulate the premier on taking office on June 27 last year.

    Last year, in the midst of the tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions triggered by Russia's refusal to extradite Britain's main suspect in the Litvinenko murder case, President Putin said that, "Britain forgets it is no longer a colonial power and that Russia was never its colony."

    The ministry also said that tensions between the two countries had been worsened by the "anti-Russian activities" of Chechen separatist emissary, Akhmed Zakayev, and tycoon Boris Berezovsky, wanted on embezzlement charges in Russia.

    Britain has refused to extradite Zakayev and Berezovsky to Russia, as well as a number of other Russian businessmen living in London. Berezovsky was given political asylum in Britain in 2002.

    "British authorities have become more critical in their comments on Russia," the ministry said. "The main emphasis of these comments is being put on the issue of the 'worsening situation' of human rights and democratic freedoms in Russia."

    At the same time, the ministry said Moscow was positive about a number of issues of bilateral cooperation with London, particularly in the trade and economic sectors.

    It also said that within the first nine months of 2007, British financial investment in the Russian economy totaled almost $20.7 billion, a three-fold increase from the whole of 2006, while bilateral trade in the first three quarters of 2007 had increased by 16% against the previous year.

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