Top senator warns of Brexit’s potential negative effect on Russia

© Francois Lenoir
The head of the Upper House Foreign Affairs Committee has said the British vote in favor of exiting the European Union puts the whole EU under risk of disintegration and this, in turn, could seriously damage Russia’s established trade ties.

I don’t share the simplified point of view stating that whatever is bad for them is good for us. If the EU gets submerged in its own problems and steps into another crisis period this would affect our trade relations as well,” Senator Konstantin Kosachev said in an interview with Life.ru news portal.

READ MORE: ‘We definitely have to move in our relations with UK’ – Russia’s ambassador to Britain

The trade turnover between Russia and EU suffered a sharp fall after the introduction of mutual sanctions, decreasing from USD$417 billion in 2013 to $380 billion in 2014, and $230 billion in 2015. Nevertheless, the EU share in Russia’s foreign trade remains the largest at about 44 percent.

Kosachev also acknowledged that it could take about seven years after Thursday’s referendum for the United Kingdom to complete the split from the European Union. “According to my estimations, it will take them about two years to hold all necessary consultations, prepare the decisions and launch the practical process. This will be the transitional period – this and five more years to complete these procedures. The United Kingdom will completely and irreversibly stop being a EU member in seven years,” the senator told reporters.

The head of the State Duma International Relations Committee, MP Aleksey Pushkov, also commented on the British referendum results through a string of tweets, but concentrated on its potential effect outside Russia.

Pushkov wrote that the results of the latest referendums in the Netherlands and the UK were such that the ruling elites of the European Union would now oppose any attempts to hold polls. He argued the opinion of the people is generally against the political objectives of the ruling classes.

The Russian MP went on to blame the weak position of all Euro optimists and primarily US President Barak Obama for the referendum results. “Stop blaming the innocent here – Russia has nothing to do with this. It was the defeat of Brexit opponents as well as a personal failure of Barak Obama,” Pushkov said on Twitter.

This was swiftly followed by his reaction to statements made by former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul: “Instead of congratulating Putin, McFaul should have thought how it could happen that after all calls from his former boss, Obama, the majority of Britons voted directly the opposite,” Pushkov tweeted.

McFaul retweeted this text with a comment: “Fair point.”

READ MORE: Russians’ attitude to Western nations continues to deteriorate - poll

A poll conducted in Russia in December 2015 showed that an overwhelming majority of its residents have increasingly negative feelings about the USA, the EU and other Western nations. They would prefer their country to stay on an independent course regardless of sanctions. Seventy percent of respondents professed an unfavorable attitude to the European Union, which was about the same as 12 months before, but lower than the data from January 2015, when adverse opinion on Western nations reached an all-time high.