Interview with Kirill Koktysh

Kirill Koktysh, an analyst from Moscow State University of International Relations spoke to Russia Today on the possible means to improve Russia-UK worsening relations.

Russia Today: Do you think there is more than just one stumbling block in Russian and the UK relations?

Kirill Koktysh: Yes, of course. This is the problem of perception of each other because each country perceives the situation quite emotionally. London, of course, is shocked with the murder and is ready to investigate and to clarify this problem. Russia is offended with London’s approach when Russia could be treated not as an equal partner, not as a civilized country and as a country that could be asked to change its own constitution. So, emotions help a little, actually, but they make the matter much more complicated and probably much harder to be resolved.

RT: What steps do you think can be taken to improve the relations between the two countries?

K.K.: First of all, a step down should be made from the emotional grade. The situation must be treated on the rational basis, on the traditional international law. First of all, each country should believe that this is an investigation, not an argument for its own initial position. It is obvious for London that Moscow is behind the Litvinenko’s murder and it is going to defend its point of view. Moscow has different arguments that there are too many deaths around Mr Berezovsky and too many people who came close to him or to his money were killed. Just recall Paul Khlebnikov, the American journalist, who tried to investigate Berezovsky’s connections with the Chechen (separatists). Well, the leaders of the Liberal Russian Party, who were killed after they received money from Berezovsky. So, those arguments should be checked and should be taken into account as well.

RT: But it looks like the two countries are quite firm in their positions where they stand. So do you think they need a mediator to solve the conflict?

K.K.: I hope the relations so far are not so bad that they would need a mediator because the demand for a mediator means a stalemate in which none of the counterparts can do anything. This is the problem and I hope that the relations so far are not so bad because this would be a serious loss for both countries, if they would need a mediator.

RT: Let’s talk about other side of the conflict. Do you think Russian businesses in Britain and British businesses in Russia may be affected by this crisis and how?

K.K.: Of course they might, in spite of the fact that both countries try to avoid such a development. But probably the London Forum of the Russian Business will be cancelled or put under question. British companies in Russia can also discover themselves under the very special attention of the state. So of course there is a state mission which works on its own logic and of course it could act this way.

RT: Have they already been affected though?

K.K.: Yes, there are some cases. There is a statement of Mr Aleksandr Shokhin, the Head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, that the London Forum is in danger and probably they would have to cancel it. There are some commentaries by  British companies that there will be attempts to make the regular economic problems political ones, that there would be such attempts, of course. One of these attempts has already taken place, I mean the case of the British Imperial Company. So, there will be a next development and there will be another logic of this development. And for both countries, of course, it will be better to avoid this.