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Jonathan Djanogly calls for tough action against Russia


18th March 2014

Speaking in the House of Commons, Jonathan Djanogly calls for a tough stance against Russia following the invasion of Ukrainian sovereign territory and annexation of Crimea.

| Full prepared version of speech

Mr Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) (Con): The solidarity and unity in this debate have been heartening.

Too many people in this country and among our allies have been wandering aimlessly towards the teeth of the Russian bear, either as direct economic appeasers or because they do not want to think about nasty things going on in the extremities of our continent. However, the invasion of sovereign territory and the deprivation of human rights, including through the closing down of media, mob rule, bullying and the ignoring of minority concerns, are happening in Europe. We in the west need to wake up from our post-cold war dream of so-called peace dividends, our tiredness of conflict, our yearning for an end to austerity and other such pleasant thoughts, and face up to the new reality.

The reality of Putin’s Russia is not a pretty one. It is a regime that has no respect for international rules and conventions. It is a regime that has no morality in the western sense and that feeds on a diet of brute political strength and money—much of it stolen, in one way or another, from its own people. We apply our morality to Russian intransigence, and Putin and his henchmen laugh at us and just see weakness. They see a split Europe that is afraid to rock the economic boat and a US President who will do anything he can to avoid foreign policy distractions.

In Russia itself, human rights are little more than an afterthought. I hear now that extreme web and blog restrictions are being put in place. History has shown time and again that brutal dictators cannot be appeased. I recently spoke to a former Latvian Minister, and I hear from other countries surrounding Russia of their fear of what might happen as they count the numbers of ethnic Russians within their own borders.

I recently reread Winston Churchill’s speech in this place after the Munich conference, on 5 October 1938, and I commend it to hon. Members. The similarities between Crimea and the Sudetenland—a brutal power marching into a neighbour on the pretence of saving its own ethnic peoples—are chilling. At that time, Churchill remarked:

“I have always held the view that the maintenance of peace depends upon the accumulation of deterrents against the aggressor, coupled with a sincere effort to redress grievances.”—[Official Report, 5 October 1938; Vol. 339, c. 362.]

How apposite are those words now, and how well we would do to heed them.

The difference then was in the remedy. Churchill called for immediate rearmament, and although NATO will clearly need to reassure its ex-eastern bloc members of our article 5 obligations, it is not war that we now face immediately, although it would be remiss of the Government not to review alternatives, including reactive military ones. The current situation is more about affecting Russia where it cares most, and that is money. Yes, Putin has reignited Russian nationalism, but his political base, and that of his kleptocratic regime, is all governed by money, and mainly oil money at that. Thieves need access to their ill-gotten gains, and in the case of Russia, that means properties in Chelsea and the south of France, children in English schools, boats in the Med and wives in Bond street and rue Saint-Honoré. My feeling is that the kleptocracy will implode quicker if we stop that access than if we send in 50 divisions or move new nuclear weapons to the Polish border.

Yesterday’s EU travel ban and asset freeze on 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine is a weak and half-hearted negation of responsibility by the EU of which we should be ashamed. We should head the list of those sanctioned with Putin and his acolytes and work downwards to include all Russians. Even if the intention is to ratchet up sanctions, we should have been clearer about the implications of Russia annexing Crimea. We should remove Russia from the G8 and the Council of Europe. If it wants to behave as a 19th-century bully, why should it be allowed to G8 meetings? Tough sanctions should be put in place, along the lines of those on Iran, and Russian banks should be excluded from our financial system. Some seem to be saying that we have too much to lose if Russia retaliates. That is nonsense; I disagree.

| Hansard

| Parliament TV

Earlier in the same debate

Mr Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) (Con): Is it not the case that Ukraine was one of the largest owners of nuclear weapons in the world and it gave up those nuclear weapons on the basis of peace and security, yet it has now been railroaded by Russia? What kind of example does this set for the world going forward?

Mr Hague: That is a very powerful point. When the Budapest memorandum was signed and the commitment was made not to use armed force against Ukraine, that was in exchange for its giving up of nuclear weapons. It sends a terrible signal to other nations that may be seeking nuclear weapons for Russia to behave in this way. This all means that if we do not stand up to such a profound breach of international agreements and the use of force to change borders in Europe in the 21st century, the credibility of the international order will be at stake and we will face more such crises in the future. Russia and others could conclude that it can intervene with impunity in other countries where there are either Russian compatriots or Orthodox populations. Indeed, it has been a Russian policy over a number of years to encourage such links and dependencies, through the issuing of millions of Russian passports in Ukraine and other countries bordering Russia. Events in Crimea form part of a pattern of Russian behaviour, including in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria.

| Hansard



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