Annals of Kremlin Humiliation: BC whips Putin’s Sorry Butt

Reuters reports that even Russia courts can see the naked politically-motivated fraud inherent in the Kremlin’s attack on the peaceful British Council. Putin’s incompetence and weakness is once again exposed, and Russia is once again humiliated before the eyes of the world as a much smaller nation forces him to back down.

A Russian court Friday threw out most of the tax claims filed by authorities against the British government’s cultural arm during a diplomatic row between the two countries. As relations between London and Moscow deteriorated over the past two years, the Russian government forced the closure of some of the British Council’s regional offices, saying they were not legal, and tax inspectors filed claims against it. But high-level ministerial contact between the two countries has now resumed and Britain sent a new ambassador to Moscow this month. “The court recognized as invalid a decision from a tax inspection in the part where it filed income tax and value added tax claims,” said the spokeswoman for the Moscow Arbitration Court.  The tax claims had been issued in January, she said.

The British Council, which had lodged an appeal against the fines, said it was satisfied with the court’s decision on the tax claims and hoped to expand its activities in Russia. “The details of the ruling are complex and we are discussing the decision of the court with our lawyers,” the Council’s press service said in a statement sent to Reuters. Britain has always said the Council’s activities in Russia are fully legal Russia denies the moves against the Council are part of a harassment campaign and says its action has been aimed at enforcing legislation.

The row over the British Council became an added irritant in Russia’s uneasy ties with Britain. Relations sank to their lowest level since the Cold War after the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, an former state security agent turned Kremlin critic, in November 2006 with a radioactive substance in a London hotel. Russia has repeatedly spurned Britain’s demands to extradite a man accused by London of killing Litvinenko.

3 responses to “Annals of Kremlin Humiliation: BC whips Putin’s Sorry Butt

  1. Pardon the skepticism… I don’t think it’s a manifestation of court’s independence. I am sure it’s an indication that Putin is no longer interested in fighting British Council. Either because BC (or somebody else) made some concessions, or because he thinks restoring BC’s role is more valuable at this time than harassing them. Don’t know why – maybe Mrs Putin’s Harrod’s account was suspended, but whatever it is, this “throwing out of the charges” was approved at the highest level.

  2. The reason Russia is ‘playing nice’ at the moment and the belicose rhetoric has been ramped down I suspect is die to the fact that some Russians have finally joined up the dots –

    ‘Axis of Diesel’ forced to change its ways by plummeting oil price’

    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/natural_resources/article4965242.ece

    Far from being immune to the current economic difficulties, as it intitially seemed to think because of its national reserves derived from oil sales when the price was high, it is finding out the consequences of –

    (1) having an undiversified economy reliant on one major source of revenue

    (2) an arbitary (a kind way of describing it) rule of law when it comes to dealing with foreign investors and businesses

    (3) an outflow of foreign capital investment that can only be described as massive, see previous as one of several reasons why that is

    (4) closed lines of foreign credit (eg Eurobonds etc) that its major businesses relied on. This whilst it’s companies are already in hoc to the tune of several hundred $billion to primarily US lenders

    (5) a banking liquidity crisis that is as bad, if not worse, than ours in the US & EU .

    As you Americans would say, perhaps Russia has finally woken up and smelt the coffee. This is a minor indication of that. Starting to play ball with regards to Iran, back peddling on pulling the arrangement with NATO with regards to Afghanistan (which it threatened to do post Georgia) are further indications of this.

    Whilst it is an opportunity to engage with Russia in a constructive manner, what the US /EU/NATO shouldn’t forget is how Russia behaved when it was flush with oil money. Unfortunately as a European I suspect there are several EU countries with sappy leaders who this will not register with when it comes to dealing with Russia.

    As one of your Presidents famously said it’s a case of tread softly but carry a big stick. Russia must be aware of what that stick is, and it is there. The only thing they ever respect is strength when it comes to negotiation, anything else is considered weakness to be exploited.

  3. It isn’t surprising, I have read that Russian goverment loses 70 % of legal actions in Russian courts. In relation to the death of Litvinenko, anybody will know the truth until British goverment lifts the secret on the autopsy.

    Best regards

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