Its a case of Corbyn was right: Corbyn has spoken more sense on both Russia and Ukraine than any warmongers flapping around today.
In 2018 during the prime minister’s Russia statement after the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. Jeremy Corbyn in what he called “an appalling act of violence”, said: “Nerve agents are abominable if used in any war. It is utterly reckless to use them in a civilian environment.” but he also went further and used the Salisbury nerve gas attack to point out the influence of Russian money on UK politics he stated:
“We have a duty to speak out against the abuse of human rights by the Putin Government and their supporters, both at home and abroad, and I join many others in this House in paying tribute to the many campaigners in Russia for human rights, justice and democracy in that country. We must do more to address the dangers posed by the state’s relationship with unofficial mafia-like groups and corrupt oligarchs. We must also expose the flows of ill-gotten cash between the Russian state and billionaires who become stupendously rich by looting their country and subsequently use London to protect their wealth. We welcome the Prime Minister today clearly committing to support the Magnitsky amendments and implementing them as soon as possible, as Labour has long pushed for.
Corbyn is referring explicitly to the A Magnitsky Act it was passed by the US Congress in 2012. It was later broadened to become the Global Magnitsky Act of 2016, applying to gross human rights abusers anywhere. Other countries, including Canada, Lithuania and Estonia have introduced their own versions of the legislation.
4 years ago Jeremy Corbyn condemned Russian money interfering in British Politics.— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) February 23, 2022
Listen carefully to that moment as MPs shouted “shame” and “disgrace” at Jeremy for daring to try to clean up politics. pic.twitter.com/EqXkkAUOpU
Financial sanctions on Putin-friendly Russians, including seizing cash and assets in the UK could be a powerful weapon, but one that is regularly ruled out. This was made explicit in 2014 when deputy national security adviser Hugh Powell was photographed entering Number 10 with a document listing options for responses to Russia’s Ukraine invasion. Powell’s slip-up exposed UK policy would not jeopardise City cash. Powell’s document said Britain would “Not support, for now, trade sanctions … or close London’s financial centre to Russians.”
Solomon Hughes covering Corbyn’s parliamentary statement said… Broadly speaking, the Russian oligarchs made their money from the “Wild East” privatisations during the economic “shock treatment” of the 1990s. Putin’s rule rests on reining in those oligarchs, befriending some, imprisoning others. Being rich in Russia now means being friendly with Putin. The Russian leaders’ business friends like the UK: they want to trade – and clean – their money in the City, invest it in London property and send their kids to British public schools. They often want to keep open options to follow their money to the UK in case they fall out with Putin.
City interests, the luxury property lobby and Russia-linked investors have a real interest in resisting sanctions powers. These groups are also among the Tories top funders. May will have to run against Tory donors’ interests to make a serious stand against Putin.
Far from “playing politics”, Corbyn was pressing this precise point. After telling Parliament this was a “deeply alarming attack” which “the whole House condemns” Corby referred to “huge fortunes, often acquired in the most dubious circumstances in Russia and sometimes connected with criminal elements, have ended up sheltering in London and trying to buy political influence in British party politics.”
Corbyn called on the government to “introduce new financial sanctions powers”. This isn’t a vague gesture, it is a concrete call. May’s government are “currently resisting Labour’s amendments to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill that could introduce the so-called Magnitsky powers”. Sergei Magnitsky was an anti-corruption investigator who died after being assaulted in a Russian prison in 2009. In response, the US Magnitsky Act creates powerful sanctions powers.
Corbyn was calling for specific powers and pressuring May to introduce them. Unfortunately, he was not only attacked by the Tories for wanting to bring in more stringent and wide-reaching sanctions he was also attacked by the centrist in his own party.
“Corbyn highlighted the mafia-like groups and oligarchic interests in London and their links with elements within the Russian state, along with the need to take more firm action on that.” again he was attacked by his own MPs including Chris Leslie, John Woodcock, Yvette Cooper, Chuka Umunna, Anna Turley and Mike Gapes. all complaining Corbyn was using the occasion to play party politics.
It goes without saying that if Corbyn was listened to in 2018 and had the support from his own party instead of those centrists within flocking to support their Tory counterparts in condemning Corbyn for bringing up the issue of Russian Money then things may well have been different today. In the same context, Corbyn was also right in 2014 when he pointed out the issues in Ukraine after the annexation of Crimea.
Jeremy Corbyn 2014: Should the West go to war over the Ukraine
LibDem MEP, Sir Graham Watson, claims it’s our moral Duty To stand up to Russia and Compares it to “Hitler’s annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938” he proposes not only sanctions and suggests that it could involve military action.
Watch the video… Jeremy Corbyn on the BBC’s ‘The Big Questions’ program to debate whether or not the west should go to war over Ukraine.
Being hawkish about a third world war suggest very psychotic personality however, Corbyn’s response was not only current articulated but made more sense than any response we have had from any politician today. He stated:
“What my colleagues there were saying, it seems to me like a recipe for war and incredibly dangerous. I’m not supportive of Russian military action and I do think there has to be a peace process and there has to be a process of demilitarisation of the Ukraine and sticking to the original non-nuclear agreement but I would also say this – the hypocrisy of the west is unbelievable on this! Where was the legality in the war in Iraq, where was the legality of so many other interventions made elsewhere and if one reads, very carefully, what all the Ukrainian forces are saying, yes there is a very nasty far-right force in Ukraine at the present time which is part of the government, there is also a more liberal grouping in the Ukraine, there is also a very large Russian grouping in the Ukraine who obviously have some loyalties toward Russia? Does Ukraine break up? That’s a matter for the Ukrainian people but the idea that we should move the whole thing, in rhetoric, towards some kind of military war against Russia seems to me an absolute disaster!”
Another panellist then suggests that we’re already in a pre-war situation because it’s not just about the threat to Crimea. He sees a threat to Crimea as a threat to European security in general. Corbyn responds…
“I think the wider issue is that the EU has got very close to NATO. NATO has been pushing very hard to expand eastwards. Inevitably Russia is going to get very nervous if NATO sets up bases all around its borders, that in turn encourages Russian militarism. Can’t we go back to the point where Ukraine was a nuclear-free country that was not going to be a member of any alliance, either with Russia or with NATO and start to de-militarize and de-escalate the situation and allow a proper debate, much longer than a week, for people to decide their own future in Ukraine. It seems to me that there’s a terrible danger of a rush to a combination of an economic and a military war and goodness knows what the consequence of that will be… the UN, clearly, if it takes a one-sided decision it’s going to get vetoed by somebody so, clearly, it cannot take that. Therefore it falls to the UN to try and bring the sides together and pursue a process of de-militarization but I’m quite alarmed by the way in which the NATO general secretary seems to be ramping up the ante all the time. It’s not his job to go around promoting wars, he’s meant to be answerable to a number of different governments. He appears to be behaving as though he’s some free agent that could say and do what he likes and develop this very very dangerous scenario. Ukraine has been the war ground of Europe for two centuries… millions have died in Ukraine from famine, from war, from occupation and from disasters.. let’s not visit that apon them again! Let’s try to de-escalate, de-militarize and bring about some kind of dialogue and peace process which will guarantee a peaceful future for those people and for Europe”
Watson then remarks that military interventions would have to be a last resort but he also asks what should be done if negotiations fail and Russia doesn’t pull back its troops. Corbyn’s response to this question…
“I’m not sure the Russian people, having lost so many in Afghanistan in the past want to see Russian lives lost in the Ukraine, any more than people in this country want to see us going into some ludicrous, futile, war which would have to end up with a political settlement. All wars end with a political settlement. Let’s start from the point of a political settlement, not start from the point of building up armed forces, moving fighter jets to Poland, mobilizing the fleet and all of these kinds of things… negotiate through.. and secondly.. the west has no moral authority whatsoever to lecture on this after the drone strikes, after Iraq, after so many other internal coups and conflicts around the world. Surely we should hand the thing back to the UN to try to bring about some kind of peace process and de-escalate the rhetoric, which is in danger of plunging us into a catastrophic war with nuclear implications”
It begs the question, why was this allowed to happen, how has the Russian Ukraine situation deteriorated to this point. Why over the last 8 years have the international community ignored the breakaway regions of Donbas and where the hell are the voices calling for de-escalation, talks and above all the efforts to save lives through peace.