Russia’s ambassador to Britain has launched a verbal assault on the Conservative Party for attacking Labour’s new leader, Jeremy Corbyn following his election to the post. The ambassador praised Corbyn’s foreign policy stance, and called his recent rise to power a “radical breakthrough in British politics.”
In the 10 days since his election Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire from a wide variety of people, including the media, the DUP, and even his own party members. But it seems the proudly socialist Labour leader has found one ally – in Alexander Vladimirovich Yakovenko, Russia’s ambassador to Britain.
In an extraordinary breach of diplomatic protocol, Mr Yakovenko cheered on Mr Corbyn’s election, slamming the Conservatives for what he called “flagrant” opposition to the “democratic process” in criticising the result of Labour’s leadership election.
Speaking to the Russian television station Rossiya TV, Mr Yakovenko remarked “It is difficult to overestimate the significance of Jeremy Corbyn being elected by an overwhelming, mostly young people’s majority, the new leader of the Labour party and, thus, leader of the official parliamentary opposition.
“This is nothing short of a radical breakthrough in British politics of the last 30 years, which have never stepped beyond the so-called Thatcherist neo-liberal consensus of the establishment.”
— Alexander Yakovenko (@Amb_Yakovenko) September 14, 2015
Since the end of the cold war, Mr Yakovenko believes that British politics had been characterised by the “absence of pluralism,” a state which suited the establishment as it allowed it to enact austerity politics, despite offering “no solution to the crisis.”
“The post-war ‘social contract’, which aimed to build a social economy or what one might call capitalism with a human face, has been practically scrapped,” he said.
On foreign policy too, Mr Yakovenko said that the elite had indulged in “self-destructive power politics,” the failure of which was now playing out in the migration crisis. The only surprise, he said, is “how long the elites have been able to contain political discourse within this framework to their own advantage.”
Senior Tory sources have warned that Corbyn’s positions on foreign policy and the military would “weaken” Britain, but Mr Yakovenko lavished praise on Mr Corbyn, whom he sees as an antidote to the neoliberal consensus, saying: “Naturally, the austerity policy has been challenged first off. Equally, full display is now given to alternatives in foreign and defence policy reflecting the views of Jeremy Corbyn, which he has been open about and, quite naturally, made part of his democratic mandate.
“Those include opposition to military interventions of the West, support for the UK’s nuclear disarmament, conviction that NATO has outstayed its raison d’etre with the end of the Cold War, just to name a few.”
He then turned his attention to the Conservative Party’s reaction to Corbyn’s election. In the days following the Labour result, Mr Cameron said: “The Labour Party is now a threat to our national security, our economic security and your family’s security.”
Those comments have since been echoed by Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, and a series of former military commanders.
“David Cameron said on Twitter that Jeremy Corbyn posed a threat to Britain’s national security, economic security and the security of just about every British family,” Mr Yakovenko’s verdict: “these messages constitute … [a] flagrant approach to the results of an absolutely democratic process
The comments constitute a rare attack on a national leader by a foreign ambassador, but Mr Yakovenko made no secret of where he stands, concluding: “I agree with those political observers, who believe that this country in on the verge of a historic shift, which is imminent not only in Britain, but in the West as a whole.
“Essentially, this is a result of moral and intellectual decline of political elites, who in deed, if not in word, have drawn the wrong ‘end of history’ conclusions from the end of the Cold War: there are no alternatives to neo-liberal policies, ‘the market will sort it all out automatically’, etc.”