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Response to readers’ comments – Five rings of the empire

In the current issue of New Eastern Europe we published an essay titled “The five rings of the empire” by Paweł Kowal.

After publishing the piece online, we received a few reader questions about the author’s decision to include the Scottish National Party in his analysis such as the one below.

March 27, 2017 - Paweł Kowal - Articles and Commentary


FB comment

We asked the author to provide a clarification and this is his response:


Thank you for your interest in the topic of my text. The size of the text obliged me to present some issues in an abridged way, even though – surely – research into the Kremlin policies of supporting numerous illegal activities of Western political organisations needs to be continued. The point of the text was to present a certain repeated pattern and not comprehensive analyses of all cases, which clearly are different from one another.

To refer, however, to the part that has raised so much discussion, I would like to present the sources that I have used to back my argumentation. This includes an analysis titled: “First Putintern, meaning Russia’s alliance with extreme right in the EU” (Polish original: “Pierwszy Putintern czyli sojusz Rosji ze skarają prawicą w EU” https://oaspl.org/2016/03/31/pierwszy-putintern-czyli-sojusz-rosji-ze-skrajna-prawica-w-eu/, but more than anything I relied on the widely quoted statements in the British press by then Scotland’s prime minister Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party. For instance: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scottish-independence/10792044/Alex-Salmond-I-admire-certain-aspects-of-Vladimir-Putins-leadership.html

Statements issued by a leader of a political party, especially one who is holding such a high office, that are made in regards to such delicate issues as an attempt to legimitise the annexation of Crimea can be treated as illustrative of his political group. I hold this opinion as I am not aware of any formal statements of SNP statutory bodies that detracted or distanced from their leader’s viewpoint. 

I also want to point out that Salmond’s position is in contradiction to the policy of the United Kingdom and the international community both in regards to the annexation of the peninsula as the legality of the “referendum” which was not proceeded by any campaign, carried out under military and political pressure and – first and foremost – against the stipulations of Ukraine’s constitution. The position of the Foreign Office was reiterated in a tweet on March 15th 2017.

FO tweet

In my view, it is difficult to find a more straightforward example of support towards the Kremlin, both from a historical as well as international law perspective, than voicing support for its annexation of Crimea.


Paweł Kowal, Warsaw


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