Letters: Russian contribution is a good start

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I HAVE noted with interest the comments made by Andrey Pritsepov, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Edinburgh (Letters, 10 October).

I applaud his contribution to the UK media in this regard. We require more information and dialogue at the public level of debate from “the other side”.

I counter his claims of needing to control, using warfare, the enemy in an apparently indiscriminate manner. This is with the apparent absence of evidence of Russia providing direct humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees by offering them asylum in Russia itself. It is not only Europe’s problem; it is the problem of all the nations surrounding the Middle East. The acid test of genuine intent and compassion would be opening your doors to the dispossessed and needy.

The question of destabilising indigenous populations is another serious matter. Russia has the land area that Europe would envy, that would enable rehousing and re-population. It is by comparison, politically more stable than any of the affected countries such as Turkey and Lebanon.

Germany is to be commended in its offer of hope and temporary residence to these displaced people. There has been a shift in national sentiment at the governmental level within the EU, and it would be as well for Russia to demonstrate firmly its commitment to preserving lives and not destroying them. Israel is to be commended on basically keeping itself out of this war and the media reports pertain to the Gaza issue only.

I have not seen much footage of immigrants entering the Federation bloc and one raises a huge question of why?

Maybe we have not learned the full lessons of two world wars when there were massive displacements of humanity. Domination by one nation clearly is not the way forward. Moves must be made to address the power-base within Syria and Islamic countries such that their burdens are shared among themselves in a manner that does not destabilise neighbouring countries. Why should we fight other people’s wars if we are not willing to pick up the injured casualties and displaced families. If you are not willing to pick up the pieces, then you should not be sending in armed forces and weaponry.

Meanwhile for those hopelessly at a loss to comprehend the situation in the Middle East, all we can do is pay and pray. And for those of us in politically stable countries to help spread stability. This is not by war. Nor is it by the sudden introduction of democracy when the inherent political structure and power base is not developed enough to cope with change and variety within such damaged countries.

Caroline Watson (Dr)

Baird Grove, Edinburgh

We must hope Andrey Pritsepov, Russia’s Consul General in Edinburgh, is correct in asserting Russia’s sincerity to work with us to eradicate Islamic State (Letters, 10 October).

But while many of us agree our reaction over the past 15 months has been pretty ineffectual (and contrasts with the immediate Churchill/Stalin alliance in June 1941) it is reasonable to ask him why Russia has taken 15 months to do anything at all, at least openly.

It is yet another example of too many countries always expecting “the West” to act as world policeman – before accusing it when it does.

He should also accept it is not unreasonable to query Russia’s intentions, and assume that both Putin (ex-KGB officer) and Assad (second-generation dictator) would prefer to wipe out or irreversibly weaken the more democratic anti-Assad forces before concentrating on IS.

After all, Stalin was happy to support Hitler militarily and industrially in their joint rape of Poland from September 1939 until June 1941.

He also from across the river, was happy to watch the Nazis destroy Warsaw in their 1944 uprising while doing nothing to help, in order to control Poland post-war.

Russia’s desire for the respect it feels entitled to would be easier to recognise if it had implemented full de-Stalinisation after 1991 akin to Germany’s ­de-Nazification after 1945.

John Birkett,

Horseleys Park, St Andrews, Fife