British Counsellor Criticizes UK’s Action Against Russia In New Book – “A Misfit in Moscow”

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Prominent dissenters from NATO’s proxy war with Russia in Ukraine include former Western ambassadors such as Jack Matlock and Chas Freeman in the United States, Britain’s Tony Brenton, and Tony Kevin in Australia—voices of dissent crucial amid fervent lobbying for further escalation of the conflict.

Ian Proud, former economic counselor at the British Embassy in Moscow from 2014-2019, joins this group. A seasoned diplomat with experience in Thailand and Afghanistan, Proud played a key role in organizing the G8 summit in Belfast in 2013 and retired as Vice Principal of the Foreign Office’s International Academy in 2022. Notably, he facilitated the smooth running of the 2018 football World Cup in Russia, engaging with various segments of Russian society during his tenure.

Unlike many of his peers, Proud made efforts to learn Russian and extensively traveled the country, engaging with officials, politicians, academics, students, and citizens. He advocates a pragmatic approach to diplomacy, emphasizing the management of state relations and conflict prevention.

In his memoir, “A Misfit in Moscow: How British Diplomacy in Russia Failed, 2014-2019,” he criticizes attempts to isolate and cancel Russia, viewing such strategies as counterproductive.

Although not a Russophile, Proud believes in engagement and mutual understanding as more effective policies. He acknowledges instances where confrontation may be necessary, as seen in the aftermath of the Skripal poisoning in 2018, but generally advocates for dialogue over megaphone diplomacy.

Despite efforts from other Western powers like France, Germany, and the United States to engage with Russia during his time in Moscow, the British government favored a confrontational approach, avoiding direct dialogue with Russian counterparts.

Following the eruption of the Ukraine crisis in 2014, London’s stance emphasized punishment for Russia’s actions and rejected a return to normalcy in relations. Despite occasional voices advocating for engagement, such as Boris Johnson, sanctions became the primary tool, with little consideration for their economic impact or effectiveness.

Proud highlights the British mishandling of the Minsk agreements, where the UK’s marginalization from negotiations hindered its ability to influence outcomes. By advocating for sanctions until full implementation, the UK inadvertently incentivized Kyiv to obstruct progress, prolonging the conflict.

Despite vetting by the Foreign Office, Proud’s memoir remains a valuable critique of British policy towards Russia. Since its publication, Proud has continued to engage in alternative media platforms, advocating for a ceasefire and a just peace in Ukraine, underscoring the importance of diplomatic efforts over military escalation.