The strange case of Sergei Skripal began two weeks ago when this former Russian intelligence officer, along with his 33-year-old daughter Yulia, were found unconscious on a public bench in Salisbury, southern England. Fortuitously for them, the people who first found them were a passing doctor and nurse. Their current location is unknown, although British authorities report that they are alive and in a ‘stable condition’.
An international scandal has erupted in the meantime, with the British government accusing its Russian counterpart of conducting a chemical weapon attack on its soil. Emergency UN Security Council meetings, more anti-Russia sanctions and other punitive measures have been undertaken by the British government, with varying degrees of support from fellow NATO member-states.
The political climate of anti-Russia hysteria, which was already tense, continues its parabolic curve towards… well, towards what? War? Anyone would be forgiven for thinking so, but with the Russian presidential election taking place today, and the football World Cup coming up in Russia this summer, the more likely impetus for these shrill histrionics stem from a powerful impetus to ‘de-legitimize’ Putin’s government and isolate Russia internationally.