Russia en Syria: British ambassador speaks out <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Moving eyewitness testimony from the British ambassador in Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Michael Goldfarb </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p> Sometimes this blog will be just about direct sharing.&nbsp;</p> <p> With a minority here in London and elsewhere questioning whether the Syrian uprising is some kind of Western plot to get at Iran and with Russia encouraging doubters by its strong opposition to UN action, Simon Collis is Britain&#39;s Ambassador to Syria (recalled to London recently as I reported the other day) has posted this <a href="">blog</a>. It gives as impartial an eyewitness account of what has been going on as anything I have read. Beyond that I have dealt with British diplomats for a long time - they are never this frank in public.&nbsp; The post has tremendous moral force and I urge you to read it in its entirety.</p> <p> Here are a few extracts:</p> <p> &quot;Over the long period of time that I have known Syria, I have seen the regime of Hafez Assad and his son Bashar in action. The Assad dynasty was never a pleasant one to its people. I have seen the wounds of people released from prison. I have spoken to the families whose relatives have simply disappeared. I have heard from those who got a knock at 2am from the Mukhabarat (intelligence services) and were taken away for a still unknown affront to the Syrian authorities.</p> <p> But even having witnessed Syria&rsquo;s dark side, the violence and brutality I have witnessed over the last ten months shocks me.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Assad Home Iran Regions Russia simon Collis Syrla UN Europe Middle East United Kingdom On Europe Europa GlobalPost Blogs Thu, 09 Feb 2012 16:14:00 +0000 Michael Goldfarb 5691086 at Russian authorities scramble to feed trapped pelicans <p> The endangered, grey-white birds with distinctive curly feathers at their napes migrated to a rare patch of unfrozen water at a shipyard near Dagestan&rsquo;s capital city of Makhachkala, arriving from the frozen deltas of the Volga and Terek rivers up north.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Russia Russia Tue, 21 Feb 2012 20:00:49 +0000 Luke Browne 5692735 at Thousands form anti-Putin human chain around Moscow <p> Protesters braved freezing snowy weather and linked hands around the capital, bearing white balloons and flowers and wearing white scarves and ribbons to symbolize the biggest opposition demonstrations since Putin took power 12 years ago</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> elections Europe Politics Russia Elections Europe Politics Russia Sun, 26 Feb 2012 17:15:37 +0000 Luke Browne 5693536 at Putin and Abramovich: Russian leadership style gets different results <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Putin steamrolls opposition, Abramovich steamrolls managers </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Michael Goldfarb </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p> Chelsea Football club fired its manager, Portugal&#39;s Andre Villas-Boas, Sunday . No surprise there. Vladimir Putin was elected Tsar of all the Russias &hellip; sorry, President of Russia the same day. No surprise there either.</p> <p> This coincidence says much about the limits of autocracy in non-autocratic environments.</p> <p> For Putin the autocrat, Russia is effectively a personal fief with a constitution. When he says he want to return to the presidency from a stint as Prime Minister - no problem. It&#39;s his.</p> <p> For 40-year old Abramovich, the Russian oligarch who took his first steps towards an estimated net worth of $13 plus billion back in the days when Boris Yeltsin sold the state oil company for a fraction of its value, things aren&#39;t quite so easy.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Abramovich Champions' League Home Putin Regions Russia Russian oligarchs Villas-Boas Europe Russia United Kingdom On Europe Europa GlobalPost Blogs Mon, 05 Mar 2012 15:57:07 +0000 Michael Goldfarb 5694601 at Putin cries as thousands of Russians protest his victory, seeing election fraud An independent inspector saw serious problems with the voting process. <p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Europe Politics Russia Vladimir Putin World Leaders Europe Politics Russia Mon, 05 Mar 2012 16:44:00 +0000 News Desk 5694606 at "Pussy Riot" Russian feminists arrested for punk rock show at Cathedral (VIDEO) “Holy Mother, send Putin packing!” <p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Culture & Lifestyle Entertainment Europe Russia Vladimir Putin Russia Weird Wide Web Thu, 08 Mar 2012 03:45:00 +0000 Amy Silverstein 5695102 at Ex-Russian banker German Gorbuntsov in critical condition after London shooting <p> German Gorbuntsov was entering a block of flats close to Canary Wharf in east London when a gunman open fire with a sub-machine gun.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Europe Russia United Kingdom Russia United Kingdom Fri, 23 Mar 2012 18:29:00 +0000 Luke Browne 5697446 at Obama asks Medvedev for "space" until after election, not realizing the exchange was caught on microphones <p> &quot;This is my last election ... After my election I have more flexibility.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Dmitry Medvedev Europe Nuclear Russia United States Vladimir Putin Weapons World Leaders Americas Elections Diplomacy Politics United States Mon, 26 Mar 2012 15:48:00 +0000 Amy Silverstein 5697719 at 'Cannibal serial killer' arrested in Russia <p> Alexander Bychkov was being questioned on suspicion of stealing from a hardware store in the town of Belinksy in Russia&rsquo;s Penza region when he suddenly told police he had killed several people and hid their bodies near his home.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Europe Russia Russia Mon, 26 Mar 2012 20:52:08 +0000 Luke Browne 5697793 at Former KGB chief kills himself in Moscow <p> In 1991, Leonid Shebarshin became acting head of the entire KGB for two days, replacing coup plotter Vladimir Kruchkov before resigning himself as the new post-Soviet authorities began dismantling the organization.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Russia Russia Fri, 30 Mar 2012 16:36:15 +0000 Luke Browne 5698520 at 'Pussy Riot' punk rockers to remain behind bars <p> Around 100 people, both supporters and Russian Orthodox supporters of the women, gathered outside the court during the custody hearing on Thursday, and at least 20 protesters were detained.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Russia Europe Russia Thu, 19 Apr 2012 21:13:49 +0000 Luke Browne 5701091 at Scientists call for Arctic fishing moratorium Scientists urged Arctic rim nations on Monday to halt industrial fishing in the Arctic Ocean until fish stocks are analyzed.<p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Canada Russia United States Wildlife News Canada Russia United States Tue, 24 Apr 2012 22:34:07 +0000 Alexander Besant 5701719 at Russian President Putin to skip G8 Camp David summit <p> The decision comes days after Washington criticized Russian authorities&rsquo; response to anti-government demonstrations in Moscow on Sunday.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Russia World Leaders Politics Russia Thu, 10 May 2012 14:26:23 +0000 Luke Browne 5703777 at Russian court refuses bail for female punk rockers The decision by a Moscow court on Friday to refuse bail to three members of a female punk band called Pussy Riot and extend their pretrial detention until January strains the imagination. What's the logic?<p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Pussy Riot Putin Russia Chatter Russia Fri, 20 Jul 2012 21:06:59 +0000 Gregory Feifer 5712860 at Putin parades in London Putin’s dour appearances abroad serve to reinforce his methodical crackdown against a nascent protest movement at home. <p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Russia World Leaders Chatter Russia Thu, 02 Aug 2012 18:47:00 +0000 Gregory Feifer 5714725 at