UK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson compares Russia with closed, nasty Sparta
The UK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson prior to a visit to Moscow, due in a few days, compared Russia with closed, nasty ancient Sparta, though stressed it necessary to cooperate with Russia, TASS reports.
"I was reading Thucydides’ history of the Peloponnesian war. It was obvious to me that Athens and its democracy, its openness, its culture and civilisation was the analogue of the United States and the West," he said in an interview with The Sunday Times. "Russia for me was closed, nasty, militaristic and antidemocratic - like Sparta."
"There was an extraordinary moment of hope and change when the [Berlin] wall came down and suddenly everything felt very different," he continued. "It now feels as if that was a total illusion."
"Russia has not been so hostile to the UK or to western interests since the end of the Cold War," he said. The foreign secretary spoke about the events in Crimea back in 2014 as an example of such hostility, and claimed Moscow’s "destabilizing activities" in the Balkans.
He called the current state of relations with Russia a tragedy, "recalling the times when his childhood mistrust of Moscow morphed into a belief, at the end of the Cold war that relations might improve, the newspaper writes. "When I was a kid, Russia was a very scary proposition. The idea of friendship with Russia seemed to be absurd because Russia was threatening us with nuclear warheads," Boris Johnson said.
"Johnson is looking for opportunities to work with the Russians," The Sunday Times writes. He continued, "pointing out that he shares their [Russians] ancestry - his mother is the granddaughter of a Russian-Jewish palaeographer and he is named after a Russian ·migr·. "I took the precaution before I became foreign secretary to station my antecedents across the world," he told the newspaper.