Vladimir Putin as a ‘Real Russian Man’

BY IAN MITCHELL Some years ago when I lived in Moscow, I remember being startled by a comment a friend of mine made about Russian chauvinism. I was—and still am—good friends with a youngish, smart and very self-possessed Russian lady, who had spent a long time in the United States and understood both Russian and Western ways of managing interpersonal relationships. I was sitting one … Continue reading Vladimir Putin as a ‘Real Russian Man’

Valieva & Vladimir

BY IAN MITCHELL Kamila Valieva and Vladimir Putin – the link between ice-dancing and killing. Here are three apparently unrelated questions which are connected and explained by a simple story: First, why Kamila Valieva (the teenage Russian ice-skater who has been in the news at the Beijing Winter Olympics) was given performance-enhancing drugs, probably without her knowledge? Secondly, why her coach treated her with such … Continue reading Valieva & Vladimir

A Tale of Christmas Past

BY IAN MITCHELL Nearly fifty years ago, I was working as an unauthorised clerk—the lowest of the white low—at Max Pollock and Fremantle, then the largest firm on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. It was an easy job, which I owed to pure nepotism in that my then girl-friend’s cousin was a partner. I enjoyed both the easy work and the fact that the staff were … Continue reading A Tale of Christmas Past

South Africa & Tribalism

BY IAN MITCHELL Democracy, as the mad moaner Malcom Muggeridge once remarked, can work only in societies that are essentially unified. He was thinking at the time of communist regimes, but the point is still valid. We are beginning to understand that Scotland, which was tolerably unified before Nicola Sturgeon started to foment social division for political advantage, is no longer in that category. Neither … Continue reading South Africa & Tribalism

The Imperialism of Anti-Imperialists

BY IAN MITCHELL The controversy over the statue of Cecil Rhodes in Oriel College, Oxford, suggests that the modern world is opposed to imperialism. I believe the opposite is the case. It shows that Oxford dons are at least as imperialistic as Rhodes ever was, though in a more sly and dishonest way. In fact, the most dangerous imperialism that has descended on the civilised … Continue reading The Imperialism of Anti-Imperialists

Judicial Secrecy in Scotland

BY IAN MITCHELL The rule of law is at risk in Scotland today as there is a political wind blowing which is not friendly to a reciprocal relationship between the rulers and the ruled. This is by no means confined to Scotland, and the Westminster government has also been criticised for trying to “rule by decree”. But Britain has a robust parliament, which is at … Continue reading Judicial Secrecy in Scotland