’Misfit in Moscow’ takes aim at UK’s failed Russia strategy, responsiblestatecraft.org

Geoffrey Roberts, Emeritus Professor of History at University College Cork, National University of Ireland

Ian Proud served at the British Embassy and offers a scathing critique of how his country has handled the Ukraine crises.

Notable among dissenters from NATO’s proxy war with Russia in Ukraine have been former Western ambassadors such as Jack Matlock and Chas Freeman in the United States, Britain’s Tony Brenton, and Tony Kevin in Australia — dissident voices that are needed more than ever amid fevered lobbying for yet further escalation of the conflict.

A very welcome addition to their ranks is Ian Proud, economic counsellor in the British Embassy in Moscow from 2014-2019. A highly experienced diplomat, Proud served in Thailand and Afghanistan, organized the G8 summit in Belfast in 2013 and, in 2022, retired from the Foreign Office as Vice Principal of its International Academy. […]

A self-professed “realist,” Proud believes the core purpose of diplomacy is to manage relations between states and to prevent conflict. In Moscow, according to his memoir published late last year, “A Misfit in Moscow: How British Diplomacy in Russia Failed, 2014-2019, he was appalled by the “utmost folly” of attempting to resolve “disputes with Russia through isolation and cancellation.”[…]

However, in general, Proud advocates engagement and the search for mutual understanding as a far more effective policy. While some Western powers — France, Germany and the United States — continued to make such efforts during Proud’s time in Moscow, the British government opted for “megaphone diplomacy” and to talking with other countries about Russia rather than to the Russians themselves. “You can’t be friends with everyone,” comments Proud in “A Misfit in Moscow”, “but real diplomacy involves talking to those you disagree with the most.” Läs artikel