Russia’s intelligence operation has let Vlad down once again. Moscow’s top spooks and apparatchiks used to be feared and admired in equal measure: dark arts, double agents, defections and disinformation – it all sounded terribly impressive. Yet that daunting reputation is just one of the many Russian casualties which perished in Putin’s Ukraine expedition. Repeated intelligence failings have cost Russia far more blood and treasure than was initially anticipated, with Putin ordering the imprisonment of the security services’ leadership in retaliation.
Sadly though it seems Putin hasn’t managed to lock up all his incompetent underlings. For today Russia has released its latest list of MPs that will be sanctioned by his regime – all 287 of them. The only problem is, er, many on the list of names aren’t actually MPs anymore as the list appears to be at least three years out of date.
Among them include ardent Remainers Dominic Grieve, Justine Greening, Oliver Letwin, Phillip Lee and Sarah Wollaston – all of whom either lost their seats or stepped down at the 2019 general election. The absence of Sir Keir Starmer, a staunch defender of Nato, also points to the Russians using old information. Clearly Moscow’s finest need to acquire a new copy of the Times’ guide to the House of Commons.
Once being sanctioned was a badge of honour – now it seems it’s prizes for all when such giants as Maggie Throup are being banned from entering Russia. Even luminaries like ‘Beijing Barry’ Gardiner, Diane Abbott and Richard Burgon now face ‘personal restrictions’ for fuelling ‘unwarranted Russophobic hysteria,’ according to the country’s ministry.
Still, there is one high-profile figure from the recent past who escaped such punishment: step forward Jeremy Corbyn. The ex-Labour leader was last seen suggesting the West is to blame for Ukraine’s invasion by Russia. Perhaps that Russian intelligence isn’t so faulty after all…