Comment

“What should one make intellectually of the emotional contemplation of life on the Western Front? What is there to learn?”

BY JULIA PETTENGILL 

The recently-established lobby group Conservative Friends of Russia (CFOR) is doing little to dispel suspicions that its sympathies lie with the Russian government. 

One week after Russia’s fraud-ridden local elections, Russian opposition parties have achieved an anomaly in that country’s politics by holding what appear to have been free and fair elections to the Coordination Council new decision-making body of the opposition movement.

This week, the Moscow City Court released Yakaterina Samutsevich, one of the convicted members of the anti-Putin punk collective Pussy Riot. Samutsevich was given a suspended sentence on appeal, while the two-year sentences of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alkhina were upheld.

The opposition party Georgia Dream has won a convincing victory in Georgia’s parliamentary elections.

What will it take for the Obama administration to realise that their treasured “Reset” is the foreign policy equivalent of Monty’s Python’s dead parrot? The insults and harassment heaped upon Michel McFaul, the American Ambassador to Russia, apparently aren’t enough.

Just weeks ahead of Benedict XVI’s visit, the Birmingham Oratory is guilty of profound institutional cruelty in its treatment of three banished former members