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Opinion
Martin Ivens

The West's Embrace of Russian Influence Has to End

Countries including the U.K. got far too cozy taking money from foreign elites. Now comes the reckoning.

People stand with placards and Ukrainian and Union flags at a demonstration in central London.

People stand with placards and Ukrainian and Union flags at a demonstration in central London.

Photographer: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP

The Covid-19 epidemic was one great test of democratic resilience. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine poses another. Do Western societies have the moral fiber to stand up to aggressively authoritarian regimes abroad? What about at home?

From the World Economic Forum in Davos to London’s glittering business and party scene, Moscow’s gold has bought soft-power influence. Where the Russians have led, the Chinese have followed more discreetly. It is high time this sticky embrace came to an end.