Belgian Elites Supine Before Anti-Russian Political Forces | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Belgian Elites Supine Before Anti-Russian Political Forces

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the surprising pro-détente feelings of Belgium’s French-speaking social elite who openly criticize the anti-Russian policies being pursued by the government here, in line with the EU consensus. My comments were based on conversations I had with a good many participants in a Russia-themed gala dinner at the country’s most prestigious gentlemen’s club in downtown Brussels. The fact that such a dinner could be held and that its more than 160 seats were sold out speaks for itself.

For the record, my interlocutors were retired senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, administrators working for the royal family, successful entrepreneurs in the financial services industry and a number of barons and lesser members of Belgian noble families.

In what follows here, I offer impressions of another sampling of Belgian society, this time diplomats in active service and the middle level or senior managers of Belgian corporations with large investments and ongoing business in Russia. The occasion was a gathering last night of the relevant Chamber of Commerce dedicated to commercial ties with Russia and celebrating the new year with speeches and cocktails. The atmosphere was subdued. One might say funereal, given how the numbers of business members in the Chamber has plummeted in recent years so that trade related bureaucrats from both Belgian and Russian sides now outnumber genuine people doing business, and fonctionnaires serving time are not an outspoken bunch.