For Josep Borrell, Russia will remain a ‘mystery inside an enigma’ | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

For Josep Borrell, Russia will remain a ‘mystery inside an enigma’

It’s been a quotation cited repeatedly to describe the difficulties faced by western policy-makers towards Russia. Winston Churchill famously said the country was ‘a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’. Back in 1939, when he broadcast this speech, just as Britain had declared war on Germany, Churchill said that he thought he had the ‘key’ to unlocking the secret of Russian foreign policy and that was, he said, ‘Russian national interest’.

I assume that Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, who visited Moscow last Friday, is familiar with this quotation. And it seems that for him, Russia has remained something of a mystery. For upon his return to Brussels, after what his European colleagues have termed a ‘humiliating’ trip (they are now demanding his resignation), Borrell wrote a blog post outlining what was essentially his complete failure to engage with his Russian counterpart. “My meeting with Minister Lavrov highlighted that Europe and Russia are drifting apart”, he wrote in a piece published on Sunday evening. “It seems that Russia is progressively disconnecting itself from Europe.”