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The Russian Guide to Brexit (Op-Ed)

Ben Judah

The results performed by British domestic polling companies are not routinely of interest to the good and the good of Washington, Brussels and Moscow. Yet, this week they many positively are. These polls sampling thousands of unremarkable Brits are display a slight, though increasingly persuasive, lead for the Leave choice in the country’s referendum on its membership of the European Union.

This is causing low alarm within Western governments.

None are anything though antagonistic toward Brexit, the neat catchphrase by which the U.K.’s formidable and highly unpleasant divorce from the confederation has come to be known.

In Moscow, however, the contrary is true, with the prospect of Brexit presenting many glorious opportunities for Russian officials, oligarchs and, of course, the Russian president.

Property is Russia’s initial Brexit opportunity. The British bruise is already falling, and is approaching to fall by one-third if Brexit occurs. This will dramatically urge the purchasing energy of Russian resources in London: from mansions and flats, to legal services and luxury goods. This should be a welcome financial mangle after the ruble crisis.

Opacity is Russia’s second Brexit opportunity. The main risk to Russian investments in London in recent years has been a clamoring for full disclosures of Russian investors, with the aim of stamping out income laundering and stopping British authorised and financial services being used by Russian officials who rivet in corruption.

The threat to the Russian domestic elite’s peculiarity of life over the last few years has been this — that successful remodel in Britain could outcome in tougher standards via the whole of the EU. With Brexit, the risk of Russian officials no longer being means to anonymously buy houses, open bank accounts or send their children to school opposite Western Europe would be over.

Opacity would radically reinstate the campaign for financial transparency. Right-wing politicians and campaigners pulling for Brexit intend to rid London of the EU’s regulatory burden. By default, the U.K. would no longer have to apply the anti-money laundering standard, and the opening between it and the residue of the EU would grow. The regulatory chaos, indeed mess, of renegotiating the trade attribute between Britain and the EU would siphon adult all regulatory energies for at slightest a decade — ensuring that clarity projects be abandoned.

Brexit would not be simply an event. It would also move a very right-wing, really free-market coterie of the Conservative Party to power for at slightest a generation. This is since the U.K.’s opposition, the Labour Party, is referring to it as a “Tory Brexit.” Again, for Russian elites, this would be a fortuitous spin in policy. It would meant Russian investors could design clarity projects to be abandoned, scrapped or unenforced once Brussels regulations cease.

The British domestic category would be Russia’s third Brexit opportunity. Cheaper, ambiguous and less influential, the U.K. following Brexit would be a U.K. ideally matched to Russian interests. It would be both weaker and friendlier.

Weaker because, post-Brexit, the U.K. would many expected stop to be an integral state within 5 years. Scotland, a strongly pro-Brussels basic republic of the U.K., that usually narrowly voted to remain in the U.K. in 2014, will roughly positively secede.

EU membership was also a decisive lumber of the 1999 Northern Ireland assent agreement, and it competence good be that low-level skirmishes, if not undisguised inter-communal assault would lapse to the province. This rarely illusive method of events would effectively finish the international purpose of a energy historically deeply antagonistic to Russian influence.

A weaker U.K. would also be friendlier in several ways. The Brexit routine would expected be so formidable and potentially economically unpleasant that British politicians would stop their hostilities toward Russian activities worldwide. Boris Johnson, the U.K.’s many expected post-Brexit primary minister, has regularly called for the West to cease the counter-Russian activities in Syria and support the Russian president’s strategy.

Boris Johnson should be accepted by the Russian elite, not so most as a politician though a Cold War mentality, though as a politician though a foreign process mentality. His reign as London mayor was noted by intense honesty and friendliness to global resources and investment though political, religious, or ideological prejudice. Russian elites could design Johnson — whose settled aspiration following Brexit is for the U.K. to be a light-regulation entrepôt state — to woo Russian oligarch investment and, rarely likely, some-more gentle ties with the Russian president.

Russia’s fourth Brexit event would be inside the EU, though usually in the brief term.

The initial startle would be there. Thrown into turmoil, Brussels and Berlin would no longer be means to enforce the consensus on Russia-focused sanctions. They would have to be forsaken in order to create and reward allies for the distant trickier negotiations (and expected punitive trade moves) between the U.K. and the bloc.

But distinct in the U.K., where the opportunities and the dismissal of a opposition would be permanent, Russia should not lift the hopes per the prospects of long-term European disintegration. Brexit is not expected to play a role same to one the Baltic states played in 1990 vis-a-vis the Soviet Union. Instead, Germany and France would take thespian measures to further confederate the bloc into a domestic union.

This competence embody wilful stairs to a common unfamiliar policy, that would severely revoke Russian change in the EU. The U.K. would no longer be means to stop French, Polish and Baltic desires for a credible, singular European army and military command. This, obviously, is not in Russia’s interests as it would relieve opportunities for infiltration in states of the former Warsaw Pact.

Nor would a dramatic upswing in opportunities benefaction itself in Ukraine. The sense of historical emergency, and ensuing media storm, would expected instead see the United States, underneath Commander-in-Chief Clinton, reengage in Europe to stop serve destruction or too apparent Russian opportunities from emerging.

Such risks of continental hyper-consolidation aside, the unexpected late pitch divided from Europe has clearly come as a pleasant warn not usually to Brexit supporters, who a decade ago were a crankish minority in British politics.

It will also, surely, comfort the Russian president.  

Ben Judah is author of This Is London and Fragile Empire.

Article source: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/572691.html