Joining the dots
The British Council saga took another surprising twist with the news overnight that Russian traffic cops had arrested the son of former Labour Party leader NeilKinnock on a phoney drink-driving charge. Stephen Kinnock runs the Council's office in St Petersburg, which re-opened this week in defiance of an Russian ban on its activities there and in the west Siberian city of Yekaterinburg. The timing of Kinnock's arrest was anything but coincidental. The day before he was quoted in the Russian press describing the case against the British Council as "purely political".
Most people understand that the Council's links to theradioactive murder of Alexander Litvinenko in a London suchi bar are non-existent. It's a cultural organisation that brings schoolchildren to the Hermitage or sends ballet troupes to London. Last year, half a million Russians were taught by British Council-trained English teachers.