MOSCOW, March 29. /TASS/. The recent remarks by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, in which he compared Russia to the fictional protagonist of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, is a part of the no-holds barred Russia-bashing campaign, Chairman of the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky told reporters.
"British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has long proved to be a daring soldier on the information battlefield against Russia, which actually has no rules," Slutsky said. "His recent metaphoric comparison of Russia to Rodion Raskolnikov, the hero of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, confirms this once again," he added.
However, the senior Russian lawmaker pointed out that "in his quest to flaunt his knowledge, the British politician seems to have sacrificed the truth." "It would be more correct to say ‘punishment without a crime.’ However, the West lost its common sense long ago in its crazed obsession to tarnish and demonize Russia. Unscrupulous large-scale attempts are underway aimed at manipulating public opinion, while concepts such as the presumption of innocence, truth and evidence do not matter at all," Slutsky emphasized.
Britain’s foreign minister earlier compared Moscow, whom London blames for the poisoning of former GRU Colonel turned British mole Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, to Rodion Raskolnikov, the protagonist of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. The statement was made at the Lord Mayor of the city of London's Easter Banquet.
Johnson’s speech at the banquet was based around the allegation that Russia underestimated the global response to the Salisbury episode. "It’s rather like the beginning of Crime and Punishment," Johnson said. "We're all confident of the culprit and the only question is whether he will confess or be caught," he added.
On March 4, Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia.
However, without presenting any evidence, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow. In retaliation to the UK’s steps, 23 British diplomats were expelled from Russia, the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg was closed and the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russia.
On March 26, in the wake of the Skripal incident, a number of EU member countries, the United States, Canada and Australia announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats. In particular, Washington expelled 60 diplomatic workers and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle.