Of course, cooperation between Russia and the West is going just fine in some areas. While waiting for Putin to arrive, I leafed through the pages of Salon Nedvizhimosti, an elite Russian property magazine directed at people like the riding-school’s patrons. It featured, amongst other things, properties in Britain, the cheapest at 4.6 million pounds and all of them in eye-wateringly bad taste. Given their respective moralities, it might indeed be said that the marriage of convenience between the Russian elites and the contemporary British elites is an entirely natural one. Whether it brings anything to the lower orders of their respective countries is another question.
Anatol Lieven is a professor in the War Studies Department of King’s College London and a senior fellow of the New America Foundation in Washington DC. His latest book, Pakistan: A Hard Country, was published this year and is appearing in paperback in the spring of 2012.