The jailing of several leading opposition figures, including former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov, has hammered another large nail into the coffin of free expression in Russia, human rights activists and foreign observers say. Exactly how David Cameron will justify his visit to Russia later this year is hard to see at this point. Cheap energy and investment are important. But affording undeserved respectability to an increasingly repressive, authoritarian and undemocratic regime may be judged too costly.
In the end of his article Tisdall calls on Cameron to cancel his planned visit to Russia this year:
"Putin is gambling that western politicians are too weak and western investors too greedy to stand up to him. They should prove him wrong," the Economist commented last week. "The West should recognise this marks a new, more repressive phase of Putin's rule … If Russia continues to act in this way, it should be chucked out of the G8." Likewise, Cameron should cancel his visit.