Ex-MI6 boss says only a revolution will end threat from Putin's Russia

Ex-MI6 boss says only a revolution will end the threat from Putin’s Russia – as he warns Britain has ‘lost its way’ since the end of the Cold War

  • Sir Richard Dearlove said Britain was now lacking ‘cohesion and motivation’ 
  • Sir Richard, who joined MI6 in 1966, noted the ‘sheer brutality of Putin’s regime’

Only a revolution could end the threat from Putin’s Russia in the war in Ukraine and Britain has ‘lost its way’ since the end of the Cold War, a former head of MI6 has warned.

Sir Richard Dearlove, who led MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said Britain no longer had the ‘cohesion and motivation’ that drove the former spy when he joined the service in 1966.

He said that the nation has lost self-confidence without the ‘essential threat’ of the Cold War.

Discussing the war in Ukraine, Sir Richard said: ‘The sheer brutality of Putin’s regime leads me towards the conclusion that Russia’s political DNA is so corrupted that only another revolutionary change might rebalance it.’

Sir Richard told the National Conservatism conference in Westminster: ‘It never occurred to me that I was not on the side of the angels.’

Sir Richard Dearlove (pictured), who led MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said Britain no longer had the ‘cohesion and motivation’ that drove the former spy when he joined the service in 1966 

Pictured: Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his speech during the Victory Day military parade marking the 78th anniversary of the end of World War II in Red square in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, May 9, 2023.

Pictured: Air defence missiles are seen impacting targets over Kyiv. Russia launched a brutal drone and missile attack on Ukraine’s capital early this morning. Ukraine claimed its robust air defence system, comprised of Soviet-era and Western-supplied platforms, managed to successfully shoot down 18 of Moscow’s missiles

He said: ‘Looking back, we were self-confident without any hint of complacency. We took for granted the fundamental moral difference between the values we espoused and the totalitarian nature of Soviet Russia and Maoist China.’

Comparing his experience to the modern world, he said: ‘It seems to me we have since lost our way.

‘Without the essential threat to our way of life that was a constant feature of the Cold War, we have lost cohesion and motivation, and especially our self-confidence.

‘Minority views amplified by social media have been allowed disproportionate political and social space so that the mainline political and social debate has become seriously distorted by fringe movements.’

Sir Richard appeared at the right-wing National Conservatism conference as part of a panel on ‘national realism and foreign policy’, alongside other speakers who claimed ‘woke’ movements had undermined security.

Michael Anton, a former US national security official under Donald Trump, claimed the American armed forces were struggling with recruitment because too many Americans had been taught that ‘their country is evil and they should hate it’.

Pictured: Russian military hardware roll through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade in central Moscow on May 9, 2023

Discussing ‘active measures’ – disinformation and subversion efforts usually associated with Communist nations – Sir Richard warned: ‘Active measures work best in a fertile social and political environment where naivety about Russian and Chinese intentions is rife, where doubt about our own values system and its foundations has irrational strength.

‘I’m worried when I witness eminent members of our own elite doing the work of our foremost enemies for them.

‘Whether it is advocating for Huawei, refusing to publish any serious scientific study that questions the Chinese narrative on the origins of the Sars-Cov 2 virus, or promoting a settlement in the war between Russia and Ukraine that ignores the peace conditions laid down by President Zelensky.’

Speaking on the One Decision podcast, which he co-hosts, in May last year, Sir Richard said of Putin: ‘I think he’ll be gone by 2023 – but probably into the sanatorium, from which he will not emerge as the leader of Russia.

‘I’m not saying he won’t emerge from the sanatorium, but he won’t emerge as the leader of Russia any longer.’

‘That’s a way to sort of move things on without a coup,’ he concluded.

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