London should follow the lead of Washington, Vilnius and Kiev and remember the patriot Vladimir Putin prefers to forget
On his visit to Russia in February 1994 Britain’s then prime minister, John Major, strayed from the customary itinerary of official meetings in Moscow and travelled 300 miles east, to Nizhny Novgorod, to see a rare success story in a struggling Russian economy. Here, in a onetime Soviet industrial backwater closed to foreigners, a young governor named Boris Nemtsov led an ambitious programme of liberal reforms, attracting investment, promoting trade and creating a new middle class of farmers and small business owners.
The reforms were assisted by western money and expertise, most prominently from Britain’s know-how fund. “You are leading the way in pioneering the new economy,” Major told an audience of businesspeople at the city’s historic trade fair. “Governor Nemtsov and his colleagues are right to be proud of their achievements.”