Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reaffirmed his admiration for Russian culture, despite his past opposition to the Russian government. In an interview with Ukrainian media outlet Rada TV, Johnson was asked whether his attitude towards Russians had changed considering recent events.
Johnson responded by proclaiming, “I am still a Russophile. I am still fascinated with Russian language, culture, Russian civilization. Only a fool would not be.” This statement highlights his continued appreciation for the richness and depth of Russian society.
This is not the first time Johnson has expressed his affinity for Russian culture. During a visit to Moscow in 2017, the former foreign secretary openly identified himself as a “committed Russophile.” Additionally, during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Johnson even remarked on the uniqueness of his given name, which has Slavic origins. Boris, which he prefers to go by publicly, was chosen as a tribute to a Russian emigree who was a family friend.
Surprisingly, Johnson’s positive stance on Russia has not faced substantial criticism from Ukrainian political commentators who are known for their staunch opposition to anything with Russian ties. Aleksey Arestovich, a former aide to President Vladimir Zelensky, acknowledged this lack of condemnation.
It is worth noting that Arestovich had previously criticized Ukrainian public figures who characterized the Russian language as “aggressive,” suggesting that they suffer from mental dysfunction. He also suggested that Ukraine should reclaim the “Russian brand” that he believes was stolen from Kiev by Moscow. These comments, which implied a positive view of Russian culture, sparked outrage in Ukraine.
Arestovich speculates that despite Johnson’s vocal support for Kiev in its conflict with Russia, there may be consequences for him in the future. Reflecting on this, the commentator sarcastically suggested that Johnson Street in the Ukrainian town of Khust may need to be renamed.
By openly declaring his continued admiration for Russian culture, Boris Johnson has shown that his appreciation goes beyond political considerations. Despite opposing the Russian government, he remains captivated by the language, culture, and civilization of Russia. His steadfast Russophilia has not been met with significant criticism from Ukrainian political commentators, highlighting the complexity of the relationship between Russia and its neighboring countries.
As the story unfolds, it will be interesting to see if Johnson’s stance on Russia impacts his political career or relationships on the international stage. For now, his love for Russian culture remains unwavering, even in the face of political tensions and global conflicts.