So, there's a Conservative Friends of Russia.
Britain is in a difficult economic state and should be looking to remove barriers to trade and employment, particularly with a country bursting with natural resources. Currently, many businesses are struggling to trade because of visa complications that could be easily resolved by politicians, but few are prepared to sit down and listen to businessmen trading with Russia. We provide a forum to enable that engagement and to amplify the voices of the unheard.
Ah, the voice of business. That's what's missing from wider public discourse, too, the voice of business forever droning on about how wonderful it is and complaining that nobody loves it. If the Syrian rebels dropped all this are they-aren't they stuff about Islamism and told us they were a bit like Tesco, we'd be invading on their behalf tomorrow.
Having said that, the Voice of Doing Business with Russia could tell us some interesting things, like where to get good bulletproof vests, how to conceal diamonds for transport across borders without enduring rectal irritation and which cube in a suit is the actual businessman and which are merely his bodyguards. So yeah: educational.
Mr Conservative Friend of Russia tells us that he's will not be Putin's stooge. Maybe: but governments have ways of manipluating sincere enthusiasm for dialogue. The chair of the all-party China Committee during the eighties was a Tory MP called Robert Ardrey (as I recall the name) whose enthusiasm for China was inextricably involved with his devotion to steam railway, and may indeed have been inspired by it (obviously, this was back in the pre-high speed train era) So he would go to China and ride around on choo-choos for a while, and then he would be told what his hosts wanted him to hear. He would be left with the impression that greater openness and friendship between our two great nations would lead to more opportunities for pretending to be a stoker and having a go at the big whistle. Happy days.