Pesky lot, the Russians. Just as you're starting to feel some sympathy, they kick you in the teeth. A TV documentary on Putin the other night featured a contrite Jack Straw, saying that the West had misread the risings in Georgia and Ukraine, and contributed to Putin's paranoia by trying to hijack local resistance into an East/West split. Absolutely right, and you can see the defensive "us against the world" syndrome clicking in all the time. On the other hand, the doping stuff is totally unacceptable, and has to be fought every inch of the way. ditto Litvinenko. And ditto - it seems very likely - Sunday's nerve agent attack on Skripal and his daughter. Easy to predict the rhetoric and the outrage. Much harder to say what we'll actually do. Having a few officials not turn up to the world Cup won't make a blind bit of difference. boycotting it - and getting other European nations to do the same - would seriously injure Russian prestige, but it's not going to happen.