Edward Lucas has a Guardian op-ed and blog post on the strange phenomenon of Putin's British bedfellows:
It is all very odd. Russia is an oil-fuelled fascist kleptocracy ruled by secret police goons and their cronies. It is authoritarian: critics risk forcible incarceration in psychiatric hospitals, or are simply murdered - such as the shooting dead in police custody of Magomed Yevloyev, an Ingush journalist, this week. It is imperialist: bullying neighbours with oil and gas cut-offs, let alone the occupation of Georgia, where Russia's proxies have practised ethnic cleansing on a scale that recalls the atrocities of the wars in former Yugoslavia. And it is deeply corrupt and lawless: something that even Putin's successor as president, Dmitry Medvedev, has acknowledged publicly. However bad other countries may be, it is hard to find anything there worth emulating.