CARMEL Townsend seemingly wants us to believe that the Russian state machine is, since the demise of communism, the vanguard of the free world and the freedom of the media, and that which we in the West seem to lack.

Politicians from all systems East and West tell lies, and under communism, provided they followed the party line, the state machine ensured any dissension was dealt with, often with death.

It seems that following the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian political machine is just as intolerant of dissent as their former Soviet counterparts.

I cannot remember the last time that a dissident voice opposing the West was murdered, although I am sure that the US would like to get hold of Edward Snowden and put him on trial for treason.

Propaganda from either side of the divide is rife, but at least In the West the truth is easier to establish, given the freedom of the press, but Putin was once a senior member of the KGB, an infamous Soviet murdering machine and leopards cannot change their spots.

A Bond, Tramway Close, Cwmbran