YOUR correspondents David Crawford and Isobel Lindsay (Letters, July 23) have given us the voice of reason in a period of unbelievable anti-Russian hysteria. In order to add some verifiable information which will also point out the complete hypocrisy of the Western position, let me remind you of the Time Magazine edition of July 15, 1996, whose front page (sub)headline was: "The secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin win”. Inside: "How four US advisers used polls, focus groups, negative ads and all the other techniques of American campaigning to help Boris Yeltsin win."

Yeltsin was elected on June 12, 1991 and by the year end the Soviet Union had collapsed; what followed was the plundering of Russian/Soviet assets by western (or western-backed) interests, the creation of billionaire oligarchs, a severe economic crisis and a catastrophic fall in living standards in post-Soviet states.

All this information, and much more, is freely available online and in many histories. So when American or British governments (and media) rail against the appalling Russians, just remember: (a) we did it to them first, (b) they have no reason to love us and (c) treat everything that you read or hear about Russia (and China) with extreme scepticism.

If the hysteria continues against both countries we run the real risk of a major war. To put this into context, consider Christopher Clark's excellent book The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914. We are in danger of making the same mistakes but in the nuclear age.

Both Britain and America have a lack of competence in their heads of government and a crisis of quality in (most of) their politicians; so be afraid – be very afraid, but not of the Russians.

Paul Scott, Edinburgh EH3.

NICOLA Sturgeon claims that the UK Government has been "negligent" in preventing Russian interference. But if Scotland ever became independent there would be celebrations in Moscow as the UK's system of defence would be cracked open. That wouldn't be negligence, it would treason.

SNP MP Stewart Hosie has spent all his political life working to break up the United Kingdom. Why then is he trusted to be a member of the UK's Intelligence and Security Committee, whose purpose is to keep the UK safe? Mr Hosie doesn't want to keep the UK safe, he wants to destroy it.

And what about former First Minister Alex Salmond, who has taken roubles to appear on Russia Today with his own show, and platformed senior SNP politicians to monster the UK Government? Is he attracted to Russia's extreme nationalists who are waiting in the wings should Vladimir Putin fail?

William Loneskie, Lauder.

THE EU may deplore many of the political decisions taken by Russia and China, but I doubt if it will let that jeopardise their lucrative trade with these countries. Not us. We bask on the moral high ground, making me fear for our future economic prosperity and long-term safety as alliances shift.

Iris Clyde, Kirkwall.