Author Archives: James Willsher

About James Willsher

Newspaper and magazine reporter since 2004, has freelanced in Russia and Central Asia, and does local government PR. Likes green tea and interviewing people / places. Phil Garrett was a pen name. @JGWillsher jamesgwillsher@hotmail.co.uk

The British brand that conquered the world, but which is almost unknown in the UK

If you’re a Brit overseas it’s likely that at some point you’ve had a cup of Lipton tea, prominently available everywhere from America to Europe to Asia. It’s the world’s best-selling tea brand, and you may or may not be … Continue reading

Posted in Sri Lanka, UK, United States of America | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

William Dalrymple book launch: Return of a King

When NATO forces leave Afghanistan next year, India, Pakistan and even China could make it a theatre for their own proxy wars and interests, bestselling historian William Dalrymple told a London audience, based on researches for his most recent book. … Continue reading

Posted in Afghanistan, Central Asia, London | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia and Ukraine: how social media is the new espionage, finance, recruiter, propaganda and weaponry of modern warfare

Both sides in the Russia-Ukraine conflict are using civilian populations as a military resource to fund, hack, spy, spread propaganda and enlist through social networks, a Kensington audience heard. Gregory Asmolov, a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics, … Continue reading

Posted in London, Russia, Ukraine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

By-line in China

A feature I wrote on the cultural history of Georgia and Armenia was published in the international Chinese edition of Travel and Leisure Magazine in June, 2015, through some contacts at the excellent Maximum Exposure Productions. Nice to be published in … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, China, Georgia | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russophobia Today, recolonisation, and David Lynch’s Dune: history repeats itself (again) in new Afghanistan spymaster biography

The controversial former British ambassador to Uzbekistan has warned that Russia and the West keep rehearsing the same parts they’ve played for the past 200 years; and that a famous portrait of a legendary British secret agent in Afghanistan isn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Afghanistan, Central Asia, London, Russia, UK, Ukraine, Uzbekistan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Dagestan, Game of Thrones, and a Gorbachev adviser: a Russian afternoon in London

Russia has its own Commonwealth, administered by the Rossotrudnichestvo state agency, with a UK office just off Kensington High Street. Upstairs to the first floor, through a door and a group are registering with a young woman and a laptop. … Continue reading

Posted in London, Russia, UK | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Essential writing from Central Asia: part two

Claridge’s, a winter evening. Within, I am directed down a bright, pristine corridor. There are liveried staff everywhere: smiling helpfully, welcoming reverently, enquiring politely what my business is in this establishment. I tell them, and receive a court bow, indicating … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Kazakhstan | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment