When playing in the big leagues, you must expect the ‘big dogs’ to bark back at you.
But, England was not expecting the Russians to call them a little island. And they should be right.
England is a tiny island.
Yes, I know the BBC wrote an article about how big Great Britain is. But, England is much smaller than Great Britain. Only about half the size.
And it is no wonder that Russia would make such a statement. 100 years ago, The British Empire was the center of the largest empire in history. (source).
It must really hurt your feelings to go from the largest in history back to a small group of islands.
And I think that contrast would really push the Russian ego a little bit.
Wouldn’t you think so?
PS The CommonWealth is still HUGE. Maybe even bigger than the Empire was? At least in population and wealth it is much larger.