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Russians “Greatly Disappointed” by Obama’s Stance?

It seems that strong US foreign policy rhetoric regarding Russia is not finding itself well received. A reporter at Russian newspaper Kommersant believes that Russians observing the US election debates this week would likely have been “greatly disappointed” by Barack Obama’s most recent stance. When questioned about his stance on Russia during a television debate, Obama criticized the Bush administration for being “too soft with Russia”, and said: “Just think back to the beginning of President Bush’s administration when he said — you know, he met with Putin, looked into his eyes and saw his soul, and figured he could do business with him. He then proceeded to neglect our relationship with Russia at a time when Putin was strangling any opposition in the country when he was consolidating power.”

The article takes greatest offense at what it perceives as the sleight to Vladimir Putin, and sees Obama “ridiculing” George Bush’s 2001 statement about seeing Vladimir Putin’s “soul” at their first meeting. Kommersant says that, in “style and content”, the statement “resembled the notorious statement by Arizona Senator John McCain, who also tried to ridicule Bush’s utterance about the soul he saw in Putin’s eyes.”The article quotes Dmitry Medvedev as having said that, of all the US presidential candidates, Obama would be the “easier” one to work with, and also makes positive reference to the more temperate statements made by the director of US National Intelligence, Michael McConnell, who said, “We regard with optimism the prospects of Russia’s closer integration with Europe, and hope to see a somewhat different situation over time.”Read the full article here.