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Russia’s Discomfort with a Popular American President

Some Russians seem to think that clandestine, byzantine networks of Republican elites control Washington like the siloviki run Russia.  From Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post:

Yet there was another, more negative category of foreign response to Obama’s inauguration that is worth noting, not so much because of what it tells us about our new president but because of what it reveals about those making the comments. A number of international observers eschewed the general adulation and concluded, simply, that the entire event — the election, the inauguration — was a hoax.

Look, for a typical example, at Pravda.ru, the Russian Web site that succeeded the organ of the Soviet Communist Party. Writing in the spirit of times past, one of its authors informed readers last week that Obama’s presidency was a sham. After all, he “became the president because one needed a scapegoat during hard times of the crisis,” and he will not last: “If Obama does not manage to extricate the nation from the crisis in two or three years, the Republicans will unveil their real candidate, and Obama’s presidency will finish earlier than expected.” The U.S. president, in other words, is merely a placeholder — a description that makes him sound remarkably similar to the president of Russia.