Russia’s Youth Gives Obama an Icy Reception

We had heard some warnings that Obama’s brand of flattering speeches would find a rare cold audience in Russia – polls indicated that more Russian people held a negative or indifferent opinion about the new president than almost anywhere else.  Given that even in Cairo audiences were relatively won over, there is a lesson here:  the millions spent on anti-American propaganda, which I assume is more than any other nation, is proving to be well worthwhile and effective.  It has also been noted that the Kremlin declined to broadcast any of Obama’s speeches on television (“Even if the tone has changed from the past, it may take another generation in Moscow to want to hear it.“)

From the Financial Times:

And he tried to inspire his young listeners. “What kind of future is Russia going to have? What kind of future are Russia and America going to have together? What kind of world order will replace the cold war? Those questions still don’t have answers, and so now they must be answered by you – by your generation in Russia, in America and around the world,” he said.

But most were having none of it. Their professors later suggested that it might have been the effect of anti-US propaganda, a lack of openness in Russia to outside influences or even the early morning start to the event held at the Gostinny Dvor, a converted 18th century market.

Whatever the reasons, Mr Obama’s listeners were cautious. “He didn’t impress me,” said Alexander Ivanov, an internet company executive. “I thought he said only what he wanted to say. He doesn’t want confrontation between the US and Russia. But it exists. Both sides are to blame.”