As the onion of the spy scandal sheds more layers back in the States, Russia can only watch and see what pearls it holds.
Today, though, we have an interesting nugget of information from Center. Russian Newsweek, a stand-out publication that gets amazing stuff out of some incredibly well-placed people, has published a story on what was behind the initial Russian brush-off of the Russian spies.
Citing an unnamed Kremlin source, Newsweek writes that Medvedev will not react to the spy scandal until Obama does. This is in line with the warm letter Medvedev sent the American president in honor of July 4th, in which he wrote that any attempts “to undermine the significance of our achievements and to hamper our consistent work in a spirit of partnership” were “groundless and dead-ended.”
Newsweek also reports, citing the same source, that an order came down from the Kremlin to the heads of the television networks (who meet with Kremlin strategist Vladislav Surkov weekly to set the agenda) to spin the story in a tongue-in-cheek tone, and downplay the allegations that The Illegals were actually spies since they weren’t actually charged with espionage. (The back-up plan, apparently, is a harsh indictment of the charges…through the feckless State Duma.)
Of the unusually calm reaction on the Russian side, one former Russian intelligence officer told Newsweek, “This time, everyone is keeping quiet, even though there is a huge amount of people who want to play the anti-American card,” he said. “And they would have done it had there not been a command from the very top: ‘Guys, cool it.’”
via Russian Newsweek