'Guys, cool it'


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

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7 Responses to 'Guys, cool it'

  1. yalensis says:

    Okay, these people probably are actual Russian moles. And they were captured by American FBI. So that’s a significant defeat for Russia. On the other hand, Americans have not expelled any Russian diplomats (yet). If they do, then Russia will have to respond tit-for-tat, and then BOOM Big Cold War spy scandal and forget about Senate ratifying WTO or repealing Jackson-Vanik. So Russians obviously hope the fallout will subside in gales of laughter, with just tactical set-back for Russia but no big blow-up. Russian leaders obviously believe that they can achieve something important via strategic detente with U.S. I disagree, but they (especially Putin) are no doubt wiser than me!

  2. kingsleyzissou says:

    There is no substitute for good leadership…

  3. andylevinson says:

    Would anyone be surprised to learn Obama is part of a russian commie cell? or maybe a muslim cell?

    Well, Obama, pelosi, reid, frank…all act like enemies of the republic

    • yalensis says:

      There, there. (In soothing voice.) Calm yourself down, my little “pindos” friend. The moon men aren’t coming to get you … just yet…

  4. Pingback: Russia to Barack Obama: forget the spy row – The Australian

  5. timcote7 says:

    Smoke and mirrors kids, let’s all focus on pretty spies and cloak and dagger politicians across the world; pay no attention to the man behind the American flag who still has us in Iraq, and is selling our republic down the river.

  6. Ms. Ioffe,

    Despite your headline, you do not actually tell us “why” the Russians are mum. You do explain that at the highest levels, the word went out to down play the whole business. You do explain how the word went out, when and where. However there is no “почему”. Are they embarrassed by the amateur nature of the operation? Was it some rogue operation? Do they desperately want good relations with the US right now and don’t want this brouhaha to jeopardize that? Do they think the whole thing is a set-up to intentionally worse US-Russian relations?

    What is also confusing is that not only have the so called spies not been charged with espionage, at least based on what has been released, they do not to have appeared to have engaged in any espionage. They do not seem to have obtained any classified information, bribed anyone, or done any of the thing one would associate with a spy. They seemed to have been living under false pretenses and taking money from the Russian SVR but that not the same as being a spy. (They are actually charged with money laundering?!)

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