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Some Russian responses

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  • Greg Cannon
    Remarks like this strike me as unwise at a time the Bush administration is trying to get Russia to vote for sanctions against Iran.
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4 4:49 PM
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      Remarks like this strike me as unwise at a time the
      Bush administration is trying to get Russia to vote
      for sanctions against Iran.

      http://www.moscowtimes.ru/stories/2006/05/05/001.html

      The Kremlin denounced Cheney's criticism Thursday.
      Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Cheney's
      comments "highly subjective" and said the Kremlin
      regarded them as "completely incomprehensible."

      Peskov said Cheney was applying a double standard with
      regard to Russia's growing international influence as
      an energy provider.

      "In essence, it seems that when we're talking about
      U.S. or British energy companies, it's considered
      business, but when he talks about us, it's
      'intimidation,'" Peskov said by telephone Thursday.

      "The [U.S.] vice president isn't taking into account
      that Russian energy resources are the wealth of Russia
      itself. They should be used above all to advance the
      interests of the Russian people, not the interests of
      other countries," Peskov said.

      Several Duma deputies joined the anti-Cheney chorus
      Thursday evening.

      Ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party leader
      Vladimir Zhirinovsky said Cheney was "spreading
      utterly false accusations," while Leonid Slutsky, the
      first deputy chairman of the Duma's International
      Affairs Committee, called the speech "ill-prepared and
      unprofessional," Interfax reported.

      Energy has become a sensitive topic this year, with
      Russia serving as president of the G8 and oil prices
      at record highs. President Vladimir Putin has made
      energy security the centerpiece of his G8 presidency.

      During a summit in Tomsk last week with German
      Chancellor Angela Merkel, Putin responded angrily to
      suggestions Russia was using its vast oil and gas
      resources as a political weapon.

      "We can hardly agree with his assessments," Peskov
      said of Cheney. "There has never been, nor will there
      ever be, a single standard of democracy for every
      country."

      Peskov, perhaps unwittingly, echoed Cheney, who said
      in his speech: "There is no single model of democracy;
      our systems vary according to the unique traditions of
      our countries, the languages we speak and the events
      and the heroes of our history."

      Analysts said Cheney's harsh words were intended
      largely to appease domestic critics of U.S. President
      George W. Bush, including many from his own party, who
      charge that he is ignoring anti-democratic trends in
      Russia.

      Vyacheslav Nikonov, a political analyst with Kremlin
      ties, said the speech was largely intended for a U.S.
      audience. Viktor Kremenyuk, assistant director of the
      Institute of the United States and Canada, a Moscow
      think tank, added that Russian officials understood
      there were different factions within the
      administration and that Cheney represented the
      hard-line camp. Still, Kremenyuk said, Cheney would
      not have been allowed to say what he did unless the
      president wanted those opinions aired.

      Kremenyuk's assessment was echoed by former Security
      Council Secretary Andrei Kokoshin, who said Russia was
      pursuing a foreign policy dictated by national
      interest, Interfax said.

      Asked how tensions between Russia and the United
      States would be resolved, Nikonov sounded an ominous
      note. "Once an escalation like this starts," he said,
      "there's no telling where it will end."
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