The Nobel Peace Prize for Julian Assange? The Russians think so

It has been an interesting week for U.S.-Russian relations. Earlier this week U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle told The Moscow Times that he was “heartened” by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s reaction to the WikiLeaks controversy as he maintained that actions rather than words were the basis for improved relations.

On Wednesday an unidentified Russian official in President Medvedev’s administration said of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange “Public and nongovernmental organizations should think about how to help him. Maybe by nominating him for the Nobel prize.”
 
Medvedev’s spokeswoman Natalya Timakova later said that the comment had been just “a joke.”
 
But the suggestion fueled speculation that the government is deeply offended by the language in the cables, including one dispatch that said Medvedev is playing Robin to Putin’s Batman.
 
Several mid-level Russian officials responded to Assange’s arrest by speculating that the charges may have been fabricated by U.S. officials who were looking for a way to have Assange detained.
 
State Duma Deputy Gennady Gudkov said “The real reason for his arrest is to find out by any means who leaked the confidential diplomatic information to him and how.”
 
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin assailed Washington on Thursday for comments in diplomatic cables released by the WikiLeaks group, raising fresh doubts about the revelations’ effect on U.S.-Russian relations.
 
“Do you think the American diplomatic service is a crystal clear resource of information? Do you think so? Putin said when asked about the cables at a news conference with visiting French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.
 
Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton are still hoping that the U.S. Senate will ratify the New START treaty with Russia amid the turmoil of the WikiLeaks revelations and Mr. Putin’s threats to engage in an arms race. Still as Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed to the U.S. Ambassador, actions not words are the basis for relations between the two nations.
 
Meanwhile Pravda reports that this week’s joint military exercises (Keen Sword) between the U.S. and Japan were temporarily halted when two IL-38 anti-submarine aircraft from Russia’s Pacific Fleet were sighted near the training area.
 
Particular dissatisfaction in the regard was expressed by the Japanese side that stated that the appearance of the Russian aircraft in the immediate vicinity of the exercise (Noto Peninsula) was “unprecedented.’
 
The Russians said that these were scheduled flights and did not violate any international rules, however Konstantin Sivkov, the senior vice-president of the Academy of Geoploitical Issues said that U.S. and Japanese fears that the Russians could learn their military secrets are not unfounded. According to Sivkov, the IL-38 is not only designed to fight submarines, but also has sophisticated information gathering technology.
 
The Obama-Clinton “reset” with Russia sure is paying dividends.
 
December 10, 2010
 
paboehmke@yahoo.com
It has been an interesting week for U.S.-Russian relations. Earlier this week U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle told The Moscow Times that he was “heartened” by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s reaction to the WikiLeaks controversy as he maintained that actions rather than words were the basis for improved relations.

On Wednesday an unidentified Russian official in President Medvedev’s administration said of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange “Public and nongovernmental organizations should think about how to help him. Maybe by nominating him for the Nobel prize.”
 
Medvedev’s spokeswoman Natalya Timakova later said that the comment had been just “a joke.”
 
But the suggestion fueled speculation that the government is deeply offended by the language in the cables, including one dispatch that said Medvedev is playing Robin to Putin’s Batman.
 
Several mid-level Russian officials responded to Assange’s arrest by speculating that the charges may have been fabricated by U.S. officials who were looking for a way to have Assange detained.
 
State Duma Deputy Gennady Gudkov said “The real reason for his arrest is to find out by any means who leaked the confidential diplomatic information to him and how.”
 
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin assailed Washington on Thursday for comments in diplomatic cables released by the WikiLeaks group, raising fresh doubts about the revelations’ effect on U.S.-Russian relations.
 
“Do you think the American diplomatic service is a crystal clear resource of information? Do you think so? Putin said when asked about the cables at a news conference with visiting French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.
 
Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton are still hoping that the U.S. Senate will ratify the New START treaty with Russia amid the turmoil of the WikiLeaks revelations and Mr. Putin’s threats to engage in an arms race. Still as Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed to the U.S. Ambassador, actions not words are the basis for relations between the two nations.
 
Meanwhile Pravda reports that this week’s joint military exercises (Keen Sword) between the U.S. and Japan were temporarily halted when two IL-38 anti-submarine aircraft from Russia’s Pacific Fleet were sighted near the training area.
 
Particular dissatisfaction in the regard was expressed by the Japanese side that stated that the appearance of the Russian aircraft in the immediate vicinity of the exercise (Noto Peninsula) was “unprecedented.’
 
The Russians said that these were scheduled flights and did not violate any international rules, however Konstantin Sivkov, the senior vice-president of the Academy of Geoploitical Issues said that U.S. and Japanese fears that the Russians could learn their military secrets are not unfounded. According to Sivkov, the IL-38 is not only designed to fight submarines, but also has sophisticated information gathering technology.
 
The Obama-Clinton “reset” with Russia sure is paying dividends.
 
December 10, 2010
 
paboehmke@yahoo.com

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