The Ambassador and His Twitter Account
Relying upon the unfettered ego of public figures and the sense of anonymity offered by the internet, the online messaging system Twitter is proving itself a valuable, if sometimes disconcerting, means of gathering insight into the psyche of powerful people, and even of governments themselves. This is especially true where Russia is concerned.
Russia's ambassador to NATO, the rabid nationalist Dmitri Rogozin, for instance, maintains a Twitter blog which he inundates with stream-of-consciousness missives, sometimes while present at NATO security meetings in lieu of paying attention. He vacillates between Russian and English, sometimes translating the Russian material for his English readers (he has around three thousand Twitter "followers").
http://adresno.ru/lash Американцы и их союзники вновь хотят обложить берлогу русского медведя? Сколько раз нужно напоминать, насколько это опасно!? Медведь вылезет и надерет задницу этим горе-охотникам.
Americans and their allies want to surround Russian bear's den? http://adresno.ru/lash How many times should it be reminded how dangerous it is! The bear will come out and beat up those miserable hunters!
Я несколько раз приглашал коллег и друзей из СРН на охоту в РФ, но в ответ все только улыбаются. Я знаю, почему :) http://adresno.ru/71r2N
I'll confess. I suggested many times that my colleagues and friends from the NRC go hunting to Russia, but they only smile back in response. I know why :) http://adresno.ru/qOZR0 'Russian Bear Will Kick American Ass'
Writing for The Telegraph, James Corum, a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and Dean of the Baltic Defence College in Estonia, states: "Russian foreign policy is based on a truly weird combination of nostalgia for the old Soviet Union and the imperialism of the Tsarist Empire. One of the strangest aspects of the new Russian ideology is the revival of the old Tsarist symbols to include the double-headed Romanov Eagle -- complete with crown -- displayed on official buildings and in the Russian parliament." At the same time, of course, when Russia wins gold at the Vancouver Olympiad, spectators will hear the music of the Soviet national anthem, written to glorify Josef Stalin, and the country is ruled by proud KGB spy Vladimir Putin.
When scholars need to use words like "weird" in mainstream papers like The Telegraph to describe Russian foreign policy, you know things are getting pretty extreme. But reading the comments of Russia's "ambassador" to NATO, one must wonder if Corum was being blunt enough.
Indeed, the issue is not limited to Putin's underlings. Putin himself routinely uses the same coarse rhetoric of the street tough in his own declarations, even joking in front of journalists about the rape charges leveled at the President of Israel. Seeing his example, Rogozin himself may be worrying that he isn't going far enough with his verbal fisticuffs.
Meanwhile, America is offering no reason for Russians to reconsider their aggressive posturing. Barack Obama is accused by Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov of "going wobbly" on Putin, and for good reason. Obama's first visit to Moscow conveyed hapless weakness on issues like human rights and Russian imperialist aggression, and since then, we have seen the clear results of his neo-appeasement strategy. Russia has become only more aggressive.
If Rogozin's tweeting is any indication, then there's a great deal more to come.