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What Russian Experts Are Saying About The Spy Scandal

Nikolai Leyonov, deputy head of the first board of the KGB, quoted in "Izvestia."

“The central goal of the mission was Barack Obama.… Obama is a cultured, educated man, who is able to really revive the former image of the United States. But in that light, a lot of people want to return American politics to a more 'Bush'-driven path, and suspend the reset.”

Mikhail Grishankov, a former FSB agent, quoted in "Izvestia."

“Either it is the work of people who oppose warmer relations with Russia, or it is a definitive sign to Obama that he is not going to be the one deciding the direction of the relationship between the United States and Moscow.”

Editorial in "Vedomosti."

“Let’s talk about the parallels between politics and undercover agents. Not once, since the fall of the USSR, has there been a serious spy scandal between Washington and Moscow. There was the arrest of Soviet spy Aldrich Ames in 1994 followed by the arrest of his accomplice FBI agent Robert Hanson in 2002 -- these didn’t cause a rift in relations between the two governments. The FBI periodically uncovers Chinese secret agents, Israeli secret agents, and the political and economic relations between the countries is unaffected.”

Yevgeny Minchenko, the director of the International Institute of Political Expertise, quoted in

“It’s a mess. Collecting political information, money laundering….They have charged the detainees with participating in political processes and attempts to exert influence on them. Any Western political scientist, who visits Russia, can be charged with the same thing.… Most likely, this scandal was masterminded inside the United States and does not have any Russian trace in it whatsoever.”

Aleksandr Khramchikhin, deputy director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis, quoted in "Pravda."

“It goes without saying that Russia, like other countries, conducts intelligence activities in other states. This episode is somewhat different. The Republicans are struggling against Obama, and I am sure that he will be destroyed before his presidency expires. Russia plays an auxiliary role in this scandal. Obama’s adversaries use 'goddamn Russians' to settle scores with him. The Russians do not pose any interest for them."

Sergei Markov, director of the Institute of Political Studies, quoted in
"Komsomolskaya Pravda."

“This scandal is a completely normal process of events, and it won’t affect American-Russian relations at all. There will be some noise in the press, some American diplomats will be sent back to the United States. That’s it. It’s like two gentleman playing tennis against each other.”

-- Ashley Cleek

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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