02 December 2010

Lifting The Diplomatic Veil

True to its mission, Wikileaks recently posted over 250,000 secret US diplomatic cables for worldwide consumption.  Several newspapers, including The New York Times and The Guardian, simultaneously published some of these leaks earlier this week and continue to do so as they digest the massive set of documents.

These action drove the US government crazy as their diplomatic veil was lifted and much of US's publicly unstated opinion about other countries and leaders was exposed.  Mr. Putin is also upset by this, but probably for different reasons.

Russia was, of course, a subject of the cables.  The New York Times has excellent coverage of these Russian-related cables in an article titled "Below Surface, U.S. Has Dim View of Putin and Russia." Basically, the wires describe what appears to be a fairly accurate view of the current state of the Russian government, namely a quasi-mafia state with rampant corruption and an out-of-control bureaucracy that benefits those in power while undermining them at the same time.

In this blog, I have written about or hinted at much of what the diplomatic cables back to Washington covered.  Per my estimation, most Russians would accept what is conveyed by these wires as well-known facts that are best not discussed or debated publicly.

Mr. Putin voiced his diplomatic disapproval about the leaked reports on CNN's Larry King Live, albeit a New York Times article (see "Blunt and Blustery, Putin Responds to State Department Cables on Russia") implies a much sharper rebuke by Mr. Putin than what appeared on TV.

One of the more interesting quotes from Mr. Putin during the interview was "I would also like to advise you not to interfere with the sovereign choice of the Russian people." I read the leaked diplomatic cables as descriptive documents rather than designs of interference by the US government into Russian internal affairs. However, were I to be placed in Mr. Putin's position, I would chose exactly the same words.

1 comment:

  1. The vast majority of Russians (who rely on TV only for news coverage) will never learn that there was anything at all about Russia in the Wikileaks documents. I watched incidentally the news on the central stations and it was a classic Putin TV news : leaks about Iran, Italy, Germany and so forth, comments of the foreign minister and other officials about the leaks but not a word that there was anything about Russia. This is the case on TV since Putin came to power. There is this TV world in which Russia is making steady progress under the audacious leadership of the great leader never mind the bad West and Georgia. It is about the 10th year of complete TV brainwashing. Even though there is a relative freedom of speech in the press and complete freedom over the Internet, TV in Russia is completely controlled and censored (there are some small regional channels like RenTV, which are allowed a bit more but that's about it).