World Press review on Russia’s anti-American fever and speculations on Russian espionage (March 9, 2015).
The Washington Post published an article titled 'Russia’s anti-American fever goes beyond the Soviet era’s'. The author follows the anti-American mood in present-day Russia and concludes that at the time of Cold War it has been less ardent. “After a year in which furious rhetoric has been pumped across Russian airwaves, anger toward the United States is at its worst since opinion polls began tracking it. From ordinary street vendors all the way up to the Kremlin, a wave of anti-U.S. bile has swept the country, surpassing any time since the Stalin era. The indignation peaked after the assassination of Boris Nemtsov, as conspiracy theories started to swirl. The anti-Western anger stands to grow even stronger if President Obama decides to send lethal weaponry to the Ukrainian military, as he has been considering. But even some of Putin’s toughest critics say they cannot support that proposal, since the cost is the lives of their nation’s soldiers,” states the article. Following the crisis in Ukraine, anti-Americanism has spread even among those who had previously been visiting the USA often, the author notes. Many Russians felt that trying to take an example from the West means only deprivation and humiliation. Anti-Americanism also prevents the spread of American culture through film, music and education. “Even McDonald’s, long an embodiment of Russian dreams about the West, was targeted for supposed health violations in the fall. Some of its most prominent locations were forced to shut down temporarily. When they reopened, McDonald’s started an advertising campaign emphasizing its local ties and its 25-year history in Russia. Last week, one McDonald’s billboard in the heart of Moscow read: “Made in Russia, for Russians,” the author writes.
The New York Times added to the discussion on the Ukrainian crisis and its consequences with an article entitled 'European Official Not Ready to Stiffen Russia Sanctions'. The article is based on an interview with Donald Tusk, former Polish Prime Minister and current president of the European Council, who is going to meet with President Obama in Washington. “Tusk said in an interview that Europe was not yet ready to further tighten sanctions against Russia despite continuing provocations by President Vladimir V. Putin. But he said he was eager for Europe to take a more robust stance alongside the United States in countering Russian efforts to redraw the borders of Ukraine, in dealing with chaos in countries like Libya, and in confronting the threat of jihadist violence,” reports the article. The newspaper notes that Tusk is more like a "hawk" in relation to Russia than many European leaders. Tusk is strongly concerned that few Europeans "today are able to think about the possibility of hot conflict or war." Tusk laughed at Russian allegations that the crisis in Ukraine is designed by the West. “I have no doubts who is the victim and who is the aggressor in this part of the world,” he said. “Personally, I would want maybe more engagement for Ukraine,” the New York Times cites Tusk.
British media the Sunday Times reports 'MI6 alert as Russia targets UK spies'. The newspaper states that it has obtained a leaked memo sent to staff and former employees of the Secret Intelligence Service with 'an unprecedented warning that Russian intelligence is targeting the businesses and families of British spies and former agents in the most aggressive Kremlin-backed espionage offensive since the Cold War. The newspaper states that MI6 warns British citizens against travelling to Russia or China. The newspaper cites some quotes from the document: "Russian services continue to be more active and try to reach to current and former employees of Her Majesty's Government." According to the newspaper, Russian spies also monitor the EU institutions in Brussels through intelligence officers from Bulgaria and Romania.
The Sunday Times adds to the topic with an article 'London beware. Putin sees it all'. "We know that at least half of Russian embassy employees were involved in intelligence activities," reports the author. Informants are most interested in Russian inhabitants of London. "Enemy Number One" is, of course, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is trying to create a "government in exile". "Intelligence agents penetrated his closest circle at all levels. The second most important activity of Russian intelligence is surveillance of British elite," the author believes. Russian secret services also try to seduce Western experts, promising them insider information from Russian officials.