Sunday, February 5, 2012

Kremlin Calls Protesters Puppets of the US

MOSCOW—With Russians defying sub-zero cold over the weekend to demonstrate for unfettered elections, the Kremlin is employing a familiar tool—anti-Americanism—to defuse support for opposition leaders, casting them as puppets of the U.S.'s CIA and State Department.

The question now, though, is whether the tactic could backfire among the millions of Russians who in recent years have come to identify themselves as pro-Western in their thinking, and who get their news from Internet websites instead of state-controlled television.

The Kremlin's line—proffered by high officials and television programming beamed over state-run channels—will certainly continue until elections March 4, when Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is hoping to officially return to power, Kremlin watchers say.

That will continue to muddle U.S. efforts to isolate Syria in the U.N., where Russia joined China in vetoing a resolution over the weekend calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step aside, saying the resolution was biased, illegal and would promote "regime change." Read More