The “Russian spyware” story shows us that if the political will exists, we can solve any problem in the relations between Russia and the United States…
The loud brouhaha exposing “Russian spies” that burst forth like a bolt from the blue shortly after the official visit of the Russian President to the USA, has finally reached its last act. The ten accused Russian spies arrived in Moscow. Earlier, a special flight took them to Vienna, where they were exchanged for four persons serving sentences in Russian prisons, who were pardoned by a decree of President Medvedev the day before. The spy scandal between Russia and America is over. An Emercom Yak-42D airliner, with the ten Russians deported from the USA for illegal activities aboard, landed at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, according to the airport’s online record. At 12.40 CET (14.40 MSK 11.40 UTC 06.40 EDT 03.40 PDT) the Emercom plane took off from Vienna Schwechat Airport for Moscow, after having arrived in Vienna at 11.15 CET (13.15 MSK 10.15 UTC 05.15 EDT 02.15 PDT). A few minutes after it landed, an American airliner arrived. Both aircraft taxied to a spot on the outskirts of the airport in close proximity to each other. The Russians who arrived from the USA did not go through passport control, there was virtually no intervention from the local Austrian authorities, and they went directly from the American craft to the Russian one and flew home.
One of the Russians deported to the United States was scientist Igor Sutyagin, convicted of treason and given a 15-year sentence; he was a former members of the GRU and the SVR, and even a manger of the security service of the TV channel NTV Plus. They appealed to the President for a pardon; in return, they fully admitted their guilt in past crimes, namely, spying for the USA. However, the actual identities of the Russians arrested for spying in America will probably remain a mystery. At least, they were not formally charged with espionage and they were not convicted of conspiracy to work as illegal agents in favour of Russia. For greater effectiveness in their task, the so-called agents assimilated as normal Americans, held routine jobs, and had ordinary family lives. Under their agreement with the court, the defendants admitted that they used aliases, and revealed their true names. Each of them also agreed to immediate deportation from the United States.
Despite this spy game, Russia and America intend to continue the constructive dialogue that has existed between them in recent years. In this case, of course, both sides looked after their own interests zealously. According to political expert Dmitri Suslov, “Both parties made every effort to depoliticise this most unpleasant situation. Moscow and Washington were interested to see that there was a prompt exchange between the sides to stop the spy scandal. Today, neither the Russian nor the American side is interested in a deterioration of relations. This scandal would adversely affect these relationships. To prevent this, the parties resorted to a fast-track scheme. After all, a constructive relationship with Russia is essential for the USA if it is to deal effectively with its most important international problems, such as Iran, Afghanistan, and the reduction of nuclear weapons”.
However, in recent statements, the Americans began to make moralising noises. For instance, White House spokesman Ram Emanuel said that what happened with the Russians would send a “clear signal” to foreign governments what awaits their nationals if they engage in espionage against the United States. An American official, who spoke via teleconference on condition of anonymity, called the presence of active Russian agents an “echo of the past”. However, it is obvious that neither the USA nor Russia nor any other country will give up a Foreign Intelligence Service as an institution of the state, no matter what ideological clichés are bandied about in the world community. Perhaps, this very strange “spyware scandal” will not be the last one. Nevertheless, the political will of the leadership of Russia and the United States rose above those particulars to focus on the progress of US-Russian strategic cooperation. The latest statement of the Foreign Ministry confirms this. It stated that the SVR and the CIA acted on behalf of their respective leaderships to carry out a prisoner exchange “based on humanitarian considerations and the principle of constructive partnership”.
9 July 2010
Voice of Russia World Service
This didn’t take long at all. Indeed, anyone who has worked on the routine transfer of small numbers of personnel abroad knows the amount of work involved. It’s not minor. The American court system is wheezy, sclerotic, and clogged (it’s why certain well-known light-fingered clerical gentlemen have “beat the system”, kiddies). It takes WEEKS to decide on who sits on a jury, for instance.
The work involved in this took longer than the publicity… I believe that it started with Medvedev’s visit. Panetta wanted these four VERY badly. They must know SOMETHING and he wanted them out where they couldn’t spill the beans. The US traded ten for four… that’s not how it’s usually done.
Let’s see… Panetta proved himself a competent DCI by this action… he seized ten of the baddies without a hitch. He’s a big winner. Barack Obama wins by not losing. Dmitri Anatolyevich wins, too. He gets all his people back… the Americans won’t have a chance to “turn” any of them (and the more people involved, the better the chance of succeeding). There were two people missing in all of this… Sergei Lavrov and Hillary Clinton. Sergei Viktorovich is a pro… he’ll take it in stride… the only effect will be that he’ll light up another Marlboro. Hill is another story. She’s the big loser. Everybody got new bikes… she got the cardboard box. Does BO think that Hill is going to try to knife him in the back politically? It puts her statements in Georgia in a new light, no? It looks like she is staking out an independent path… it may lead to a dispute… and Hill will be history, without her Senate seat. We’ll have to see.
This was a well-planned op, which means Panetta. BO is a pol… he’s never done anything in the real world. Leon gets first prize… don’t forget he was the “brains” of the Clinton White House. I wouldn’t bet on the loud “conservative” commentators… don’t forget, Limbaugh lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan… and he claims to speak for “Flyover Country”… I believe there is a SLIGHT discrepancy there.