Rogov: the whole thing had a “made-for-TV” air about it; Petrov: dealing with four governments in some ways plays into the Kremlin’s hands

PONARS Eurasia
07 Jan 2019

(NYTimes) The American man being held on espionage charges in Moscow also has British, Canadian and Irish citizenship, officials said on Friday, a status that could complicate the situation for Russia if it finds itself confronted by coordinated pressure from the West.

The man, Paul N. Whelan, could benefit from stepped-up efforts by multiple governments to secure his release, especially if the four countries coordinate their actions to secure his release or work to develop a collective punishment, like restricting visas for Russian business leaders. [...]

Kirill Rogov, a Russian political analyst, mocked the Rosbalt article, noting that nothing was reported about the Russian who handed over the stick, which suggested that the whole thing had a “made-for-TV” air about it. [...]

While dealing with four governments instead of one will undoubtedly complicate matters, in some ways it plays into the Kremlin’s hands for its domestic audience, suggested Nikolai Petrov, a political-science professor at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. [...]

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