(EDM) “Big mistake”—that was how Russian President Vladimir Putin recently described the determined efforts in the United States to investigate Russia’s interference in the US elections last year. He characterized the present level of bilateral relations as “close to zero” and warned that further “absurd” attempts of “certain political forces” to escalate tensions “according to the political calendar” would bring the situation to a new “Caribbean crisis” (Kremlin.ru, March 30). His take on the US political timetables may be confused because the next cycle of elections comes only in November 2018; but his reference to the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 amounts to a barely veiled threat. Certainly nobody today wishes to replay that dramatic historical political stand-off, which put both sides’ nuclear forces on high alert. So Putin wants Washington to disregard the Russian cyber-attack and to treat the evidence as “lies and provocations” in order to avoid having to respond to the offense—and thus to forestall the necessity for a Russian counteraction.
The Kremlin leader issued this hard-to-refuse offer in a rather off-handed manner at a question-and-answer session that was the high point of last Thursday’s (March 30) international forum “Arctic—the Territory of Dialogue,” held in the northern city of Arkhangelsk (Kommersant, March 30). The key point of that carefully staged gathering was to lure Western investors into joint projects in the Russian Arctic, despite the fact that developing the under-explored oil and natural gas reserves there will not be cost-effective at this point, particularly due to anemic global oil prices (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 30). […]
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