|Article Title||TOYING WITH A THAW|
|Source||Current Digest of the Russian Press, The , No.44, Vol.68, October 31, 2016, page(s):10|
|Place of Publication||Minneapolis, USA|
TOYING WITH A THAW
Author: Nikolai Epple
(By Nikolai Epple. Vedomosti, Oct. 31, 2016, p. 1. Complete text:) The end of last week was marked by a whole salvo of conciliatory statements at the highest level. Many commentators even started talking about a "thaw."
The main source of these signals was [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s speech at the Valdai [International Discussion Club; see Current Digest, Vol. 68, No. 43, pp. 14 - 15 - Trans.]. The president said that the anticipation of war had reached too high a pitch: "Russia has no intention to attack anyone. That is ridiculous. It is simply preposterous, foolish and unrealistic." According to Putin, his decree on withdrawal from the [Russian-American] Plutonium [Management and Disposition] Agreement [see Current Digest, Vol. 68, No. 39 - 40, pp. 11 - 13] does not mean a real withdrawal: It is what diplomats call a "bargaining position." It’s [just] a piece of paper, whereas the US is actually sabotaging the agreement. The president said that TV news anchor Dmitry Kiselyov’s words about [Russia being able to reduce the US to] "radioactive dust" are harmful rhetoric, and decried the brandishing of nuclear weapons.
Putin has even started to rein in the military. A source told Bloomberg about a [Russian] cabinet meeting where someone from the Defense Ministry reacted belligerently to the latest close call between a Russian plane and the US [Navy]. Putin [reportedly] responded: "Are you crazy?" Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that Putin considers the resumption of Russian air strikes on Aleppo inadvisable (the Defense Ministry has allegedly been requesting that [Russian aircraft resume bombing]).
The picture is now being filled in with domestic brushstrokes in the same style. The president submitted a bill to the State Duma with a provision that gives law-enforcement officers up to 10 years in prison for [illegally] seizing business assets. And Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko told Interfax that the temptation ...
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