In the Moscow Times, Lilia Shevtsova writes about the efforts of Russia’s elite to separate itself from the mass of the country’s citizenry and establish its own private relationship of the privileged and wealthy with the United States and the West, while cutting the rest of the population off from Western influences by means of an orchestrated campaign of anti-Western and anti-American propaganda. Shevtsova sees this as a danger for President Obama – she suggests that when he visits Moscow next month, he may be walking into a carefully-prepared trap:
The White House has little chance of being able to cooperate with the Kremlin without making some concessions to the Russian elite. However, such cooperation promises to promote the current Russian system, which functions with the “besieged fortress” mentality in which Russia is surrounded by enemies. If Obama takes a value-based approach, his opportunities on security will be limited.