Cultural Revolutions

In a Tizzy

Igor Ivanov, Russia's foreign minister, is usually calm, cool, and collected, but he looked nervous during his March 22 press conference. Ivanov, known among Kremlin siloviky (members of the defense/security apparatus) as something of a wimp, adopted an uncustomary frown and set about lambasting Washington's recent "unfriendly acts," especially the March 21 expulsion of six "diplomats" (with 40 more ordered to leave in the near future) and a likely meeting between U.S. State Department representatives and "so-called foreign minister" Akhmadov of Chechnya. Ivanov said that Moscow would make an "appropriate response" (Russian TV later reported that Moscow would expel U.S. embassy personnel) and warned that further "unfriendly acts" could "push mankind" back to "the era of the Cold War and confrontation."

Moscow was already in a tizzy over Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's recent sharp criticism of Russian arms sales (apart from criticizing Russia's role in arms "proliferation," Rumsfeld remarked that Moscow would sell "anything to anybody," implying that Russia could be included on Washington's black list of "rogue states") and the January 17 arrest of Pavel Borodin, a high-ranking official of the Russia-Belarus Union. President Bush's commitment to a National Missile Defense (NMD) is also very much...

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