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Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Sunday Russophile Sociopath: The Misadventures of Dmitry Trenin

You may remember Dmitry Trenin of the Carnegie Center, whom we introduced you to a couple of months ago, frothing in a high state of Russian nationalist euphoria over Russia's ability to thumb its nose at the world. State-sponsored Kremlin propaganda campaign Russia Today likes him, and so does its blog counterpart Russia Profile.

Now, a reader advises, Trenin has moved from the merely treacherous to the farcically outrageous. The Washington Post reports:

Former ambassador to Russia James F. Collins, now at the Carnegie Endowment, invited folks to a Sept. 20 cocktail reception and discussion of "Getting Russia Right," a new book by Dmitri Trenin, deputy director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. Trenin "sheds new light on our understanding of contemporary Russia," Collins said, and explains "how the United States and Europe can deal with it more productively." The book "looks beyond Russia's famous leaders to the economic and cultural spaces outside the Kremlin where promising changes are taking place."

Collins has long been chided by critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin's government for going too easy on the former KGB thug. Trenin, a former GRU military intelligence officer, has been more skeptical, but also not a hard-line opponent of the new kleptocracy. "Insightful and optimistic, Trenin's innovative and objective analysis provides an understanding that is crucial," Collins wrote. One person Collins invited, Andrei Piontkovsky, who writes very cynical, satirical op-eds about Putin and the Federal Security Service, or FSB, which succeeded the KGB -- and whose last little book provoked the Russian government to try him for extremism -- e-mailed his regrets. "Thank you for your kind invitation," he wrote. "Unfortunately, the day when insightful and optimistic Mr. Trenin presents his objective analysis, I have another obligation.

"I'll be in Moscow on my own Moscow 2007 trial facing FSB charges of 'extremism.' Please pass Mr. Trenin my fascination with his sense of historical optimism and his intellectual flexibility."

Well, more canapes for everyone else.

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