A top Russian presidential aide accused the media of "stupidity" May 9 for speculating that last week’s spy wrangle between Russia and Britain had been cooked up as a campaign ploy by President Boris Yeltsin. Dmitri Ryurikov, Yeltsin’s aide on international affairs, said such reports had "absolutely no basis in reality" and that it was "absurd to say that such things could happen" as part of Yeltsin’s reelection campaign. (Reuter, May 9)
Meanwhile, both sides appear determined to clamp down on the recriminations that had appeared close to rupturing bilateral relations. Behind-the-scenes talks between the two sides continue, a British Foreign Office spokesman said yesterday. A senior Russian Foreign Ministry official was quoted as saying only that "the subject has been closed." British newspapers have been speculating that the majority of the nine British diplomats who were earlier expected to be expelled from the country would likely be allowed to remain in Russia. (Reuter, May 13)
A Russian news agency, quoting a well-informed Moscow source, reported yesterday that the Russian who was arrested for spying — and who reportedly implicated the British embassy — was a young, "up-and-coming" diplomat in the Russian Foreign Ministry. A spokesman for Russia’s Federal Security Service would neither confirm nor deny that information. (Interfax, May 13)
Official Media Campaign Begins in Russia.