| Moscow was right to oppose Washington over Iraq,
but Russian leaders
must be cautious not to fall into Soviet-style, knee-jerk anti-Americanism
that might not always serve the country's interests, leading politicians
experts said Wednesday.
Russia was far from alone in opposing the use of force without
approval from the UN Security Council. Throughout the world, people
bristled at what is seen as a U.S. desire for global domination.
But the anti-U.S. sentiment expressed in Russia has been somewhat
excessive, reminiscent of the Cold War and not always founded
interests, said Yabloko Deputy Vladimir
"The psychological condition that we inherited from the
from our past superpower status, continues to come into play,"
former Soviet ambassador to the United States, said at a news
"This is a constant, deaf irritation at the United States,
sometimes has valid grounds, sometimes less so, but it often takes
precedence to a rational approach to our own interests,"
The war in Iraq set off a wave of anti-American feeling that
been seen in years. For the first time since the 1999 NATO campaign
Yugoslavia, more Russians view the United States negatively than
said Yury Levada, head of the All-Russia Center for Public Opinion
Russia's political leaders have been at the forefront of the
"Like a Soviet diplomat during the Cold War, Russian Foreign
Igor Ivanov is most concerned with finding the harshest possible
to characterize the Americans," the news magazine Yezhenedelny
Some public figures tried to follow the government's lead, but
When a leading Russian mufti declared a jihad against the United
States earlier this month, he evoked a wave of disapproval.
President Vladimir Putin warned later that day against letting
emotions guide foreign policy.
Georgy Mirsky, chief political analyst at Moscow's Institute
Economics and International Relations, said crude anti-Americanism
media -- including calls by nationalist politicians to bomb the
States -- could sour relations.
"The whole world is anti-American but it's a different
anti-Americanism -- against American hegemony," he told a
foreign policy experts.
"Our anti-Americanism is disgusting. It's the anti-Americanism
hooligans and vulgar people."
Many experts said Moscow should not let Iraq get in the way
interests between Russia and the United States, such as the fight
terrorism and Islamic extremism in Central Asia.
Anatoly Adamishin, a former top Russian diplomat, warned against
entering into any permanent anti-U.S. coalitions.
He said Moscow's task now was to strengthen the role of the
Nations -- which he said had been damaged by attempts to use the
organization to stop the war -- and to mend ties with Washington.
Lukin struck a similar note.
"Now it's time to gather stones," he said. "In
the president's place I
would think about how difficult it is going to be to gather those
given how hard they were thrown."