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Russians consider recent spy scandal FBI provocation - poll

The number of Russians who believe the recent U.S.-Russian spy scandal was FBI-orchestrated is quite high, a poll Russia's Levada Center think-tank issued on Friday said. Slightly over half of the respondents (53%) said the scandal was invented by the U. S. intelligence services in order to undermine Russia-U.S. bilateral ties, which saw noticeable improvement after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's recent visit to the United States. Another 37% found it difficult to express their opinion on the scandal. The scandal will blow over and relations will soon recover, 58% of those polled said. Only 13% supposed the scandal would deteriorate bilateral ties and inspire a new stage of the Cold War. Ten members of an alleged Russian spy ring were arrested in the United States in late June on[...]

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Russian spy's Facebook page most popular among Russians

Anna Chapman's Russian-language version of Facebook.com has topped the rating of most visited users of this social network, the owner of Liveinternet.ru statistics website said on Tuesday. "The rating is complied in accordance with the number of page visits. We have developed it this way in order to differ from Yandex with its rating of blogs," German Klimenko said. Chapman, 28, was among ten people, who were arrested by the U.S. law enforcement on June 27 on suspicion of being part of an espionage ring spying for Russia. Meanwhile, Gorodskiye Vesti newspaper from Volgograd, where Chapman was born and lived for a while, announced a competition for the best song dedicated to Chapman. The British Foreign Office confirmed on Tuesday that Chapman was deprived of her British citizenship. Last[...]

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Biden admits his crush on spy pin-up Anna Chapman

The Obama administration closed the chapter on the arrest of the Russian spy ring in what seemed like the most appropriate way: with a gag on a late-night comedy show. After the 10 "sleeper" agents were handed back to the Russians in exchange for four US spies held in Russia, Vice-President Joe Biden was quipping about the photogenic Anna Chapman, 28 – born Anna Kushchenko – whose exploits had been the fodder for breathless tabloid pieces since the scandal broke late last month. Jay Leno, the host of NBC's Tonight Show, asked Mr Biden: "Are our spies this hot?" And the Vice-President, taking a mock serious tone, replied: "Let me be clear. It was not my idea to send her back." Ms Chapman, who had claimed to be running a successful property website, became the pin-up of the group,[...]

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Spy scandal adds drama to the reset

The U.S.-Russian spy scandal has been gaining momentum for nearly two weeks now. It has even spilled over into the UK. But it's still not clear if it is serious enough to warrant the media hype. In the past, this kind of incident would end with both countries expelling diplomats, and the number of people declared persona non grata was usually the only indication of the conflict's true scale. But now the rules of the game have changed. Ten people have been held in jail in the United States since June 27 on suspicions of spying for Russia, and one more suspect remains at large after skipping bail in Cyprus. Surprisingly, this unprecedented number of arrests in a single espionage case has not caused any diplomatic incidents - a response (or, rather, lack thereof) that makes you wonder[...]