Dmitry Rogozin, Kremlin's envoy to NATO, is a rare weapon in Russia's diplomatic armoury. Having been a politician - and a gifted politician who may still choose to retake his original vocation in a top position after next year's presidential election in Russia - Rogozin can get away with murder. Generally speaking, diplomats are afraid of the very sight of blood, but Rogozin insists on a latitude drawn from his previous avatar to use his power of language lethally like a razor with the purposive intent to maim, kill, silence the adversary - and in turn preserve Russia's interests.
How far he is doing it as own enterprise and how far he represents a collective enterprise is often hard to tell - and leaves the NATO adversary guessing. In diplomatic jargon, Rogozin becomes for Moscow a 'Non-Paper'. Which makes him a rare asset for Russia, and Vladimir Putin indeed spotted the infinite scope by asking him to cross over from the poltical arena to the world of diplomacy.
This week has been a memorable one for Rogozin-watchers. Speaking in London, he compared Russia to a bear in its lair, which the US/NATO hunter approaches with the tantalising proposition to go hunting for rabbits. Thereupon, the bear happens to notice that the barrel of the gun the hunter holds is actually meant for bear-hunting, not rabbit-hunting.
He was referring to the US' plea that the components of the missile defence system it is planning to deploy in Poland, Romania, Turkey, etc. are directed against the 'rogue state' of Iran and not against Russia. Rogozin seems to be in great mood. Yesterday, on a podium which he shared with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Rogozin said Russia saw Resolution 1973 passed by the UN Security Council on Libya as a "slender, harmonious symphony" while the NATO seems to interpret it more like jazz.
Rogozin says it all so beautifully. It does seem increasingly that the slender harmonious symphony of US-reset is giving way to trumpets and jazz. Something like '1812 Overture' by Pytotr Illyich Tchaikovsky and 'Hello, Dolly!' by Louis Daniel Armstrong? Viktor Ivanov, Kremlin's troubleshooter par excellence on Afghanistan, left Moscow this morning and is heading for Tehran. This comes within a day of the SCO summit in Astana - and, again, Rogozin spotting that NATO has interrupted its eastward expansion and has instead begun slouching southward. Indeed, something is changing in the 'voice of Russia', to use the name of the Moscow Radio station.
The tone of the MFA statement on the presence of the USS Monterey cruiser in the Black Sea makes that very clear. The battle group entered the Black Sea in the weekend to ostensibly hold an exercise with Ukraine on anti-piracy, but Moscow happened to notice that the barrel of the cruiser battle group is meant for hunting Slavs - not Somalis.