Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Star? Nyet.

No one was swooning as President Obama gave the graduation speech at the New Economic School in Moscow on Tuesday.

Michelle Obama with nurses at a college in Moscow on Tuesday. The Russian news media have not covered her every move.

Let other capitals go all weak-kneed when President Obama visits. Moscow has greeted Mr. Obama, who on Tuesday night concluded a two-day Russian-American summit meeting, as if he were just another dignitary passing through.

Crowds did not clamor for a glimpse of him. Headlines offered only glancing or flippant notice of his activities. Television programming was uninterrupted; devotees of the Russian Judge Judy had nothing to fear. Even many students and alumni of the Western-oriented business school where Mr. Obama gave the graduation address on Tuesday seemed merely respectful, but hardly enthralled.

Tom Malinowski, who was a speechwriter for Mr. Clinton, said Russian audiences were always the toughest to connect with.

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