The Washington Times - March 31, 2009, 11:26AM

Russian President Dmitry Medvedevsaid Tuesday that President Obama should back off of U.S. plans for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe and should not support NATO expansion to include former Soviet bloc countries.

“I believe that removing such obstacles to good relations would be beneficial to our countries — essentially removing ‘toxic assets’ to make good a negative balance sheet — and beneficial to the world,” Medvedev said in an op-ed in the Washington Post.

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Medvedev’s piece, appearing on the eve of his first meeting with Obama at the G-20 summit in London, also included rhetoric that is often employed by Russian officials. It seems to me that you should most clearly understand you’re being insulted by a Russian when they are “praising” you.

“In his inaugural address, President Obama explicitly expressed his understanding that the United States needed to change together with the rest of the world. His speech deeply impressed me with its unbiased assessment of America’s problems. I agree that greatness is never a given. It must be earned,” Medvedev wrote. 

Medvedev also appears to be dashing hopes that he might take a stand for the rule of law in the case of former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

“Neither the president, not anyone else has the right to interfere in that situation,” Medvedev said over the weekend.

— Jon Ward, White House reporter, The Washington Times

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