After Bush leaves Russia, Voice of Russia commentary questions President's intellect

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

An unusual commentary on the Voice of Russia English-language web site, which has since been removed, claims that President Bush's presumed "narrow intellectual horizons" and "disastrous judgment" have had "cataclysmic" policy consequences. FreeMediaOnline.org reported that the commentary was published a few days after President Bush left Russia, where he had attended the G-8 summit.

FreeMediaOnline.org reported that the publication of such a strong personal attack on a foreign head of state by a government broadcaster in Russia is highly unusual and may indicate a worsening in relations between Moscow and Washington as a result of the war in Iraq and what FreeMediaOnline.org described as the decline of Russian democracy under President Putin. It may also be an indication of Moscow's increased assertiveness in foreign policy thanks to revenues from high energy prices.

The analyst, David Brian, who is a regular Voice of Russia contributor, quoted at length from the July 16 Jonathan Chait's column in The Los Angeles Times: "Is Bush Still Too Dumb to Be President?." in his comment "George W. Bush Has Intuition (Maybe)". Voice of Russia did not identify Chait by name as the author of the original commentary. Their analyst indicated, however, that he was citing a Los Angeles Times article. The Voice of Russia comment could under normal circumstances been viewed as an example of unusual journalistic freedom.

The title of the Voice of Russia commentary, "George W. Bush Has Intuition (Maybe)," and its tone indicated that the analyst shared the same views about President Bush's intellect as The Los Angeles Times columnist Jonathan Chait. According to FreeMediaOnline.org the 450 word commentary consisted of not much more than a word-for-word repeat of Jonathan Chait's column.

President Bush received a bachelor's degree in history from Yale University in 1968, and also received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1975.

Voice of Russia is Moscow's state-financed international broadcaster with programs in multiple languages, including English.

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