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US ambassador to Russia stepping down

first_img Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day Four benefits of having a wireless security system Top Stories Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober He was followed and harassed by camera crews from NTV, a channel loyal to the Kremlin.“Was it strange for me that 50 people would show up to welcome me to a meeting with an NGO activist?” McFaul said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. “Not just NTV by the way. It was (the Kremlin youth group) Nashi, it was Cossacks with swords and hats. It was a whole circus.”McFaul reached out to Russians through social media networks, and now has 60,000 followers on Twitter and more than 13,000 “friends” on Facebook. He also gave frequent interviews to Russian publications and appeared on Russian TV and radio, usually speaking Russian.But he said Tuesday that his biggest frustration after two years as ambassador is “our inability to dispel this myth that America and the Obama administration and me personally are seeking to foment revolution in Russia.”Putin has accused the U.S. State Department of instigating the protests and more generally seeking to weaken Russia. His anti-American rhetoric plays well among most Russians, who still harbor deep suspicions of U.S. intentions two decades after the end of the Cold War.“I have tried so many different ways to battle this,” McFaul said. “I see opinion poll data. I’m an academic _ I take a particular interest in measuring results of our public diplomacy, and that piece is frustrating to me because it’s just not our policy, it’s not what we’re trying to do here. So that’s a failure I would say.”last_img read more