Barack Obama

Russian Leaders Congratulate Obama on Second Term

Now they've got that "space" Obama mentioned


MOSCOW – After months of denouncing the United States, and throwing the U.S. Agency for International Development out of the country, Russians took a conciliatory tone Wednesday in speaking of Obama's reelection. The country's top leaders quickly offered congratulations, and analysts predicted improved relations, particularly regarding missile defense, now that Obama has the space he so famously mentioned in an off-the-microphone moment in March.

"He had a limited amount of space for maneuvering in relations with Moscow over the past year," Sergei Markov, director of the Political Research Institute, told Interfax on Wednesday, adding that Obama was constrained by Republican criticism of the administration's policy toward Russia.

At a nuclear security summit in Seoul in March, Obama was overheard telling Dmitry Medvedev, then Russia's president, that he could do little about Russia's concerns over a European missile defense system until after the election, when he would have more flexibility.