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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Embassy Critiques New Boss

The changing of the guard in Washington is being greeted by American diplomats in Moscow with cautious optimism and a good deal of curiosity as to whom President Bill Clinton will choose as his ambassador to Russia.


Bush supporters outnumbered Clinton backers at the embassy, according to a straw poll taken before the November vote, but those who favored the outgoing president still expressed tentative support for the new administration on Wednesday.


"Most of us were skeptical at first - we're a conservative lot", said one diplomat, who asked that his name not be used. "We're tentative but hopeful that the new administration will work out the problems in the U. S".


He added that Bush was popular here primarily because of his emphasis on foreign policy. Back home, the former president was severely criticized for not giving enough attention to domestic issues.


Several diplomats here said they did not foresee drastic changes as the Clinton administration takes the reins.


"Our new secretary designate indicates that he wants to see the same farm and trade programs go on through to completion", a diplomat involved in Agriculture Department programs said. "Maybe we'll see changes and new programs, but I don't expect any radical changes".


Others at the embassy are closely following Clinton's appointments to high-level posts in the State Department, which will affect the areas of foreign policy and the policies here.


The key question is who will move into the office of former Ambassador Robert Strauss, who left Moscow in November. The most prominent names that have circulated around the embassy include Strobe Talbott, just appointed as Clinton's coordinator to the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and former Vice President Walter Mondale.


Feelings are mixed about both men, and new rumors revolved around former Senator George McGovern and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.


An economics officer declined to speculate on Straus's successor.


"I just hope it's a person with a healthy understanding of this complex country", the officer said.