At first, McFaul took the attack personally, not yet realizing that he was, for Putin and official Moscow, a mere foil. “The shit that Leontiev put out on me—this haunted me for the rest of my time in Russia. I was made out to be the guy who came to Moscow to foment revolution,” McFaul told me. “Meanwhile, I was feeling really bad about this fiasco, and in D.C. the mid-level people”—in the Administration—“were saying, Why is McFaul doing this? It was affirmation of why you don’t send people like McFaul to Moscow. Like I was the one screwing up the U.S.-Russia relationship.”
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