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Russian senator calls Obama's Nobel prize 'reaction to Bush era'

RIA Novosti

17:40 09/10/2009 MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - The decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama was an expression of disappointment with the previous U.S. leadership, a Russian senator said on Friday.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the award earlier in the day.

"After the crushing neo-conservatism of the previous American administration, there really is a need to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people, and the awarding of the prize to Obama testifies to the deep disappointment caused by the policies of George Bush," said Mikhail Margelov, who chairs the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of Russia's parliament.

The wording of the Nobel Committee's announcement, on the "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples", is merely an expression of the committee's wishes for the president's future, Margelov said.

Considering the widespread optimism over Obama's presidency, he has been "given an advance that he will have to work off for his entire political career," he said.

Obama took office on January 20 this year, and the speaker of the upper house, Sergei Mironov, called the award premature.

"Obama, with all his virtues, has not been active in world politics for long enough for people to able to say with a clear conscience 'yes, he deserves it'".

However, he said Obama, "with his colossal potential to influence global affairs" is in a good position to justify the award.

"Let's hope it works out that way," he said.

Yury Ushakov, who served as Russia's ambassador to the United States for nine years, said he "would never have expected" Obama would get the peace prize.

The prize will be awarded in Oslo on December 10.

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