The Post's authors have mixed feelings towards WikiLeaks. Charles Krauthammer, for instance, hinted that he wouldn't mind Julian Assange, WikiLeaks' founder, being killed by a "KGB proxy." Why? To send a message to "people like Assange." (This is Charles Krauthammer, who in Dec. 2006 wrote this when blaming KGB and Russia's then-President Vladimir Putin for the death of Alexander Litvinenko: "If they go to such lengths and such messiness and such risk to kill someone as small as Litvinenko, then no critic of the Putin dictatorship is safe." Krauthammer's logic is consistent, isn't it?)
But others at the Post love WikiLeaks. Especially when they come in the shape of WikiGossips about Russia. Of all the multiple U.S. Embassy's memos published by the site, Will Englund likes the one where the Moscow city government was called a "kleptocracy." Kathy Lally enjoys reading a "classified cable" about a "Caucasus wedding." Walter Pincus keeps under his pillow a "confidential cable" outlining the roles Russian secret services play "within the Russian power structure." And Anne Applebaum puts her hand into a pile of WikiLeaks revelations and unmistakenly pulls out the one describing Russia as "a mafia state."
Applebaum's another contribution was on Dec. 21, when, in the wake of a presidential election in Belarus, she accused Russia, "flush with oil money once again", of "back[ing] Lukashenko and fund[ing] his regime." (A Dec. 20 editorial took offense with the fact that Moscow called the election "an internal matter for Belarus." ) Applebaum does have a reason to be upset with Lukashenko: her husband, Polish Forein Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, tried to bribe Lukashenko with $3.6 billion in aid in exchange for a fair election, but was rebuffed by the latter.
The rest of the coverage was broad, diverse, if somewhat eclectic in the selection of the topics. Lally continued the tradition of her predecessor, Philip Pan, in writing long "theme" articles. In the beginning of the month, she visited Novaya Gazeta and talked to its editor, Dmitri Muratov, and its owner, Alexander Lebedev. The end product of this visit was Lally's Dec. 9 article titled "In Russia, freedom of speech belongs to the state." (I always naively believed that freedom of speech either exists or doesn't. The fact that it can belong to someone was an eye-opener.) Her Dec. 11 piece described the opening of the Moscow trade office for the state of Maryland. On Dec. 14, Lally reportedon the final government decision to continue building a highway through the Khimki forest. On Dec. 19, she visited an ice museum in Moscow's Sokolniki Park. Wrapping up a solid year, her first in Moscow, Lally ushered us, on Dec. 27, into a dazzling world of pre-New Year corporate partying.
Englund has been productive too. His contributions included a Dec. 13 coverage of the Manezh Square riot, a fascinating story about more than 40 miles' worth of escalators in the Moscow metro (and the people servicing them), and a carefully drafted piece on the growing influence of Islam among young Russians.
On Dec. 11, Juan Forero reported that Russia sold at least 1,800 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles to Venezuela. The fear in the United States is that the missiles will ended up in the hands of Colombian Marxist guerrillas or Mexican drug cartels. On Dec. 20, Andrew Higgins and Walter Pincus described a Congressional report criticizing the Pentagon on its "overreliance on Russian fuel supply supporting the mission in Afghanistan." Edward Cody's Dec. 24 article covered Russia's final decision to buy at least two French Mistral-class amphibious warships.