In a WikiLeaks disclosure, Defense Secretary Robert Gates observed last February in a confidential cable that "Russian democracy has disappeared and the government was an oligarchy run by the security services," according to a foreignpolicy.com report
The harsh assesment was revealed Sunday by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, which moist recently posted over 200 of the over 250,000 confidential State Department documents it has gleaned.
"President [Dmitry] Medvedev has a more pragmatic vision for Russia than [Prime Minister Vladimir] Putin, but there has been little real change," Gates concluded, according to the cable.
The Putin assessment came as Gates was attempting to convince France to nix its sale of the amphibious assault ship the Mistral to Russia -- a sale that some NATO member countries found disagreeable.
The cable further details how Gates harried the French on the sale and how the French turned away his arguments.
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