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Rohrabacher wins praise -- from Russia

December 18, 2008 |  7:35 am

There was a time when Republican Dana Rohrabacher was an outspoken critic of Russia. But that was during the Cold War. Recently, the South Bay/Long Beach congressman was one of the few U.S. officials backing Russia during its conflict with Georgia. More from the Daily Breeze's Gene Maddaus:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has returned from a trip to Moscow, where he was hailed as one of the few American politicians who supported Russia during the South Ossetia conflict.

Traveling as part of a congressional delegation, Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, met with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and with members of Russia's parliament. ....

Rohrabacher, whose 46th District runs from the Palos Verdes Peninsula to Orange County, made headlines in Russia in September, when he declared during a committee hearing that Georgia was responsible for the South Ossetia war -- breaking with most of the U.S. foreign policy community, which was more critical of Russia for its aggressive response.

"The Georgians broke the truce, not the Russians," he said at the time, citing unnamed intelligence sources. "The Russians are right. We're wrong. The Georgians started it. The Russians ended it."

The remarks got almost no notice in the United States, but they were printed in Russian newspapers and aired on Russian state television, where they were taken as vindication. The Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, later cited Rohrabacher's statement as proof of a "lack of transparency" in U.S. foreign policy.

-- Shelby Grad