One of the best comedies of the Cold War was Norman Jewison’s film 'The Russians are Coming; The Russians are Coming' of 1966. The plot centres on a Soviet submarine whose curious Captain wanted a closer view of the United States, running aground on a sandbar off the east coast of America.
Discovering Russian sailors ashore, posing as stranded Norwegian fishermen, the locals panic before all is worked out peacefully and co-operatively.
Now, the latest Russians to arrive on American soil do so courtesy of Cyberia rather than the sea and their presence in Washington D.C. appears neither to be benign nor temporary. Partly, this is a consequence of the fallout from the apparent hacking by Russian Intelligence Services (the GRU from the military and the FSB, successor to the KGB) of both Democratic National Committee emails and those of the Clinton presidential campaign (primarily campaign chief John Podesta).
Compounding what would routinely be considered an egregious Russian intrusion into the inner workings of American democracy is the related concern that senior Trump campaign warriors were in contact with Russian officials both during and after the presidential poll of November 2016. The fall of Michael T. Flynn as President Trump’s national security adviser merely adds gasoline to the fire.
The salient point is that the Russians are never far from centre stage in US national political discourse. Moreover, given that two congressional committees and the FBI are investigating Russian interventions, this shadow will remain a real factor in US presidential politics for the foreseeable future.
Vladimir Putin remains an ever-present stage villain in Washington, regardless of his residence in Moscow. Currently, Putin is viewed by many as akin to Ian Fleming’s absurd and sinister head of Spectre, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, stroking his white cat at the head of the table, while having disloyal subordinates electrocuted, as in the James Bond film, 'Thunderball' (1965). Reality may not always imitate art but its resonance can still be telling.