In fact, last week was rather comical with its overblown holiday celebrations. When President Vladimir Putin met with a group of young people, he urged them to study history and, in particular, to take an interest in the origin of the word “Rus.” This comment once again left Russian and foreign observers at a loss as to Putin’s intentions. The point is that one of the most widespread versions of the word’s origin is that Rus is the name of a Scandinavian tribe, and that the citizens of Novgorod called on the tribe’s leaders to come and establish order in their city. The first tsarist dynasty of the Ruriks later emerged from this. Could Putin have intended this as a subtle way to communicate his sympathies toward the West, despite all of his anti-West rhetoric of late?
– Alexei Pankin, writing in the Moscow Times