The sudden spy scandal that erupted between Russia and the United States may not permanently hurt relations but its strange timing suggests elements are at work seeking to harm ties, analysts said Tuesday.
The announcement came just five days after President Barack Obama chomped on cheeseburgers with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as he made a state visit to the US and boasted the two leaders could "speak candidly."
"The most notable thing is the time when the scandal happened. The timing is not by chance," Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Politics said.
The scandal would harm Obama's reputation, Russian experts said, by implying that he lacked judgement in calling for a rapprochement with Russia under his "reset" policy.
The allegations came as "a serious blow primarily to the position of president Obama himself," Kovalyov told Interfax.