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at 24/10/2008 05:19

The US presidential race has made an unexpected arrival in Russia this week, but while John McCain's ill-addressed request for funding from Russia's UN mission has earned international scorn, the arrival of a Russian translation of Barack Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope" (Derzost' Nadezhdy) gives readers an insight into the ideals of the man who hopes to lead the United States.

With Election day fast approaching, publisher Azbuka hopes to cash in on the international interest in this year's race for the White House with their translation of Obama's personal political statement.

When it was first published in 2006, "The Audacity of Hope" had critics gushing about ‘authenticity'. They were astonished by Obama's ability to present himself as an ordinary guy in a world where politicians come as pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all, focus-grouped caricatures. The New York Times described him as "an old friend from back in the day, salting policy recommendations with colorful asides about the absurdities of political life."

But while this down-home tale of American politics sold well in the States, it is his thoughts on the wider political world that are likely to interest readers here. And, after eight years of bellicose Bush pursuing ill-conceived saber-rattling jaunts around the world, there is encouragement in some of Obama's words. On America's military scope "once we get beyond matters of self-defense," he is "convinced that it will almost always be in our strategic interest to act multilaterally rather than unilaterally when we use force around the world." On the other hand his concern that his nation must shake its "addiction to oil" could set a chill through the world's energy producers afraid that the White House may suddenly turn green.

The Russian version of the book hit the shelves earlier this week and costs 260 rubles.  ■

By Andy Potts

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