Russians are surprised, but largely welcoming of Obama's prize.
Russia is one place where US President Barack Obama's influence has perceptibly moved the needle away from Bush-era frostiness, dubbed by some a 'second cold war', toward a new dialogue and hopes for better cooperation.
"It's hard to see how he's done anything in a few months that merits a Nobel Prize," says Pavel Zolotaryov, deputy director of the official Institute of USA-Canada Studies in Moscow. "Yet it seems logical. It reflects the world's support for his promises to move in a new direction, and hope that he will have the strength to see it through."
Obama has convinced Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to sign on to his vision of working toward a nuclear weapons free world, and the two have pledged to deliver a major new strategic arms reduction treaty by the end of this year. At a Kremlin summit meeting in July, the two leaders hit it off and agreed to a full "reset" of the vexed US-Russia relationship. And last month, Obama appeared to deliver on that pledge by unilaterally shelving Bush-era plans to station antimissile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic, which had for several years been the single biggest strategic irritant between Moscow and Washington.