RUSSIAN EMBASSY WEEKLY #145
In an interview with the Moscow. Kremlin. Putin program on the Rossiya-1 television channel, the president spoke about his vision of Moscow’s style of behaving with foreign partners. "I don’t think we should behave like lunatics when defending our interests, like someone who is running around with a razor in the hands and throwing curses," he said. "We have a saying - an iron fist in a velvet glove. This is about our style, I think."
Touching on the canvassing campaign in the United States and another round of anti-Russian rhetoric, the Russian president noted, "What is going on there, in the world’s biggest economy, in the biggest nuclear and military power, is regrettable because it tells on the entire system of international relations and has adverse impacts on the Russian-US relations". Read more
Russian-US relations are at their lowest point, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Moscow. Kremlin. Putin program on Rossiya-1 TV channel on Sunday.
"Our relations are still nearly at the lowest point," Peskov said commenting on the dynamics of Russian-US relations."The situation is very bad - both in terms of bilateral relations and our two countries’ responsibility for multilateral affairs, first of all the issue of control over arms and strategic stability," Peskov said.According to him, there were contacts in this field at an expert level. "But they don’t bring us closer to understanding between our countries in terms of preserving any existing documents, first of all New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), which are now the only documents that can ensure arms control on a global scale," Peskov said, recalling that Russia and the US have the biggest nuclear capabilities in the world."None of other countries, including China, by the way, which the Americans are very persistently trying to invite to these negotiations, cannot be compared in terms of its arsenal with either America or us," the Kremlin spokesman said.
Academy Award winning Russian-American-Swiss actor and singer Yul Brynner, who won over Hollywood & Broadway with his remarkable presence, was in fact born on July 11, 1920 in Russia's Vladivostok.His real name was Yuliy Borisovich Briner
Travel to Russia and visit Brynner’s House in Vladivostok
Walking вown Aleutskaya Street from the train station towards the city center, you will see the Brynner House, a light three-story building constructed in the early 20th century.Yulius Brynner was born in Switzerland. At the end of 19th century he immigrated to Vladivostok via Japan and soon became one of the richest and most powerful entrepreneurs in Vladivostok. His grandson, Yuliy Brynner, was born in Vladivostok in 1920 and very soon after left Russia with his family. In America he made a brilliant movie career, known by his fans as Yul Brynner.In 2012, a statue of Yul Brynner was erected in front of the home where he was born. His son, Rock Brynner, a special guest of the Pacific Meridian International Film Festival, participated in the ceremony.
Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping at the Chinese side’s initiative.Xi Jinping congratulated Vladimir Putin on the successful national vote on the amendments to the Russian Constitution. They noted the importance of this step for strengthening Russian statehood and the country’s stable socio-political development. The presidents expressed firm mutual support in protecting sovereignty, preventing any interference in internal affairs from outside and ensuring the supremacy of international law.The President of Russia thanked the President of the People's Republic of China for sending a representative delegation and units of the People's Liberation Army to the parade held to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.
A high assessment was given to the achieved level of the two countries’ comprehensive strategic partnership. The two leaders shared the view that one of its outstanding manifestations was the help Russia and China gave each other during the most difficult period of countering the coronavirus pandemic.The parties underscored their wish to continue boosting their economic interaction with an emphasis on major projects in the field of the supply of hydrocarbons, atom for peace, civil aircraft manufacturing, science and technology and cooperation in the sphere of innovation.They reaffirmed their interest in further close coordination of efforts on the international arena, primarily at the UN Security Council as well as in the SCO and BRICS.It was agreed to continue contacts at different levels.
In 1937, three Soviet aviators, Mikhail Gromov, Andrey Yumashev & Sergey Danilin, started transpolar flight from Moscow to the US. The ANT-25 historic flight that lasted for 62 hours and 17 minutes established a world's nonstop distance record of 11500 km.
Sergey Lavrov: Russia is ready to continue contacts on strategic stability issues with the United States, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday at an online session of the Primakov Readings international forum.
"We are ready for a situation where, as a result of the United States’ consistent policy aimed at destroying all these agreements, no arms control accords will be left. We are ready not to start from scratch but continue contacts on all strategic stability issues with the Americans," he said.
Russia is interested in maintaining New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), however, it will ensure its security if the treaty is not prolonged, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday during an online session of the Primakov Readings international forum, dubbed "Russia and the world after COVID-19."
"We know and we are confident that we will be able to ensure our long-term security even if there is no treaty," he said, adding that it is too early to discuss Russia’s steps in case New START ceases to exist.
"However, we are ready for any turn of events, this is true, and if the treaty is not prolonged, there are many options. I can assure you that our general aim would be to continue strategic dialogue with the USA, as well as the dialogue on new arms control means in the context of all factors affecting strategic stability," the minister stressed. Lavrov stated that Russia would not convince the USA to prolong the treaty. "If they categorically decline, we won’t try to convince them. <…> We need this treaty to be prolonged to the same extent as the Americans. Right now, they see our calls to prolong it for five or some number of years without preconditions as some sort of game," the foreign minister noted.
However, the minister added that Russia is ready to discuss the control over new types of weapons not falling under New START. "We are ready to begin a discussion about the types of weapons that are not "classic" under New START. Naturally, this will be within the discussion of all issues affecting strategic stability in some way or form," he said, adding that Russia’s motivation is to "lower the threat to global stability and security."
Russia will uphold its stance on the inadmissibility of a nuclear war at the upcoming summit of the five UN Security Council permanent members, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday at an online session of the Primakov Readings international forum.
"We <…> are particularly concerned about the Americans’ refusal to reaffirm the fundamental principle that there can be no winners in a nuclear war, and, consequently, it must never be unleashed," he said. "Of course, we will promote this subject— the inadmissibility of a nuclear war, the impossibility to win it — in the context of the upcoming summit of the five [permanent Security Council members — TASS] as well."
Lavrov added that it was important not to go too far and not to play into the hands of those who seek to ban nuclear weapons altogether.
Heightened tensions between the United States and China do not meet Russia’s interests in any way, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday during an online conference focusing on Russia and the post-coronavirus world.
"I believe that it [the standoff] in no way meets our interests, or the interests of the European Union, or those of any other states," he emphasized.
For instance, Lavrov pointed out that China’s trade turnover with the European Union fully corresponds to US-China trade turnover. "Considering the aspirations for strategic autonomy that are with increasing frequency voiced in the European Union and the fact that these aspirations are outlined not only in the military-political and security sphere, but also in the sphere of trade and economics, I think that they should be taken a closer look at," he noted.
The European Union, the minister continued, also "wants to bring back its production operations and lock in as many trade and distribution chains as possible." "In this regard, they are entering into direct competition with the Americans. It [the EU] is unlikely to back the US in every way when it wants to bleed the Chinese economy dry by siphoning all the processes that pave the way for active development to its own territory," Lavrov added.
That is why tensions and clashes of interests will arise, the top Russian diplomat cautioned. "You know, unlike 2014 when the EU imposed anti-Russian sanctions under enormous pressure from the US, the European Union today is already showing signs of healthy pragmatism," the minister pointed out. "In particular, they publicly announced that they would revisit the five ill-famed principles by Federica Mogherini, which were shaped a few years ago to advance relations with Russia," the diplomat elaborated.
Moreover, Lavrov pointed to a statement made by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, who said that sanctions are not a tool, which should be used in ties with China, when asked whether the EU might impose some restrictions on Beijing over the developments in Hong Kong. "We inquired whether Borrell still thinks that sanctions are a means that can be used in relations with Russia. However, our European friends will ponder over that," Lavrov added.
The Russian foreign minister emphasized that Moscow is interested in cooperation with the EU that does not hurt anyone. "In general, we do not make friends in order to orchestrate some sorts of campaigns against any third [countries] based on expediency or mutual benefit. I think that Brussels will still be dealing with overcoming its recent lack of political foresight and will pay more attention to analyzing the genuine benefits of cultivating ties with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union as part of this review of EU policy towards Russia," he maintained.
"By the way, I do not see any benefits for Russia arising from a trade war between Washington and Beijing. We will not benefit [from it] either in ties with the EU or India," Lavrov stressed, highlighting "the special privileged strategic partnership" between Russia and India.
Russia insists that reports about possible use of NATO aircraft to traffic drugs in Afghanistan be probed into, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.
"We keep on receiving reports, including via mass media, that contraband of opiates has been organized from Afghanistan to other countries, including to Europe, with the use of military aircraft of the NATO coalition," he said during the Primakov Readings international online forum.
"We cannot verify these reports 100% but such reports are coming too regularly to be ignored. If military aircraft were used over Afghanistan, they could have been only NATO’s aircraft and such flights could have been performed only by the military or special services. Naturally, such information needs to be probed into, first of all in the United States," Lavrov stressed.
According to the Russian top diplomat, investigation is also needed inside the country of NATO presence. "Looking at absolutely reliable facts, we can say that over the 20 years of the US’ and the coalition’s other participants' presence in Afghanistan, drug trafficking from that country has increased many-fold. Neither the United States nor other members of the coalition have taken any serious efforts to stop drug production in Afghanistan," he added.
It will take a long time to return to normal life after the coronavirus pandemic, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during an online session of the Primakov Readings international forum dubbed Russia and the Post-COVID World.
According to him, the pandemic has already affected the economy and contacts between people — from official visits and talks to humanitarian, cultural and educational exchanges. "The widespread opinion is that it will take a long time to return to normal life. No one knows how much time it will take or what the normal life will be like but everyone agrees that some changes will inevitably take place," Lavrov added.
The Russian top diplomat pointed out that the Foreign Ministry’s central office and regional branches had been affected by the virus. "Thank God, the disease did not spread widely. Some members of our overseas missions have been impacted, too. However, all our overseas facilities kept working to provide assistance to Russian nationals stranded abroad amid border closures," Lavrov noted.
He said that the Foreign Ministry, together with the Transport Ministry, the Federal Air Transport Agency, the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing and the Communications Ministry, first compiled the lists of those who wanted to return to Russia. According to Lavrov, "efforts were also underway to provide financial assistance to those who had been left without money."
"The lion’s share of the work has been done though some people still want [to return to Russia]. A thing to note is that they made themselves known only recently. It seems they assessed the situation in the country where they were and came to the conclusion that it would be better to return home given the overall uncertainty," Lavrov concluded.
Russia and the United States have established a regular dialogue on Afghanistan, which could have bothered certain political circles in Washington, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev stated in an interview with the Argumenty i Fakty weekly, commenting on the publications about the alleged bounties on US servicemen that Moscow allegedly offered to Afghan militants.Patrushev noted that the US administration repeatedly imposed sanctions against Russia "based on fake news.""Now, their media has suddenly latched on to Afghanistan, which our countries have established a regular dialogue on; apparently, this fact bothered certain political circles," Patrushev said.
"Russian and American intelligence services cooperate in a wide range of fields. Countering terrorism is a field where we have concrete practical results," Patrushev underscored.In this regard, he continued, any allegations that Russia conspired with the Taliban, especially in a bid to assassinate US servicemen, are baseless."I would like to believe that in the future, the American media will be more responsible with their publications and won’t fuel additional strife between Moscow and Washington. We can only hope that US political circles will settle their internal issues without trying to score an electoral win at Russia’s expense," the security official said."Such a hostile thrust in our direction is hardly likely to facilitate the restoration of the atmosphere of trust, which both Moscow and Washington have been proclaiming for several years already," the secretary underscored.Moscow has never cooperated with the Taliban, outlawed in Russia, the Security Council secretary went on. "Frankly speaking, it was the United States that laid the foundation for the Taliban movement," he pointed out, adding that in the 1980s, Washington had shelled out billions of dollars to support the Afghan mujahideen, "who later formed the bulk of terrorist forces not only in Afghanistan but also in the entire region.""National Security Advisor to US President [Jimmy Carter] Zbigniew Brzezinski’s revelations are well-known, he admitted that Washington had sought to sponsor Afghan terrorists to satisfy its geopolitical goal," Patrushev noted."Russia, in contrast, has never cooperated with the Taliban," the top security official emphasized, pointing out that the Russian Supreme Court had designated the Taliban as a terrorist group in 2003.When commenting on media reports about Russia’s alleged ‘bounties’ to Afghan militants to kill US troops, Patrushev said that "these are ridiculous allegations." According to him, those who make such statements either know little about the situation in Afghanistan or "deliberately seek to distort the truth."
Joan Paul Jones is America's greatest Revolutionary naval commander, Father of U.S. Navy and Russian Rear Admiral.
232 years ago, under command of Rear Admiral John Paul Jones on flagship ‘Vladimir’ the Russian Black Sea Fleet achieved a glorious victory in the Battle of Liman over foreign power that demanded to evacuate Crimea, give up Russia's Black Sea holdings. He was awarded the Order of St. Anne for his services, and declared an honorary Cossack by his new comrades.Learn more in Russiapedia.
On July 6, an online Conference of the States Parties to the Open Skies Treaty was held to consider the consequences of the United States’ withdrawal from the treaty. The Russian interdepartmental delegation was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.On May 22, the United States announced its decision to withdraw from the treaty in six months and tried to justify this move by mentioning “violations” of the treaty by Russia. The arguments provided by the United States were not at all new. Russia has repeatedly responded to all its claims at the Open Skies Consultative Commission, (OSCC), a body created to implement the treaty, which includes representatives from each of the 34 participating states.Most conference participants noted the importance of the treaty for European security and the need to preserve it. They expressed regret over the United States withdrawing from it (although a number of countries expressed their “understanding” of its motives and called on Russia to return to full compliance with the treaty), and said they hoped that this decision would be revised. Many underscored the need to resolve the problems of compliance with the treaty at the negotiating table, supported the ongoing work and expressed their willingness to participate in it.<…>
On July 4, representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that the operation to deliver 85 tonnes of medicines and medical supplies from Damascus to Al Hasakah was completed successfully. Previously this shipment was transported from Erbil to Damascus aboard a Russian air carrier. The WHO representatives note that this is the largest shipment of medical aid from the interior of Syria to the Trans-Euphrates region across contact lines and is especially important for helping the healthcare system counter the spread of the coronavirus infection.Moscow is satisfied with this operation, which proves that aid can and must be delivered inside the country in coordination with the Syrian government and in accordance with the norms of the international humanitarian law and guiding principles of humanitarian cooperation envisaged in UN General Assembly Resolution 46/182.Initially it was planned to ship the medical supplies to northeast Syria via the Al-Yaarubia border crossing with Iraq. When this crossing was closed on January 10, 2020 in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2504, a lot of criticism was voiced that it was allegedly impossible to provide aid to the districts on the eastern bank of the Euphrates without cross-border deliveries. However, this operation, as well as many other land and air humanitarian convoys that had arrived in Syria prove the opposite.In this context, it is regrettable that we can see no progress in sending a joint convoy of the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Red Crescent Society to Idlib (Al Atarib and Darat Izza) across contact lines. This operation was scheduled for April 20, 2020. The Syrian government issued all the necessary permissions, but it is still unclear why those in need have not received the aid. Representatives of Western countries and specialised humanitarian agencies continue to raise alarm at the UN Security Council talking about the devastation in Idlib and asking for an immediate response, but only by cross-border shipments from Turkey. Such uncompromising insistence on using the cross-border mechanism, despite the suffering of the local people, cannot but cause regret.In this context, we must note once again that the cross-border mechanism was created back in 2014 as a temporary and emergency measure that must not affect the deliveries of humanitarian aid in coordination with Damascus or be used to undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.
Ambassador Anatoly Antonov’s anwer to a media question following the webinar organized by Center for the National Interest
Question: Dear Anatoly Ivanovich, what are your impressions of the recent event?
Ambassador Antonov: I would like to thank the organizers and participants of this teleconference. This was a good opportunity to address experts and journalists on the problems of Russia-U.S. relations with an emphasis on bilateral consultations on strategic issues held on June 22 in Vienna.
The meeting was very productive, many interesting questions were raised.
Unfortunately, it was not possible to answer to all spectators since we received many questions even before the event. In this regard, it would be correct to publish on the Embassy’s web platforms the key points of the speech, as well as the answers (voiced and sent in advance) to the questions on the broad agenda of Russia-U.S. relations.
On many occasions, I had to persuade the American public that Russia and the U.S. are not enemies. And that we cannot afford the luxury of not talking to each other, despite all the existing disagreements. Due to objective reasons, the well-being of the whole planet depends on the quality of Russia-U.S. relations. We must remember that after achieving the common victory in the struggle to preserve the very foundations of the human civilization 75 years ago, Moscow and Washington assumed primary responsibility for maintaining common peace and security, according to the UN Charter.
Basic principles of international communication enshrined in this document have eroded in recent decades. As a result, we witness an increasing chaos and a decrease of manageability in world politics. Coronavirus pandemic has further underscored the dangerous trend towards a rising national egoism of states to the detriment of the ability to jointly respond to mutual challenges. Not coincidentally, President of Russia Vladimir Putin in his latest article on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of Victory in World War II paid special attention to the history of shaping of the modern system of international relations, when the victorious powers proclaimed their commitment to act collectively, seek for compromises and reject attempts to implement unilateral aspirations.
It is our duty to preserve global strategic stability and prevent local conflicts fr om spreading for such conflicts can evolve into great wars. Today, it is more crucial than ever to strengthen the institutions designed to maintain world order. In this regard, the President of Russia put forward the initiative to convene a meeting of the heads of permanent member states of the UN Security Council. We believe that such a summit would play an essential role in finding ways to improve the international situation and prevent it from following a dangerous scenario with unpredictable consequences.
I will not dwell in detail on the causes of the deterioration of Russian-American relations. I can only say that I consider their downward trajectory over the past 30 years, with all the ups and downs, as a consequence of the failure to finish the Cold War with dignity, on the basis of equality, without winners and losers.
I emphasize that we are ready for constructive cooperation to the extent that Washington is ready for. Of course, for us it is vital that our relations are readjusted on the basis of respect for our legitimate interests and the need to find compromises on the issues important to Russia, not just in terms of engaging us in solving the tasks of the U.S. agenda.
It would be no exaggeration to say that arms control issues have always been a core of the U.S.-Russian relations. We are deeply concerned about the U.S. actions leading to the collapse of strategic stability. The architecture of military restraint and mutual transparency that proved to be effective during the most difficult moments of the Cold War has become a burden to Washington. It is de facto creating military strategic environment that is beneficial solely to the U.S. Washington’s goal is to be able to use force whenever it fails to achieve its objectives with political tools.
As history has consistently demonstrated, the attempts to pursue a foreign policy based on force or a threat of using force inevitably bring about international instability, growing conflict potential and confrontation.
Its alternative is a cooperative approach to finding common solutions to the most pressing problems of global security. The Russian-U.S. strategic stability consultations provide one of the key venues for such efforts. The latest in the series of meetings took place on June 22 in Vienna.
The mere fact that the two countries held such an event should be considered a positive signal. Instead of practicing megaphone diplomacy, we need a direct conversation on the most pressing issues.
Overall, the meeting was conducted in a positive manner. It focused on practical aspects of arms control as well as approaches to international security problems. The important outcome was that the parties confirmed their interest in continuing a dialogue. They also identified a few topics for further discussion. In particular, they agreed to hold a working group meeting on space issues.
The two sides also decided to conduct an expert-level meeting to discuss nuclear doctrines and strategies, including the use of nuclear weapons. They agreed to further examine verification and transparency issues. It is likely to be one of the most difficult topics as our countries’ approaches on these matters differ significantly.
They will also discuss the issues related to all types of weapons capable of performing strategic missions and affect strategic stability which are not covered by any international restrictive regimes.
The Russian delegation stressed that the arms control we would pursue with the U.S. should be based on parity and mutual respect for each other’s interests and concerns. Therefore, we support a comprehensive approach to agreements in this area: we do not see any point in treaties that fail to take into account key factors affecting strategic stability (for example, the interrelationship between offensive and defensive strategic systems).
At the same time, the Vienna dialogue revealed persistent differences between our countries on a number of key issues. The parties could not achieve a common understanding on the extension of the New START Treaty and the so-called China factor.
The Russian delegation reiterated its argument why under the current circumstances the extension of the Treaty would be a reasonable and mutually beneficial step. It would not only avert the risk of the nuclear arms race escalation and inevitable increase of military instability, but would also provide space to overcome existing difficulties and agree on approaches to expand the possible scope and membership of future arms control agreements. For those reasons, last December Russia announced that it was ready to start discussions on technical issues related to the extension of the Treaty immediately and without any preconditions. However, for the United States it does not seem quite sufficient.
We are convinced that preservation of arms control regime and strategic stability facilitates the search for mutually acceptable solutions. Contrary to the claims of certain U.S. officials, this approach does not imply protecting outdated or obsolete formats at all costs. It is about avoiding extreme steps when those who use arms control modernization as a pretext destroy its tried-and-true foundations.
Amid global concerns over the collapse of the INF Treaty and uncertain future of New START, we deem it important to reassure everyone that we do not intend to drift towards confrontation fraught with the end of humankind. Eighteen months ago we suggested that Russia and the U.S. should adopt a joint declaration on the inadmissibility of nuclear war. A positive reply has yet to be received.
I would like to conclude with the words the Russian president said on June 24 at the military parade commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic war: "We understand how important it is to strengthen friendship and trust between nations and are open to dialogue and cooperation on most pressing issues on the international agenda. Among them is the creation of a common reliable security system, something the complex and rapidly changing modern world needs. Only together can we protect the world from new dangerous threats".
Here is another important idea. "In the end, the root of man’s security does not lie in his weaponry, but in his mind. What the world requires is not a new race towards armament. It requires a new race towards reasonableness. We had better all run that race". These words were said by Robert McNamara more than half a century ago in San Francisco. We invite the U.S. administration to take with us concrete steps in order to fulfil these aspirations of the American politician.
The largest tank battle in history began 77 years ago. The Tank Battle at Prokhorovka commenced a Soviet counteroffensive in the wider Battle of Kursk. The Soviet counteroffensive at Kursk, which had begun on July 12, 1943 lasted until August 23, pushing the strategic initiative to the Red Army. For the remainder of WWII, Nazis never again regained the strategic initiative.
VISIT RUSSIA when it is possible again
IN SPACE WE TRUST
The Apollo-Soyuz mission that was the beginning of international cooperation in space turns 45 in 2020. By 1975 the USSR and the U.S. had been traveling into space for nearly 15 years, yet could do little to help each other in cases of emergency.
The first joint space mission involving two different states began with the launch of a Soyuz-19 rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome and an Apollo rocket from Cape Canaveral on July 15, 1975. The idea of the joint space mission was proposed by U.S. President Richard Nixon. The Soviet Union and the U.S. were to practice docking and adapting their radio communication systems to be able to assist each other in the event of an emergency.
On the evening of July 17, 1975, the Soviet Soyuz-19 spacecraft carrying Alexei Leonov and Valery Kubasov docked with the American spacecraft Apollo-18 with Thomas Stafford, Vance Brand and Deke Slayton onboard. This was the first space station involving multiple countries and an early predecessor of the International Space Station, which was launched in 1998.
HAVE A NICE WEEK
"Pipeline to Russia: The Alaska-Siberia Air Route in World War II" – now available online!
This publication by the U.S. National Park Service and Alaska-Siberia Research Center is free for the public. You are welcome to download and share this book with your friends, colleagues and affiliated institutions, and keep this title in your e-library.
The heroism and dedication of the Soviet and American participants of the Alaska–Siberia Airway will not be forgotten. It is our civic duty to express our deep respect to those whose efforts led to the program’s success and, in the process, brought the war to a close. This is our history. Future generations should be brought up with a respectful spirit of patriotism to understand this history of cooperation between our countries. This edition will preserve awareness of that massive effort for all time.
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