A personal meeting between the presidents of Russia and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, that took place the last Friday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, remains one of the key topics of the international politics, primarily because Washington de facto demonstrated a possibility of a direct dialogue with Moscow on the highest level, which the Obama administration preferred to avoid since 2014. Vestnik Kavkaza spoke with a member of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, Alexei Kondratiev, about what has changed after this meeting.
- In your estimation, how positive were the talks between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump?
- In my opinion, this was a breakthrough moment in the Russian-American relations and a sufficiently high starting point for development of the dialogue in the future. The personal meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump will soon allow the two leaders of the world's largest states to build the relationships in a civilized way in a tete-a-tete format . The attention that the leaders of the Western world showed to our president at the G20 as a whole shows the present level of attitude towards Russia, instead of the ideological cliches of our enemies and liberal mass-media of a pro-Western kind. The G20 summit in Hamburg, as litmus paper, showed to all that Russia is one of the leaders of the multipolar world and a country with a peace-loving policy, ready to participate in a dialogue with all the leading and secondary participants of the processes at any trouble spot of our planet.
- Does this mean that West’s positioning of Russia as an isolated country is a thing of the past?
- The statements that Russia is isolated were the fabrications of Barack Obama, when he called our country ‘a secondary regional power’. It is necessary to assess the situation not by these cliches, but by the achievements of the state in the national processes within the country and its role and place in the international space. Russia can not be called a secondary regional power either politically, diplomatically or militarily. Russia's economic achievements to date allow us to conclude that, sooner or later, by orienting the economy to the development of industry and trade on the domestic market, Russia will restore the former economic power that had existed before the collapse of the USSR and will be able to produce the high-tech products of the highest quality.
- Soon a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council will take place. What are your expectations from this event?
- To date, a lot of problems have accumulated, first of all, of interaction in different hot spots. The same Syrian issue, the channels of interaction are turned on and off. The very territory of Syria is covered by our missile defense systems and protected by the actions of our aircraft, so the collusions with the NATO airplanes are possible, and their consequences can be extremely sad. There are also questions on the northern direction, on the development of the Arctic territories, on missile defense system, when on the far-fetched pretext of fighting the DPRK, the AEGIS systems were unfolded in Romania and Poland, and the European part of Russia is at gunpoint. All these questions require their voicing and resolution in the direction of de-escalation and easing the tensions. I think they will all be stipulated, but not as before in the START III format - cut down a certain number of ballistic missiles so that we can control all the remaining ones. Discussions and agreements should not affect in any way the defensive potential and independence of our Motherland.
- In addition to the meeting between Putin and Trump, the effective inter-Syrian talks were held in Astana the last week, which resulted in creation of a new de-escalation zone in the south-west Syria. How do you assess the Astana format and the cooperation of Russia, Turkey and Iran in the settlement of the Syrian crisis?
- Since the last December, when the truce process and format of the talks in Astana were announced, a huge step forward has been taken to resolve the Syrian crisis. Still, there are the controversial issues, but the region itself is not easy, and it is very difficult to regulate and balance the interests of the mass of the population at the national, religious and territorial levels. Participation of Turkey and Iran, the countries having different goals in the Syrian situation, in the negotiations and settlement is a very serious achievement of the Russian diplomacy. To date, we see the results of this work: more than 260 terrorist groups laid down their arms and moved to peaceful life, more than 2.5 thousand settlements refused to continue the armed struggle. A national reconciliation should serve as a basis for the political process to create new conditions for the development of the Syrian Arab Republic in the framework of the international law and without bombing and supporting militants, as the Western coalition does.