Clever Russian Politician Lures American Congressmen to Russia...But For What Purpose?
Today, the delegation of US Congressmen has arrived from the USA to Russia; There are members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives among them. Although, they set their own timeframe for their visit. Nonetheless, will this become a logical prelude to the Putin-Trump summit? We talked about this in detail with Valentina Matvienko, who is serving as the Chairwoman of the Federation Council (the Russian equivalent of the Senate), and as a permanent member of the Security Council under the President.
— Good Afternoon, Valentina Ivanovna.
— Good Afternoon.
— You are cunning, Valentina Ivanovna. You probably just came up with the International Day of Parliamentarism, so that US Senators would finally come to Russia.
Valentina Matviyenko, Chairwoman of the Federation Council: We have long been suggesting that our colleagues from the US Congress resume dialogue; it's better to meet, try to hear each other's arguments, and conduct a dialogue. We didn't receive a response. Now, we are very pleased that the initiative to start such a dialogue comes from the US Congress.
— Will you welcome them?
— Unfortunately, although they asked me to, I can't welcome them, because on those days I'll be on a business trip in Zabaykalsky Krai and China. We informed them in advance that I wouldn't be here those days, but they couldn't change the schedule.
— Well, they've chosen to arrive as it fits them.
— Yes. But they certainly will be meeting with the head of our Foreign Relations Committee, senators, as well as with the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and there will be a meeting in the State Duma. I hope that this will open the way for future legislator contacts.
— One of them — Louisiana senator John Kennedy — is coming here with such a mood that I even wrote out a quote: «Some say that the Russian economy is, how to put it, — „in shambles“? — „in shambles“. Others say with the increase in the price of oil, the Russians are doing much better. While others say they're spending all their money on Syria and weaponry and the people are starving to death. Others say that's not true. So I don't know. I'm going to see it with my own eyes».
— This is the result of the Russophobic policy conducted towards Russia. Senators should be informed and educated individuals and it's a huge shame that they use such widespread and primitive clichés with regard to our country I hope that their trip to Russia will surely change their opinion.
— Anyway, the arrival of the US senators here is a prelude to the meeting announced this week between Vladimir Putin and President Trump in Helsinki. Which disagreements, in your opinion, are solvable or, perhaps, insoluble?
— If there's political will, a desire to agree, then I, as a past diplomat, believe there aren't any topics on which it would be impossible to agree because any negotiation involves compromises; any negotiation is a two-way street. And in any negotiation it is necessary to proceed from the mutual consideration of interests, as opposed to attempts to dictate and impose one's point of view from a position of power — it is counterproductive; in such case, no agreements will be reached.
— Well, let's let America and the way Russia looks from overseas just be; the US senators will arrive and, probably, will sort it out. But how do you assess the situation in the West from the standpoint of Russia?
— In regards to the West, in my opinion, the EU summit did not bring about any firm agreements concerning the most severe European problem — migration. And the discussion approach, in my opinion, isn't right. Instead of allocating money for the construction of new concentration camps for refugees...
— That's how you call them…
— ...it is necessary to understand the reasons why it happened in the first place. Today, we need to send funds to Syria, Libya, Iraq, and to Yemen, to stop the war there. Funds should be assigned for restoring infrastructure, establishing peaceful life, rebuilding houses, water supply, medicine — then, these refugees will return to their homes on their native land. This is what must be discussed.
Secondly, as you know, the OPCW mandate was recently changed. This event is unprecedented. This is a technical, expert organization, but it was delegated nearly prosecutorial responsibilities. In essence, this is an attempt to weaken the UN Security Council by depriving them of this function. The world is alarmed because of the destruction of established international institutions, international agreements and international rules, which, in fact, used to prevent chaos from happening in the world. Let's think of what it will lead us to. Look, the USA revoked its signature and withdrew from the Paris agreement. It was the most formidable work of all institutions, the entire international community in order to adopt such an agreement that would help preserve the climate, our planet. They withdrew. The United States withdraws from UNESCO as well. Now, the US is set to withdraw from the most important human rights institution.
— The UN Human Rights Council.
— Yes. The UN Human Rights Council. By the way, I want to say that in general in the modern world the role of legislators — the role legislation — is growing. This also concerns the attempts to resolve existing negative trends. Where others can't agree, parliamentarians can do it — they can agree. And we will work hard to do it.
— Thank you, Valentina Ivanovna.