News / Europe

Looking Beyond Magnitsky Lists, Kremlin Eyes Putin-Obama Meetings

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, listens to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at Kremlin ceremony, Moscow, April 15, 2013.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, listens to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at Kremlin ceremony, Moscow, April 15, 2013.
James Brooke
Russian President Vladimir Putin had a “positive” meeting in Moscow Monday with a top Obama Administration envoy, a Kremlin aide said.
 
Foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov said that he and President Putin talked about trade, missile defense and nuclear arms cuts with U.S. National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon.
 
Russia-American relations have been going through their coldest stretch since the Cold War era. The Kremlin accuses Washington of meddling in its internal affairs; Washington says the Kremlin wants a foreign enemy to build domestic support.
 
Now, with spring in the air in Russia’s capital, analysts say the meeting sends a signal that the Kremlin wants to move beyond the issue of visa black lists that has soured relations since December.
 
Dmitry Suslov, a U.S.-Russia relations professor at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, said the Kremlin wants to tone down the polemics surrounding the prison death of Sergei Magnitsky, the lawyer for an American hedge fund.
 
"The negative impact of the Magnitsky affair will be fading down in weeks and months to come,” Suslov predicted. "Ultimately, this negative impact could be overcome after the personal meeting of the two presidents, Putin and Obama, presumably this summer."
 
Last Friday, Washington issued a list of 18 officials banned from visiting the United States. The Kremlin was apparently relieved that it contained only mid-level names and less than 10 percent of the number of names that some American congressmen wanted.

Nevertheless, the Kremlin retaliated with its own list of 18 mid-level American officials banned from visiting Russia.
 
On Saturday, Duma hardliners called the list war “a hard blow” to U.S.-Russia relations. But they may be out of step with the new line from the Kremlin.
 
On Monday, state-run TV did not rebroadcast hardline comments made Sunday by Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Instead, state-run TV aired Peskov’s comments calling President Putin “a man of compromise.” Peskov said that Putin could compromise as long as no red lines are crossed affecting Russia’s security.
 
Russia’s government is looking ahead to Putin’s meeting two months from now at the Group of 8 meeting in Northern Ireland. After that, the Russians are hoping that President Obama will come to St. Petersburg in September for the Group of 20 meeting that Putin will host.
 
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that after meetings with Donilon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in recent days, he believes the Obama Administration wants to work with Russia.
 
"I have heard from Tom Donilon and John Kerry that they understand well the negative impact of a whole range of factors on Russia-U.S. relations," including, Lavrov said on national television Monday, the "Magnitsky List."
 
Suslov’s reading is that the Obama Administration is putting a higher priority on ensuring Russian cooperation in Afghanistan, North Korea and Iran — and a lower priority on building democracy in Russia.
 
"This policy has been successful because the Obama Administration is ready to take, to absorb these rules of the game,” Suslov said, referring to a series of steps the Kremlin has taken over the last six months to cut U.S. government programs and influence in Russia. “The Obama [administration] does not make big trouble over the authoritarian trend."
 
Human rights defenders say they are disappointed by what they call a small list of Russian officials hit with visa and financial bans. They say the list can grow, and they note that the European Parliament is considering adopting its own Magnitsky list of banned Russian officials for Europe.
 
"The Russians have made clear that, far from being interested in investigating the murder of Sergei Magnitsky, they are determined, on the contrary, to defend those responsible for his death — and they are ready to do it at the highest government level,” said American author and Russia expert David Satter, speaking from Amsterdam Monday after two weeks in Russia.
 
But the Kremlin may mute its reaction. Its priority now seems to be achieving results at the two Putin-Obama meetings scheduled for the next five months.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gen. Alexi Kolmogorov from: Russia
April 16, 2013 8:32 AM
petty, very petty... well, as Russia begins its spiral down the economic vortex of corruption theft and mismanagement, Russia is being gripped by fear... the stench of oppression and brutality once again permeate the stench that is called Russia... crime is through the roof, disease, suffocating corruption, apathy and degradation is hear again... we are becoming like the putrefaction of Arab dictatorship again... a junta of corruption is using terrorism to govern us again... fear rules here

by: Helmy Elsaid
April 15, 2013 4:55 PM
investigate sergei magnitsky killing

by: JGNY from: LINY
April 15, 2013 2:20 PM
Maybe they could talk about how America is disarming and removing the shields in Poland and possibly South Korea. Forget that, just give them our missle launch codes and make this easire

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More