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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora