News / Europe

US Vice President Calls for Closer Economic Ties with Russia

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (R) shakes hands with Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev during their meeting in the presidential residence at Gorki, outside Moscow March 9, 2011.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (R) shakes hands with Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev during their meeting in the presidential residence at Gorki, outside Moscow March 9, 2011.
James Brooke

Visiting U. S. Vice President Joe Biden said in Moscow Thursday that economic modernization can only come with political modernization. He said foreign investors want predictability, transparency and the rule of law.

Two years after the Obama administration launched a campaign to improve relations with Moscow, Vice President Biden is calling for close economic ties with Russia.

Citing joint cooperation on Afghanistan, on sanctions on Iran, and on nuclear weapons control, Biden gave this verdict in Moscow on the political reset. "The reset is working. It is working for all of us, working for Russia, and I would presumptuously suggest, working for the world.”

He says the reduction in political tension has led to a dramatic softening of attitudes of Russians and Americans toward each other. Today, only two percent of Americans see Russia as a threat, he told an audience of business leaders and Moscow State University students. On the Russian side, he said, Russians with positive views of the United States have jumped from 17 percent in 2008 to over 60 percent today.

To build on this base, he says, the next step is to bring Russia into the World Trade Organization. "Let me make this as clear as I possibly can: President Obama and I strongly support and want to see Russia in WTO," he said.

Joining the WTO should be part of a wider effort in Russia to increase foreign investment by fighting corruption. Citing cases of ‘fortunes lost because of legal abuse' he said "Russia’s business and legal climate, quite frankly, is going to have to continue to improve. Because, right now, for many companies, it presents a fundamental obstacle."

Russia faces a presidential election one year from now. The visiting American made a forceful argument that economic modernization is linked to political modernization.

"No amount of government cheerleading, or public relations, or US support, or rebranding will bring wronged or nervous investors back to a market they perceive to have these shortcomings. Only bold and genuine change," Biden said.

Earlier Thursday, the American vice president, met behind closed doors with Russian opposition leaders. Speaking at Moscow State University in the only public address of his two day visit to Russia, he gave a textbook lesson on democracy, stressing the need for a free press, for free nongovernment organizations, and for viable opposition political parties.

"Polls show that most Russians want to choose their national and local  leaders in competitive elections. They want to be able to assemble freely,  and they want a meeting that is independent of the state, and they want to live in a country that fights corruption. That’s democracy," he said.

Also on Thursday Biden met with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The Russian caught the visiting American off guard by unexpectedly proposing to abolish visas between the two countries.  Mr. Putin said: "This would break all the old stereotypes between Russia and the United States. We would turn a very important page and everything would start over," he said.

Biden limited his response to saying it is a good idea.

In his public comments in Russia, Biden has repeatedly praised President Dmitry Medvedev.

After their meeting on Wednesday, he said: "Your personal leadership and progress has proved the skeptics wrong."

In another endorsement, he also said: "We fully support Mevedev’s vision of a nation powered by innovation and modernization."

In his public remarks, he has made no mention of Prime Minister Putin. The Russian press has speculated that the Obama Administration would prefer to see Mr. Medvedev as the official candidate in next year’s presidential elections.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

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