Washington has no intention of bringing Snowden back to US
RT:What else is Washington trying to achieve?
Vyacheslav Nikonov: Well, I do not expect that Washington has any intention to really bring Snowden back to the United States. It is just unrealistic, because Russia cannot extradite him without losing face. Snowden is widely regarded in Russia as well as in the rest of the world as a whistleblower, not as a criminal. So there is no way Russia can extradite him without really losing face and respect in the rest of the world, including the United States where the majority of the public in favor what Snowden says or does.
In my mind to a large extent American foreign policy is domestic. So what Obama is doing or saying is more for domestic American consumption. Russia is not very popular in the US Congress; Russia is not very popular in the press. There are many accusations not just of Snowden case but of human rights violations. But I think these days America has more problems in Russia protecting its human right credentials, because of the Snowden scandal and of wire-tapping the rest of the world.
There are many people in the world and including the US media who are asking questions [as to] whether America is going too far in the war on terror violating the basic human rights and really wire-tapping the rest of the world.
RT:How might is this affair impact on the US approaches talks with its own counterparts about other issues?
VN: Well, I do not think it will really influence the agenda of Russia-America relations or bilateral talks in St. Petersburg too much. I do not think this whole situation as anything to do with impacting the agenda of G-20 summit, for which Obama is coming to St. Petersburg. As for bilateral agenda, it is not very impressive. There is of course cooperation on Afghanistan, especially in the transit to and from Afghanistan, and it will continue.
I do not think it will influence the relations as far as some important international issues are concern like Syria or Iran or Middle East in general, or the situation in the countries neighboring the Russian Federation. As for US-Russian economic relations they are quite low. So there is not much of an agenda to be influenced by that situation.
RT:Let's turn to Syria now. The Geneva-2 peace conference keeps getting pushed back. Could we finally see a breakthrough at this meeting?
VN: Well, I am not optimistic about the prospects of Geneva 2 if it happens. Because the positions of the sides are too different, especially of the fighting sides and of different countries, there is Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United States, some European countries on the one side, there is Russia, Syria, Iran on the other side. And the positions are not getting closer. So I think the situation in Syria will be more determined on the ground, on the battlefield rather than in diplomatic corridors.
So in general I would not overestimate the impact of the situation on Snowden or Obama not meeting Putin for a bilateral summit in Moscow on the whole agenda. And I would actually say that Obama’s reaction is really not too harsh. Instead he is going to Stockholm, not to some country which is hostile to Russia.