US ignores Russia’s offers of talks – Duma foreign relations chief

Head of the State Duma Committee for International Relations Aleksey Pushkov (RIA Novosti/Vladimir Fedorenko)
There is no contact between the Russian and US parliaments as the Congress has repeatedly ignored all initiatives of negotiators aimed at settling various international crises, a senior Russian MP stated in an interview.

Currently there are no contacts whatsoever between the State Duma and the US Congress, but this is not our fault,” head of the State Duma Committee for International Relations Aleksey Pushkov told Izvestia daily.

He noted that it all started in 2013 when leaders of the State Duma proposed that a delegation of MPs to Congress in order to discuss the crisis in Syria and possible ways to overcome it. At first, the US lawmakers agreed to this, but then replied with a refusal, Pushkov said.

Pushkov added that he personally had sent a message to his US colleagues via former US ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, asking for a meeting on neutral ground, such as Vienna or Geneva, but received no answer at all.

Any dialogue can be built on participation of two parties and we cannot impose it on the US if they think that it is not worth the effort. Since then there have been no relations between us,” he observed in the interview.

Pushkov noted that in his view over the past few years the United States were engulfed in anti-Russian sentiments.

Political scientists who arrive from Washington observe that never before, not even in the height of the Cold War years, not even under President Reagan, have they witnessed such anti-Russian hysteria and so much anti-Russian propaganda,” Pushkov stated. He then suggested that this phenomenon is connected with the change in objectives pursued by the US authorities – if during the Cold War they sought to defeat the USSR in foreign policy, now they want to overthrow Russia’s domestic regime.

Russian riot police scuffle with protesters during the "march of the million" opposition protest in central Moscow May 6, 2012. (Reuters/Mikhail Voskresensky)

In such circumstances I see no positive signals for inter-parliamentary dialogue with the United States, even though we do not dodge contacts with some of the congressmen,” he said.

When reporters asked Pushkov if he thought the US had already prepared a scenario for a ‘color revolution’ in Russia, the Duma official answered that this was possible, adding that there could be several such scenarios.

Earlier they had plans of the Russian Maidan set on the Bolotnaya Square,” Pushkov noted. [Bolotnaya Square is a large site near the Kremlin that witnessed violent clashes between protesters and police during a mass rally in 2012 which led to a high-profile trial and about two dozen convictions]. “The US authorities considered the participants of these events as a long-term movement that required political and informational support."

Today they maintain close contacts with the radical pro-American opposition represented by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Garry Kasparov and Mikhail Kasyanov. Of course, these people’s political chances are miniscule, but this is the best the US could get.”

The third scenario, according to Pushkov, is consistent economic pressure on Russia in hope that it would cause a fall in living standards and provoke mass protests that would question Putin’s authority.

These scenarios exist, but the question remains if they are feasible,” the MP concluded.