Interview with Anatoly Adamishin

Anatoly Adamishin, the President of the Euro-Atlantic Association, gave us his thoughts on the Russian-American summit in Kennebunkport.

Russia Today: A friendly and relaxed atmosphere seems to be prevailing at the meeting. Can good personal relationship between the two leaders help boost U.S.-Russia relations in general?

A.A.: I have been following first Soviet-American and now Russian-American summits for something like 30 years, and I can't recall such a ‘family meeting’. Certainly, it can steady the relationship, but I don’t think this is a factor which is enough for [good] relations. I believe that if the two presidents are capable of reversing the negative trend in our relationship, and prevent it from becoming a hostage to the presidential elections campaigns in both countries, it would be good result.  It would make [Vladimir Putin’s] trans-Atlantic flight worthwhile.

RT: There have been ups and downs in the relationship in the past, but the U.S. and Russia never stopped co-operating on major international problems. Should we expect this to continue?

A.A.: I believe so and I hope so very much, because the core interests of the two countries coincide, and we may have a real partnership in many key areas like fighting terrorism, non-proliferation, curbing the illegal drug trade. But this partnership should be an equal one. This is the most important thing.  And if there is equality… It’s difficult to achieve, because the dimensions of the two countries are not comparable now.  But when we are co-operating, i t can be a good co-operation, a really equal co-operation.  And I think that what happens beneath the surface is much more important that what [we might think] is happening when we read papers or watch TV.  For example, even after this summit, when no documents have been signed, we’ll still have some important agreements,  on issues such as energy or maybe nuclear disarmament.  So it is a good sign.

RT: There are major disagreements between the U.S. and Russia on such issues as the U.S. ABM (Anti-ballistic missile) defence plans, Kosovo and human rights. So, what can we expect from this summit?

A.A.: I don’t think these difficulties will just disappear after this meeting. The main thing would be an agreement to talk, to try to settle these problems in a way, that would give both sides a way out.  I don’t think these questions are unsolvable. Iran, American plans for the sites in Eastern Europe – they all can be discussed and settled in the long run. There is one irksome, edgy question – the democracy issue. I believe the Americans do have to promote and defend democracy for themselves and for others – it really is an important matter. But it’s counterproductive to teach us how  we should run our own country. If there is understanding on this point, it would be another important result.  And frankly speaking, there is not much demand for democracy in today’s Russia.