Interview with Viktor Sergeev

Viktor Sergeev is a political analyst and Director of the Centre for Global problems at Moscow State University of International Relations. He spoke to RT about the current state of Russia-U.S. relations and their prospects for the future.

Russia Today: Do you think that situation, the proposed plans for the missile defence base by the U.S. in Eastern Europe, is a danger for Russia?

Viktor Sergeev: Yes, to a certain extent because basically the deployment of the elements of this anti-missile system changes the state of the strategic stability.

RT: It shifts the balance of power…

V.S.: Of course it is not a problem. I cannot believe in an idiot's strike by the U.S. against Russia. But theoretically the state of strategic stability could be changed by such a deployment.

Of course these proposed missile defence bases is not the only sticking point between Russia and the U.S. There are also issues of Iran, nuclear program and Kosovo. How would you evaluate the current state of the relations between Russia and the U.S. as a whole.

At the moment it is possible to distinguish between relations at the top level, and it seems to me that personal relations between President Putin and President Bush are rather good. But the general international context, which produces a lot of problems between Russia and the U.S., relating to the situation in Iran and Kosovo, etc. In this area there are a number of problems that have yet to be solved.

RT: You mentioned that relations between Putin and Bush are quite good. But general media opinion often puts them at loggerheads on most points. Why do you think the general opinion is that relations have soured?

V.S.: This opinion is generally guided by the outcome of interaction on particular problems. For instance, on Iran's nuclear programme. Developments in Iran are understood differently in Russia and the U.S. This difference is more or less obvious. The same happens with Kosovo, on which the positions are even more polarized. Obviously such a situation influences public opinion.

RT: In 2008 we will have different administrations both in the White House and the Kremlin. How do you see the relationship between Russia and the U.S. evolving after that change.

V.S.: It's a very difficult problem because it's related to a kind of political forecast. It seems to me that in Russia the changes will not be so dramatic, especially in the context of Mr Putin possibly becoming Prime Minister. As for the U.S., it's very difficult to predict what the election will bring. I do not think that if the Democrats win the policy towards Russia will be drastically changed. I believe the general line will be the same. From this point of view I do not think the situation will be totally different compared with the current one.