Interview with Vladimir Yevseev
Russia Today: How likely is Russia to co-operate with the U.S. on this issue?
Vladimir Evseev: Well, to my mind, the co-operation between Russia and the U.S. on the anti-missile defence can be very limited enough. In particular the co-operation could be carried out in the information sphere because Russia has radar stations near the southern border and they could be useful to create an anti-missile shield in Europe. Moreover, Russia has modern missile systems like S-400 that could greatly enforce the potential of the anti-missile defence planned to be deployed in Europe. At the same time the co-operation envisages a lot of other problems connected with the anti-missile shield. I mean the regime of control over missile technologies, the implementation of non-proliferation treaty and many other issues. All that was discussed at the International Conference on Prevention the Nuclear Catastrophe in Luxembourg on May 24-25. It was clearly demonstrated there that this is a whole set of problems to be solved together. One cannot solve certain problem without solving another one.
RT: That is the Russian point of view. What is about the U.S.? Is Washington is really paying attention to Russia?
V.E.: Washington is rather pretending that it pays attention than really envisages the stance of Russia. Initially Washington did not plan to discuss this issue at all. But after Russia's tough response and what was really important – backing up by the U.S. allies in Europe like France and Germany the U.S. were forced to pay attention to Russia. This fact, not only the stance of Russia, but also the stances of their European partners made Washington take Russian view into account. Anyway, my opinion is that Washington is just pretending. As a matter of fact as long as the U.S. are a superpower it would will to solve all the problems themselves. But I would like to draw the attention of our viewers that there is a certain forecast that by 2020 China could be number in the world by GDP. What will be the U.S. doing then? Probably we would better get prepared for that and consider interests of major players on the global stage.
RT: But right now, despite what the plans are, in the future with China, as you say, right now we are in a position of stalemate. Do you think there could ever be a solution in the short time or are we really heading for another Cold war as some Western media describes it?
V.E.: To my mind the problem of Cold war does not exist any more. It is not possible, just think about it. If Russia is making the main income, most of the currency comes from Europe how could possibly Russia aim its missiles at Europe? Certainly this is not true. Most likely it is just an instrument of psychological pressure like aimed at better envisaging of the point of view, possible creation of common anti-missile shield. And of course it is bad to kill hen which brings you golden eggs. We have to find another solution and reach an agreement. I am a realist and I know that the U.S. plans cannot be changed. If they made this decision the ABM system will be deployed. But we should prevent them from worsening the situation like deploying ABM missile systems in Ukraine, if Ukraine enters NATO or launch the same programme in space, to prevent the deployment of airborne laser systems which are effective on the active missile trajectory. This we could call them to halt. Though Russia would not be able to stop ABM system deployment in Europe because the decision is already made.
Eralier, Vladimir Evseev gave his opinion on the latest development in the Russia-NATO dispute and the upcoming visit of top U.S. officials to Moscow.
Russia Today: Do you think Russia's alarmed view of NATO's activities is justified? Is it overreacting, as some experts say?
V.E.: Currently Russia and NATO have several reasons for disagreement, and it is NATO's unjustified expansion to the East which is to blame for this. Another point is NATO's decision to accept into its ranks countries like Georgia, with its unsettled territorial conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Ukraine, which hosts a Russian military base in Sevastopol. Naturally, these moves are of a great concern for Russia, since they affect Russian national security.
Another hot issue is certainly the deployment of anti-missile defence systems in the immediate proximity of our borders, namely, of the Kaliningrad region. Russia is most worried that the announced NATO step could be followed by others, like deployment of more interceptors in Eastern Europe, deployment of aircraft and so on. So it's understandable that Russia wants to know against whom these systems will be used.
RT: Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov says there are no grounds for dialogue on the co-operation on strategic missile defence. Does this mean he doesn't want to talk about any kind of defence strategy with the States?
V.E.: My opinion is different, and a number of acclaimed Russian experts share it. I believe that it is possible to connect the information networks of Russia's air defence system and that of NATO, which will provide means for detection of attacks aimed at, say NATO. It is a possible and a necessary thing. As for the interception systems, Russia has those only around Moscow at the moment, and it can hardly be used to defend NATO countries. So theoretically Russia might be interested in joining efforts to create such anti-missile systems.
But since Russia and the U.S. are now in a state of mutual nuclear deterrence, with thousands of ICBMs targeting each other, it would be a difficult thing in practice. In fact, the deterrence doctrine is the only reason to maintain these huge nuclear arsenals. And unless the situation changes and we get rid of all these missiles ready for launch at any moment, I would not expect any work on creation of joint interception systems.
RT: U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are coming to Moscow soon. Do you expect any significant results from their visit?
V.E.: I think the visit of the two high-ranking officials will help clarify Washington's stance on this or that issue. In fact, Washington needs Russia's assistance in dealing with many problems, like the grievous situation in Iraq, the delicate Iranian issue, the problem with North Korea and many others. So some sort of compromise is likely to be agreed on, and co-operation in terms of anti-missile defence would be just a part in a larger action programme for Russia and the West.
Earlier Mr Yevseev commented on the planned deplyment of American anti-missile system in Eastern Europe.
Russia Today: What are Russia's objections to this plan of installing anti-missile defence system?
Vladimir Evseev: Russia considers that this system that is going to be deployed has little to do with Iran, because Iran does not have the inter-continental missiles, and the system which the USA is going to deploy is aimed to be protection against nothing other than the inter-continental missiles. Besides, the resolution of the UN Security Council which was adopted in December 2006 prohibits any countries assisting Iran in the development of, among others, its missile programme, so the chances for Iran to create such a system are very far from being completed in the near future. So, the question suggests itself