‘Any dialogue is better than none at all’ – top Russian senator on relations with US

The chair of the Russian Upper House has stressed the importance of parliamentary dialogue with Washington but added that the political situation in the US impeded effective cooperation – at least until the end of midterms.

In an exclusive interview with RT, Valentina Matviyenko recalled the recent visit to Moscow by the delegation of US lawmakers led by Senator Ron Paul. She noted that the event could not be considered full-fledged negotiations between the two parliaments as the US delegation lacked the requisite powers, but nevertheless emphasized the importance of such dialogue.

She also described the talks as an attempt by US politicians to listen to Russian arguments and understand the Russian position instead of towing the ‘blame Moscow for everything’ line being fed to the American public.

When asked about possible future Russia-US dialogue, Matviyenko said that it was difficult for her to make any forecasts due to the very complex internal political situation in the United States and the critical impending midterms. The Russian side will wait for the results of these midterms before making any decisions, she said.

At the same time, the top Russian senator praised the efforts of Senator Paul who had raised the possibility of the mutual lifting of sanctions imposed on parliamentarians. He is currently forming a group of US senators and congressmen with a view to inviting a Russian Upper House delegation to the United States.

I support any possibility of repairing contacts and starting a dialogue. Personal contacts are very important for this,” Matviyenko told RT, adding that she would definitely participate in the Russian Upper House delegation should the visit to the US be agreed.

Matviyenko went on to stress the importance of the Upper House Commission for Protection of Russian State Sovereignty, saying its creation was very timely and wise. Attempts by outside forces to meddle in Russia’s internal affairs are taking evermore sophisticated forms and even simple awareness and monitoring of Western partners is key, she said.

She also gave an example of the positive effect of the commission’s work: “When Google violated the laws of the Russian Federation and this fact was uncovered by the commission, a statement was made and such behavior was described as inadmissible. And Google, being a law-abiding organization, removed the elections-related content that had been posted in violation of our laws. This is a small but very concrete example.”

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