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Igor Ivanov

President of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (1998–2004)

Colin Powell sadly passed away. Just a month and a half ago, he phoned me to wish a happy birthday. We recalled the years of our joint work. We tried to keep our dialogue alive and kicking, while preventing, where possible, a slide into confrontation even in the most difficult of times, such as when the stances of Russia and the United States were fundamentally at odds.

In the early 2000s, the Russian-American relations were in the grip of serious challenges. And if then it was to some extent possible to avoid direct confrontation, a certain merit belonged to Colin Powell.

He was a patriot of his country, but he was not a hawk. With military service and a track record of Vietnam veteran behind him, he was well aware that the differences between Russia and the United States could not be resolved by military means.

Colin Powell sadly passed away. Just a month and a half ago, he phoned me to wish a happy birthday. We recalled the years of our joint work. We tried to keep our dialogue alive and kicking, while preventing, where possible, a slide into confrontation even in the most difficult of times, such as when the stances of Russia and the United States were fundamentally at odds.

Once we were standing together at the UN headquarters in New York and he said, looking out the window, that he, a schoolboy back then, had to wash the floors in warehouses on the other shore of the Hudson to make a living and earn for his studies. He was proud to have gone through a difficult life path, becoming the Army’s youngest brigadier general and then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

I met Colin Powell when he was appointed U.S. Secretary of State in the administration of President George W. Bush, becoming the first African American in the country’s history to hold this position. Needless to say, Russia and the United States have experienced difficult situations over the four years that we have been working together. Suffice it to recall the unilateral withdrawal of the U.S. from the ABM Treaty and it waging the Iraq War. We firmly defended the positions of our countries in negotiations and informal conversations. It is in such complexities that the human qualities of a politician are manifested. Colin Powell was a worthy opponent who would always show respect for the interlocutor, never trying to embarrass him or her in order to get an immediate advantage. Therefore, he was highly respected among his colleagues.

In the early 2000s, the Russian-American relations were in the grip of serious challenges. And if then it was to some extent possible to avoid direct confrontation, a certain merit belonged to Colin Powell. He was a patriot of his country, but he was not a hawk. With military service and a track record of Vietnam veteran behind him, he was well aware that the differences between Russia and the United States could not be resolved by military means. He advocated dialogue, continued arms control negotiations and interaction in crisis regions, primarily in the Middle East. Powell repeatedly visited the Soviet Union as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then Russia as the U.S. Secretary of State and treated our country with great respect.

We all know that this day will come. Nevertheless, it is always very difficult to lose relatives, close people and colleagues. Colin Powell left fond memories of himself. Today’s America will lack statesmen of this caliber.

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Poll conducted

  1. In your opinion, what are the US long-term goals for Russia?
    U.S. wants to establish partnership relations with Russia on condition that it meets the U.S. requirements  
     33 (31%)
    U.S. wants to deter Russia’s military and political activity  
     30 (28%)
    U.S. wants to dissolve Russia  
     24 (22%)
    U.S. wants to establish alliance relations with Russia under the US conditions to rival China  
     21 (19%)
 
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