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Samuel Charap

Senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation

Ivan Timofeev

PhD in Political Science, RIAC Director of Programs, RIAC Member, Head of "Contemporary State" program at Valdai Discussion Club

After his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in May, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia had proposed a mutual non-interference pledge. He recalled the exchange of letters between U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov in 1933 in which, in return for U.S. diplomatic recognition, Moscow made pledges not to interfere in U.S. domestic politics and Washington made similar commitments. While this perhaps was an unfortunate analogy, since both sides in the Cold War attempted to meddle extensively in each other’s domestic affairs, the concept of elaborating norms of non-interference on a mutual basis might be the best way to stabilize U.S.-Russian relations and prevent the damaging episodes of recent years from happening again.

This article is written by an American and a Russian, so the judgments, characterizations and suggested options are likely to be less than satisfying to those on both sides who seek idealized victories over the other and eschew negotiated solutions. However, the approach we offer could point to a way forward in addressing this issue without doing further damage to a relationship that is already nearing the breaking point.

We do not seek to outline an agreed narrative of what happened in the past. We do not expect to convince our respective fellow citizens to change their minds on these matters. Frankly, we do not consider a common understanding of what happened to be a necessary first step. We begin from the premise that regardless of what has happened, the 2016 election episode created a dangerous new dynamic in the overall relationship.

Read full text in the War On The Rocks.

After his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in May, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia had proposed a mutual non-interference pledge. He recalled the exchange of letters between U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov in 1933 in which, in return for U.S. diplomatic recognition, Moscow made pledges not to interfere in U.S. domestic politics and Washington made similar commitments. While this perhaps was an unfortunate analogy, since both sides in the Cold War attempted to meddle extensively in each other’s domestic affairs, the concept of elaborating norms of non-interference on a mutual basis might be the best way to stabilize U.S.-Russian relations and prevent the damaging episodes of recent years from happening again.

This article is written by an American and a Russian, so the judgments, characterizations and suggested options are likely to be less than satisfying to those on both sides who seek idealized victories over the other and eschew negotiated solutions. However, the approach we offer could point to a way forward in addressing this issue without doing further damage to a relationship that is already nearing the breaking point.

We do not seek to outline an agreed narrative of what happened in the past. We do not expect to convince our respective fellow citizens to change their minds on these matters. Frankly, we do not consider a common understanding of what happened to be a necessary first step. We begin from the premise that regardless of what has happened, the 2016 election episode created a dangerous new dynamic in the overall relationship.

Read full text in the War On The Rocks.

Rate this article
(votes: 5, rating: 5)
 (5 votes)
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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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