Opposition leader Alexei Navalny
(most likely to be jailed after a show trial ordered by Vladimir Putin)
Vladimir Putin is continuing his crusade against the remnants of opposition to his criminal regime. However, this does not seem to bother U.S. president Obama too much. Instead Obama dispatched his national security adviser Tom Donilon to Moscow in order to meet with the dictator and a number of his henchmen.
Putin - and a Russia expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington - are rejoicing:
The announcement of a “bilateral summit” meeting in Russia in September, and of the planned meeting between the two presidents on the sidelines of a Group of 8 meeting in Northern Ireland in mid-June, came as Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon, met in Moscow on Monday with Mr. Putin and other top officials to push for renewed cooperation on security issue. ++
The White House confirmed that Mr. Donilon had delivered a letter from Mr. Obama, but officials would not discuss its contents. Mr. Donilon later met with Yuri Ushakov, a senior adviser to Mr. Putin on foreign policy and a former ambassador to the United States. Other officials who took part, included a Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, and the American ambassador in Moscow, Michael A. McFaul, as well as Rose Gottemoeller, an assistant secretary of state.
Mr. Ushakov told the Interfax news agency that Mr. Donilon’s visit and the letter from Mr. Obama had sent “positive signals.” Mr. Ushakov said the letter from Mr. Obama “covers military-political problems, among them missile defense and nuclear arsenals.” He added, “The Putin-Donilon conversation had a rather positive nature, same as the messages sent by the Obama administration.”
Samuel Charap, a Russia expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington, said the announcement of the meetings between the two presidents was important because it sent a signal to officials at all levels that they could engage. He said this was particularly important given the Kremlin’s decidedly anti-American posture in recent months.
“To have that green light issued jointly in a very public way,” Mr. Charap said, “this is a step forward.”
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