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  • The Russians Are Coming!

    The Russians are coming! – to Capitol Hill, led by propagandists and PR experts. What on earth is going on here?

    Today the 28th Annual World Russia Forum opened in Washington DC. Attending the forum will be numerous Russia experts, diplomats, lobbyists, businessmen, scholars and US politicians. The forum will analyze the state of US-Russian relations and potential avenues and strategies for their improvement.

    However, judging by the majority of their panelists, the forum is aimed to advance a “Russia-first” foreign policy agenda. One of the most problematic speaker is Sergei Tsekov, a representative of the “Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.” The Crimea is a part of sovereign Ukraine, its “autonomous republic” status notwithstanding. Tsekov is a Russian proxy serving a quasi-separatist movement in Ukraine. His attendance turns the forum into a major propaganda boon for the Russian leadership’s irredentist agenda on Ukraine. Needless to say, the message this sends about Moscow’s view of Ukraine’s sovereignty is disturbing. Readers will remember Putin’s statements last April in Bucharest about Ukraine not being a real state.

    Another glance at the lineup reveals Igor Panarin, according to the Wall Street Journal, a well-connected former KGB analyst and current dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy, the author of the infamous anti-American theory that the United States is on an inexorable course to fracture into separate, feuding states. Other pro-Moscow mouthpieces include Yuri Mamchur, a US-baked Russia-firster and Gleb Pavlovsky, the Kremlin’s political advisor.

    Why Congress is hosting such an event remains a mystery, but we should treat Russian messages emanating from it with suspicion.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to The Russians Are Coming!

    1. Jamey, Central Calif says:

      Because they know that the Russian was correct on the fracturing and they need help to control each fracture or spin it into a direction that helps congress out the most. The Russians are here because they know that obama is a push over empty suit and are here to try to spin him to best suit their needs. Should be and interesting show.

    2. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      Congress is hosting this event as a recognition of the socialist regime in Washington of their great inspiration derived from mother Russia.

    3. Austin, Oregon says:

      You put quotes around "autonomous republic" when referring to Crimea, suggesting that it's some sort of self-proclaimed and otherwise illegitimate status, but you should know that The Autonomous Republic of Crimea is recognized by the Ukrainian constitution. The A R of C has even had its own legally recognized constitution since 1998, and this "Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea" you so skeptically refer to is its legitimate legislative body. Yes, Crimea is a part of sovereign Ukraine, but along with several other post-Soviet states Ukraine does include an area which is fully recognized as having regional autonomy. Please just be aware of that.

    4. Steve, New York says:

      I am glad someone set the record straight here on the Crimea's autonomous status, something that was painstakingly negotiated during the 1990s. This blog post author made it look like this was something Kremlin propagandists cooked up as a pretext for more imperialism.

      In terms of respecting sovereignty in the post-Soviet space, you may want to ask Stephen Schwartz what he meant in his last column for The Weekly Standard, when he more or less said the only reason Moldova is not part of Greater Romania is the illegitimate Hitler-Stalin Pact. So much for respect for borders and sovereignty, so long as the "colored revolutions" seem to be in favor of U.S. allies rather than Moscow. And we don't even need to go back to the Nineties and ask how much respect there was shown in Washington for Serbia's UN recognized claim to an autonomous Kosovo…

      My question to the author of this blog post is, was McCain advisor Randy Scheunemann acting America-first, or Georgia first, when he tried to drag the U.S. into Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's hopeless war against Russia in August 2008? And why are so many conservatives who normally loathe George Soros for financing the American Left and the Democratic Party's leftward turn willing to believe whatever his NGOs say on the subject of Russia? Talk about strange bedfellows…

      I am an American conservative who almost went to the World Russia Forum. While Panarin is who he is (I consider him the Russian counterpart to the perfectly respectable Paul Goble, albiet Panarin is more hungry for media attention) the other speakers all made mainstream points. And the head of the U.S. missile defense agency was on hand, so no wonder Heritage, Jamestown Foundation, et al are getting nervous about no longer being able to set the terms of the debate with respect to Russia. However, the Hudson Institute had people on hand as did the Center for Strategic and International Studies and several other think tanks.

      The World Russia Forum speakers correctly pointed out that the U.S. needs Russia now more than the Russians need the U.S., especially in maintaining the logistical lifeline for our troops in Afghanistan. They also said that for too long the debate in Washington has been one-sided biased against Russia, to a degree that even the Chinese, who are far more authoritarian, have a better image in the U.S. and receive more fair coverage! Perhaps if we were two trillion dollars in hoc to Moscow as we are to Beijing, and Wal-Mart was stocked with Russian rather than Chinese goods, this situation would be different. But the Bush Administration was asking the Russians not to dump their holdings of U.S. agency securities, including paper issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, just one month before the Georgia War started and relations plunged to a post-Cold War low. How's that for irony?

    5. Yuri Mamchur says:

      U.S. Under Secretary of State Hon. William Burns and Senator DeMint were among the many presenters at the 28th World Russia Forum. While Hon. Burns was positive about Russia’s progress and the U.S.-Russia relations, Sen. DeMint’s position regarding Russian policies and leadership was very negative and standard to Washington circles. Mr. Panarin’s presentation was very optimistic, as he ended his remarks by saying “Hopefully neither country will fall apart and we’ll achieve a normal working relationship.” Representatives of Abkhazia and Crimea did not receive their U.S. entry visas from the American Embassies in the respective countries; the visas are still pending. Overall, this event, attended by various corporate and academic representatives, was aimed at discussing how to make Russia and America cooperate on the issues of defense, business, and culture. We were honored to co-sponsor the conference.

    6. Edward Lozansky says:

      Conn Carroll forgot to mention that one of the Forum sessions was dedicated to no one else but Paul Weyrich, the icon of conservative movement, and as should be noted, the founder of Heritage Foundation. Among the speakers were David Satter of Jamestown Foundation and Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), both harsh critics of Russia. What is also missing in this blog report is that one of the main themes of the Forum was how Russia can help U.S. in Afghanistan since it more or less obvious that U.S. and NATO cannot manage this problem by themselves. Is it such a bad idea that it deserves Heritage's outrage?

      Finally, speaking about Heritage dedication to the freedom of expression I think people should know that Heritage maintains the office in Moscow, by the way, next to mine, and is free to push its agenda through the media and seminar/conference format with no limtations at all. So why Conn is so upset when a few Russians come here to express their views? Some fairness.

    7. Ludmila, VA says:

      The Heritage Foundation's critique of the World Russia Forum is a superb example the Neocon bias and Russophobia left over from the G.W. Bush Administration.

      This sort of attitude will not get the U.S. anywhere, not even to Afghanistan over the territory of Russia that the Pentagon so badly wants.

    8. Pingback: The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room » MIDDAY ROUNDUP

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