November 13, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 9030

Russian Experts: U.S.-Russia Relations Are Lowest Since Cold War Ended; Biden Administration May Benefit Russia But Russia Cannot 'Expect Gifts From... Uncle Sam'

November 13, 2020
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 9030

On November 8, 2020, Russian daily Vechernyaya Moskva interviewed two Russian experts on whether Russia could benefit from a Biden administration. The two experts, Sergei Stankevich and Ilya Kravchenko, answered that Russia may politically gain something if a Biden administration agrees to extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-3) and resume the dialogue with Moscow on strategic security issues. However, the two Russian experts agreed that Russia cannot "expect gifts from the old Uncle Sam."

It is worth noting that Russia did not yet recognize Joe Biden as President-elect of the United States. "We believe it's correct to wait for the official results of the elections to be announced," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on November 9, 2020.[1]

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Russia did not hold any contacts with Biden's representatives. "We did not have any contacts at various periods of the current events in the U.S. with representatives of Joe Biden's campaign headquarters," Ryabkov said. He then added: "We remember that hideous behavior of responsible persons in Washington [in 2016], who neglected not just ethics but even common sense, and started accusing us of some intentions, which have nothing to do with normal diplomatic work. This time we made an exception for ourselves and refrained from fulfilling our direct duties on establishing such contacts. Correspondingly, we are not planning to do so in the future," Ryabkov stated.[2]


Following is the interview with Vechernyaya Moskva:[3]

Russian Expert Stankevich: "Russia Could Benefit From A Democratic Administration," But "Hostile Rhetoric Is Likely To Intensify"

"Sergei Stankevich, a political scientist, historian, and an expert at the Anatoly Sobchak Foundation, believes that under Biden, Washington's anti-Russian rhetoric will only grow stronger. 'With Joe Biden assuming power, we can expect some changes in the U.S.-Russian relations. Their overall hostile rhetoric is likely to intensify, at least at first. Especially the sharp invectives against Russia's policy toward its neighbors: Ukraine, Georgia, and Belarus,' he said.

"At the same time, Russia could benefit from a Democratic administration. First, Biden may agree to extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-3) and resume the dialogue with Moscow on strategic security issues, Stankevich said. Among other advantages are the restoration of relations with the EU and China. 'Biden will undoubtedly try to strengthen NATO and restore Trump's damaged relationship with the leaders of the old Europe. This could help finish the construction of our long-suffering Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Biden will likely reduce the intensity of the trade war with China, which will accelerate the recovery of the global economy and thereby indirectly help us, as there will be a rise in demand and prices for Russian raw materials,' Stankevich added.

"Despite all these positive effects on Russia, 'we have no reason to expect gifts from the old Uncle Sam.' Sustainable growth and prosperity is something we must achieve ourselves, instead of relying on the policy of 'endless stabilization,' the expert says."

Russian Expert Kravchenko: "The Only Way Washington Could Damage [Russia-U.S. Relations] Even Further Is To Increase Its Support For Ukraine"

"Ilya Kravchenko, an Americanist and a RISS [The Russian Institute for Strategic Studies] expert, expects the U.S. to toughen its stance against Russia. 'Biden will continue to take a hard line on Russia. In the U.S., there is a bipartisan consensus on containing Russia and maintaining the sanctions pressure on it. Biden, while he was still vice-president under Obama, was one of the architects of the sanctions regime against Russia,' he said.

"Just like Stankevich, Kravchenko foresees the extension of the START-3 Treaty under Biden and a new round of disarmament dialogue. Given that the United States has already withdrawn from the INF Treaty, 'START-3 remains the only key disarmament treaty subject to further negotiations.'

"At the moment, U.S.-Russian relations are already at their lowest level since the end of the Cold War; it would seem that nothing could make them worse. The only way Washington could damage them even further is to increase its support for Ukraine, Kravchenko believes. 'The likelihood of more drastic changes toward Russia under Biden is low. It's worth paying attention, however, to Biden's position on Ukraine, and Ukraine's significance for U.S.-Russian relations. If there are any changes in this respect, they will be negative. Washington's support for Kiev may gain momentum, since Trump, being busy with other issues, completely abandoned that direction,' the expert added.

"The exact course of the Biden administration won't become clear until after January 20, the inauguration day of the new U.S. president."


[1], November 9, 2020.

[2], November 11, 2020.

[3], November 8, 2020.

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