Michael McFaul Declares “Reset” in US-Russia Human Rights Issues
Kommersant reports (in Russian) on Michael McFaul’s (Obama’s chief advisor on Russia) talks with Vladislav Surkov (the architect of Russia’s “managed democracy”):
As Michael McFaul told Kommersant after the talks, he brought home to Vladislav Surkov Washington’s new approach to the issue of human rights in Russia: “We came to a conclusion that we need a reset in this respect too and we should give up the old approach that had been troubling Russian-American partnership.” Mr McFaul made it clear that the USA are not going to teach Russia democracy any more and cause irritation in Moscow; they are going to focus on practical work with NGOs instead.
Michael McFaul is known for his sober and clear understanding of the situation in Russia. He barely has any illusions on what the Russian political system is like. But he does really sound like many Realpolitik-infected diplomats, who call the West to turn a blind eye on Russia slipping down to dictatorship.
Is Obama’s administration really going to give the issue of human rights the last priority or how should we understand this “new approach”?
PS: Meanwhile, United Russia has faked about 1,000,000 votes (40% of official turnout) at Moscow municipal elections, according to statistical research (in Russia). Those who went to protest peacefully this fraud were arrested violently Monday night by riot police (including myself). Now we shouldn’t expect that this issue will be raised by US diplomats; otherwise it would definitely trouble the Washington-Moscow partnership.