U.S. veteran diplomat and political expert Henry Kissinger believes the U.S.-Russian relations are in the worst shape in half-a-century now, Russian diplomat and scholar Vladimir Lukin, who is a member of the upper house of Russian parliament, told TASS on March 24 on the sidelines of a conference on the history of American-Russian relationship at Georgetown University.
"I met with a person as authoritative as Henry Kissinger," Lukin said. "We had a long enough conversation at his home and he thinks the relations between us (the Russian Federation) and the U.S. are in the worst shape over fifty or so years." Lukin admitted frankly he was so surprised to hear Kissinger’s assessment that he even asked a follow-up question, if the former U.S. Secretary of State meant fifty or fifteen years. The latter man confirmed he was speaking about a period of fifty years beginning with John Kennedy, who was President from 1961 through 1963.
When the reporter asked Lukin if the current spate of the Russophobic hysteria was hampering his routine contacts in the course of the current trip to the U.S., he said it was not. Lukin said he had maintained perfect personal contacts with the people, who had been working on the Russian theme for many long year, since his time in Washington as the Russian ambassador. He said he would rather explain for the "current heightened emotionality towards Russia, including the Russian embassy (in Washington)" by the acute internal political struggle in the U.S. that is not related directly to Russia. All the same, he admitted that "this will certainly put brake on our relations for quite some time."
When TASS asked Lukin what, in his opinion, would be the right thing to begin normalization of relations with, he said it would make sense to improve the general atmosphere first. "I think we don’t have really many specific problems in our relationship but the real problem is a full loss of trust in each other," Lukin said. "This loss tells on really many concrete things. We need to start trusting each other again so that we could discuss problems, to say nothing of resolving them, and that’s something the Russian and U.S. people in power don’t have." "I hope changes will take place," he said. "As far as I know, a visit (to Moscow) by the U.S. Secretary of State is in the offing. If you take me, I’d being the discussion with the problem of trust." American participants in the conference spoke about State Secretary Rex Tillerson’s forthcoming visit to Russia in their conversations on the sidelines of the sessiions as if it was a firmly decided matter.
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