A congressional delegation from the US quietly traveled to Russia on 30 June and is expected to complete their trip on 5 July. That trip, which was reported here on the Duran, attracted astonishingly little media attention in the Western outlets.
This video may go some distance towards explaining why this is so:
Here, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is very pleased to greet the seven-member Congressional delegation. The American spokesman for the delegation, also expressed hope for better relations between the two mightiest world powers.
The Washington Post noted the significance of this visit to Russia:
The U.S. delegation, Russian lawmakers said, represented the most significant congressional visit to Russia after about a decade in which such visits were few and generally low-key. For more than a year, Russian officials have been voicing frustration that the improvement in U.S.-Russian ties that Trump promised in his presidential campaign had yet to materialize. With this week’s congressional trip, last week’s visit by White House national security adviser John Bolton and the upcoming Helsinki summit, Russians now hope that change is finally near.
Among the Russians meeting with the Republicans on Tuesday was Sergey Kislyak — the former Russian ambassador to Washington whose communications with Michael Flynn led to the former national security adviser’s downfall. Kislyak, now a member of the upper house of parliament, noted in an interview after the meeting that many of the Republicans sitting across the table were already known to him from Washington.
Appraisals of the meeting varied by group. For the American contingent, Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) described the meetings as “damn frank, very, very, very frank, no holds barred.”
“I asked our friends in Russia not to interfere in our elections this year,” Kennedy said. “I asked them to exit Ukraine and allow Ukraine to self-determine. I asked for the same thing in Crimea. I asked for their help in bringing peace to Syria. And I asked them not to allow Iran to gain a foothold in Syria.”
But for the Russians, the overall impression was that the meeting was extremely easy.
Duma member Vyacheslav Nikonov, on the other hand, said he had met with many American lawmakers in years past and that this meeting “was one of the easiest ones in my life.” The question of election interference, he said, was resolved quickly because “the question was raised in a general form.”
“One shouldn’t interfere in elections — well, we don’t interfere,” Nikonov said.
The fact that the congressional delegation consisted entirely of Republican members was not lost on the Russians.
“Since the Democrats actively accuse the Republicans of selling out to the Russians, it would naturally be strange if Democrats here were part of the group,” Nikonov said.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.