For Global Voices Online: Two new presidents, two great powers, and three world leaders. That was the stage set as US President Obama earlier this week travelled to Moscow to meet Russia's President Medvedev and Premier Putin. With shared and conflicting legacies of idealism versus realism, the meeting held the promise of a new start in the two countries' relations. Still, as we rewind the "reset summary" for US-Russian relations, this was not exactly the outcome of the visit, at least when seen through the eyes of the Russian blogosphere.
Peace and sovereignty, democracy and human rights. Those were some of the issues at stake as US and Russian presidents Obama and Medvedev sat down in Moscow earlier this week to address the agenda of a troubled world, against the backdrop of global recession and climate change.
Even though expectations for a breakthrough in US-Russian relations had been downplayed ahead of Obama's meetings with President Medvedev - and Premier Putin - one would imagine that the very real issues at hand - nuclear disarmament, Afghanistan, Iran, sovereignty, democracy etc. - were to be widely debated in the blogosphere. Instead, reactions to the 6-8 July Moscow summit from the Russian and international blogospheres form a climate of anticlimax.
Barack Obama: Speech at the New Economic School - by Drugoi
Starting off from the Moscow horizon, the overall impression is exactly that Obama's visit was rendered a lukewarm reception by the Russian blogosphere, on either side of the political spectrum. As LJ user taranoff points out [RUS], in general, most people took little notice of the visit:
[...] If someone like Putin arrives in some town, then this town is sure to be scrubbed clean, shaped up, painted and polished. [---] And still, as Obama yesterday arrived in Moscow, it was as if - holey-moley - nothing could be noticed. [...]
[...] It is still not long ago that America was dearly loved in Russia. Behaviour towards the USA was like that of a young girl to her idol. The "cool States" was the ideal. Now times have changed. The attitude I've come across in media and blogs reminds me of a sour, lonely and old suitor, abandoned by everyone. I won't try to gather why it's like that. Apparently, not out of unanswered love, but generally because mentality is like that. [...]
[...] Generally, it was like colder times at the conference table - the fate of political prisoners and arms control. [---] From the outset, Obama typically split up Medvedev and Putin: Some praise and some critique. He said that Medvedev pulls ahead and Putin holds back. [...]
[...] What was the essence of Obama's visit to Moscow? I imagine it as if Obama signalled to the liberal part of the Russian élite to go on the offensive. As it appears, Obama came to engage himself into Russian domestic politics. Already before the American president's visit, he made it clear who the USA supports in Russia, having promised Putin not to disturb his and Medvedev's progress. As no official reply was given to this ordinary American insolence, one can conclude that the Kremlin agrees with Obama. [...]
[...] Obama's meeting with the opposition turned into true comedy. It's great that Nemtsov and Kasparov were invited from our side - but that's also all the good news there were. Further on the list were Mitrokhin, Gozman and Zyuganov. The State Department stands with one foot in the past. :) But seriously, a meeting with such a gathering is a flat puncture for those on the American side who prepared the visit. In such meetings, the real opposition must take part and not hopeless figures from the past. [...]
[...] How is it possible to sign anything with the USA (especially concerning such important issues as the START-agreement) when the USA demonstratively [XXX] Russia in the [XXX]. In my view, it is simply degrading to start any dialogue with the USA without lifting the Jackson-Vanik amendment. And especially if signing such documents is unfavourable to Russia. The USA once again "sinks" us as was always the case during Yeltsin and Clinton. [...]
[...] In my view, the word reset doesn't mean anything in real political terms. It is a word of deception, the usual soap bubble [---]. It appears on all our screens and means nothing new, but a return to the past, to business as usual. And previously, our relations with the Americans were either one of confrontation or domination - on their part, by the way. So, what will we be returning to after a "reset"? [---] Aren't they just fooling us as usual... [...]
Pictures, if not otherwise indicated, from america.gov/ru.