By Lucian Kim, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Lucian Kim has chronicled the Moscow protest movement on his blog at luciankim.com. The views expressed are his own.
U.S.-Russian relations took a new hit in the last days of 2012 when President Vladimir Putin signed a law prohibiting Americans from adopting Russian children. The ban was the Kremlin’s promised “asymmetrical response” to a U.S. blacklist of alleged Russian human rights violators. Given the dismal condition of Russian orphanages and the willingness of Americans to adopt sick or disabled children, the measure ended up looking not just disproportionate, but cruel and spiteful.
Putin gave his justification for the adoption ban during his annual press conference in December. It was the indifference of American officials toward the fate of abused adopted Russian children, he explained, as well as the attempt by the U.S. to spread its legal jurisdiction around the globe.
“What’s normal about being humiliated?” Putin lectured a critical Russian journalist. “Do you like it? Are you a sadomasochist? Our country must not be humiliated.”
The issue of adoptions has overshadowed relations between the former Cold War rivals for years, with the Kremlin incensed about the 19 Russian children who died because of neglectful or abusive adoptive parents in the U.S. More than 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by Americans over the past two decades, and an arduously negotiated bilateral agreement, designed to address Russian concerns, just went into effect in November. As of January 1, it is null and void.
The adoption ban says more about Putin than anything the U.S. did or didn’t do.
President Obama announced a “reset” in relations after taking office four years ago. Critics have since trashed the policy as ineffectual and overly friendly. Yet the dirty little secret of the reset is that it wasn’t a new start at all – it was simply the return to the diplomatic routine of bows and curtsies after George W. Bush’s unilateralism had run roughshod over Russian sensibilities.
More from GPS: What Obama needs to do about Russia
Obama was less interested in turning Russia into an ally than preventing a testy Kremlin from obstructing his foreign policy goals of stabilizing Afghanistan, containing Iran’s nuclear program and advancing nuclear disarmament. Obama found a willing partner in Putin’s protégé, then President Dmitry Medvedev, who took to American innovations such as the iPhone and Twitter with childlike wonder.
The reset’s mistake was that it was premised on the naïve belief that Medvedev was an independent political actor and Putin’s successor. When it became official that Medvedev was merely a stand-in to help Putin avoid a constitutional limit on three consecutive presidential terms, the reset was as good as over.
The adoption ban is only the culmination in a series of setbacks in the U.S-Russian relationship. After demonstrators took to the streets of Moscow to protest over election fraud in December 2011, Putin blamed the United States for fomenting unrest. When Michael McFaul, the architect of the reset, arrived in Moscow as U.S. ambassador a year ago, he was greeted with unprecedented harassment by state media and Kremlin-sponsored youth groups.
Putin’s return to the presidency in May marked a hardening of xenophobic, reactionary positions inside Russia. Putin snubbed Obama by refusing to make his first foreign visit to the U.S. Hastily passed legislation gave law enforcement agencies a new arsenal of weapons to wield against domestic critics. In the fall, USAID, the State Department’s development arm, was kicked out of Russia, and the Kremlin withdrew from the Nunn-Lugar program to reduce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons threats.
The ostensible reason to ban adoptions by American parents was Obama’s signing of the so-called Sergei Magnitsky Act, named after the Moscow lawyer who died in pre-trial detention after accusing law enforcement officers of a $230 million tax fraud. Given the already poor state of relations, the White House wasn’t enthusiastic about the act, which sanctions Russian officials suspected of human rights violations. Ironically, Obama signed the law as it was attached to a bill normalizing trade ties with Russia.
Putin could easily have ignored the largely symbolic U.S. law. But any critical mention of Russia in Washington only serves Kremlin propaganda about America’s hostile intent. Putin needs the U.S. as an enemy, because it builds him up as a brave leader and allows him to crack down on internal dissent. The regimes in Iran, Venezuela or North Korea are no different in their dependence on U.S. censure – the harsher, the better.
The real threat to the Kremlin is not that the U.S. will invade, but that it will forget about Russia. The fear of being forgotten is the reason behind saber-rattling over American missile defense or the flailing of the Russian veto in the U.N. Security Council when it comes to Syria.
Putin’s pet project is a “Eurasian Union” with former Soviet republics to strengthen Russia’s position in the world. The problem is that the Kremlin no longer has the imperial clout of the czars or the ideological zeal of the communists to make lasting partnerships attractive. Today, Russia has no allies except for Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan, three neighbors that keep friendly relations in the absence of any better alternatives. Putin plays up China as a “strategic partner,” though the Chinese view Russia as little more than a supplier of raw resources.
Russia is still grappling with the loss of empire after the Soviet Union collapsed as a superpower in 1991. For lack of any new big idea to help unify the country, the Kremlin offers clichés about nefarious American plots and foreign agents sabotaging Russia from within.
The decision to prohibit adoptions by Americans shows the paucity of options at Putin’s disposal. How the ban will now earn Russia respect and put an end to perceived humiliation is anybody’s guess.
Beeing forgotten is the best that can happen to a country nowadays. It means all is well.
I doubt if the Russians care, whether the US remembers them or not. Under Putin Russia's booming economy and assertive foreign policy had bolstered national pride. Russia is promoting its perceived interests in the former Soviet states more openly, even at the cost of antagonising the US.
Tensions with the US are – mutually – psychosomatic! The Cold-War mentality still persists. The different issues involving anti-missile system and missile defence shield, Russia's sensitivity to and America's gnawing rebukes on treatment of human rights activists and opponents of the Kremlin resulted in a downturn of the relations between the two.
That's right, crazy art. The author – a victim of false propaganda. And write this stupidity is not in the U.S., but in Moscow. The same 2% Jewish provocateurs, longing for the days of 90 years. Time when Russia was flying into the abyss with a drunken president-Jew. And they took all they wanted and to build up the country's crony parallels. It must be said: the Jews – the main problem of Russia. Their national quality – theft, nepotism and slander. America is their victim. Americans are dying in the Jewish wars in the Middle East, just because you are fooled because the Jewish lobby in the Senate. Sooner or later you will understand that, as recently realized the Russians. Russians see the U.S. is not worse than other countries. There is no animosity. Putin – the legitimate president, who voted for the 63% of the population in the most open elections. Welcome to Russia!
I aagee fully with j. von HETTLINGEN.
Interesting... Finally some article (from Lucian Kim) with real understanding things and thinking in Russia. And of course here they are – immediately some "Russian patriots" like Daniil Burov – they are so "true patriots" that write only in Russian on English-speaking site, spreading lies about organ-harvesting from Russian adopted children in USA. And 160 MILLIONS of abandoned children in America. Half of the American population. I am serious. O.K. He's deliberately misinformed, if not delusional. What is sad – that so many people applaud him.
The author is absolutely right. The frequency with which "America" and "american" are being envoked in the government-run Russian media is staggering. The rethoric and even the language used are very similar, if not identical, to the ones once used by the Soviet media in the height of the Cold war. It must pain Putin to see that his efforts, internally, to re-build Russia's image as America's main geopolitical counterpart have largely gone unnoticed in Washington until Recently. The anti-adoption act was so hastily drawn, adopted by Duma and signed by Putin into law that one can not help but think that the Magnitsly act was a much-anticipated opportunity that finally presented itself.
LOL. Is funny how russians and russianlovers represent Russia like some kind of superpower. Who has been there knows that the country is a hell hole besides some places in Moscow and Saint Peterburg. Everyone wants to leave and go somewhere else. This article is true to the bone. BTW, are the p... Riots out of prison yet?.LOL... Russia
Just imagine, if russians dont care do you think that americans give a crap? I hope russians stop coming to America ilegally!
Will somebody here explain to me that with all the orphans and homeless children here in America why American couples need to adopt Russian children? And who are we to criticize the Russians for human rights abuses while we torture our political prisoners at Gitmo and other places around the world? I guess that with these ignoramuses here, the answer is NO!
This "why don't people adopt American" has been coming up in every discussion forum on this topic since the ban came into effect. Adoption is a deeply personal and complex issue; reasons for adoption and the geographic choice for adoption are multidimensional.
As a prospective adoptive parent from Russia who has already traveled to Russia once to meet our prospective adoptive son, I can assure you that every adoptive parent looks into domestic adoption as an option (it is in many way preferable to the hassle of international bureaucracy and the tremendous expense of extended international travel) but in many cases the doors are closed for a number of reasons, including but not limited to stringent age requirements, concern about open adoptions, and major discrimination in the domestic adoption community against people who lead secular or non-religious lives. The point is every child deserves a loving family no matter what line on a map behind which they may have been born. A child is a child is a child.
Please do not cast cruel and uninformed judgments against parents who opt to adopt internationally. Those of us in pain from the fact that our Russian adoptions have now gone off the rails do not need unnecessary pain inflicted by uninformed bombs being lobbed by the peanut gallery.
So? The Russians were too friendly allowing you to adopt with less difficulties than in the USA. No wonder, that when the USA stopped pretending to be a friend, the Russians stopped being friendly and forgiving.
One more thing. Try to be honest. Stop saying that Putin has banned Americans from SAVING Russian children. Admit that has banned Americans from adopting a child EASILY.
Ordinary Americans know who is, in fact, Sergei Magnitsky? No. You do not give accurate information. Magnitsky – a thief, a Jew. Browder, who was hired to skillfully evade Russian laws and steal on the resale of securities of public companies. Thus they were able to steal a lot of money before they are calculated and driven out of the country in fear of criminal court.Browder had, but held his anger at Russia for having failed to pull off even more. His mercenary lawyer Magnitsky was arrested at the border and placed in a detention center for investigation. Nobody, of course he was not killed. At least part of the authorities (there is a possibility to order the murder of the witness from abroad). And now this Browder toured the U.S. and Canadian synagogue, pulling the lobby in the Senate. Guys, this is a trivial revenge! Revenge of the thief, a blow to the dirty hands. Putin threw this pack CAA broom from Russia and Russians are pleased this change in the business.
Thanks for your informative and heartfelt response kwa. There are so many who are in need of intelligent loving guardians like yourself. My you be blessed with a connection soon.
Adopting american kids is a lot more expensive and bureaucratic process.
Do watch the first 10 minutes of the movie named "Canadian Bacon". Hovever, political scene is rather second place nowadays in the Western World. So much is going on in Weather and Eastern Politics... Relax and enjoy.
Good overview of the diplomatic tension leading to the adoption ban and analysis of domestic russian affairs. Abysmal reading of the present international arena. The US would never 'invade' Russia, and to seriously utilize this even as a rhetorical ploy is stupid. Moreover, the article neglects to mention the interdependence between the Russian, iranian and Venezuelan regimes, which is by consensus the most important aspect of the glossed over quasi-alliance between these powers. Back to the economist and fore gin affairs, cnn doesn't cut it.
Adoption business is very shady and corrupt, that's one of the reasons why Russians decided to shut it down. Regarding China, it's true that Russia, is just business partner with China, but at least an equal one, since it doesn't owe 2 trillion dollars to China. I keep laughing at the headline of this article: "Forget about Russia?" ....oh really? US is not happy with the current Russian government and is probably dedicating considerable resources in an attempt to influence it. I don't see how can America just simply "forget" about its strategic and geopolitical enemy, where's the logic in that?
Yes. Obama spent about $5 billion on "democracy promotion" in Russia (to no avail since Russians do not trust America anymore). That amount doesn't seem like disinterest.
You have an interesting take on adoption, Ragozzi. How many times have you adopted? To make broad, sweeping generalizations such as this shows your ignorance.
Leaders that have no support from their own people; are not Leaders, but only a fool who cannot accept his failure to lead!~LUIS ANGEL
The whole thing goes even deeper; "Russia" (yes, even it's name is "borrowed", from a country centered on Kyev, hundreds of years before Principality of Moscow came into its own) has always been a contrived country; little more than an ever expanding gangster domain, a highly hierarchical structure where those on lower rungs of the pyramid are and are always at the risk of life and limb, certainly personal possessions. "Russia's" high-brow claims to "culture" are a joke, it's existence questionable and continuing only through military/police might and inertia. A Potemkin country in every sense of the word.
"Russia" does not fer being forgotten as much as that the facade will slip and it will be "found out". Hence the posturing, sabre-rattling and continuous attempt at empire building. That is all the gangsters in charge know how to do, and think it's what other, real, countries do as well.
The problem with "reset", was that in a naive and juvenile attempt to placate the gangsters, Obama has abandoned real countries, erstwhile allies in exchange for a deal with the gangsters that was never going to take or hold.
America is rich and powerful, and those allies are not, and so they will likely have to swallow their feelings and continue working with Washington; but they are not likely to forget. Pray America remains on top never actually needs their help.
America is rich and powerful because it can borrow vast amounts of money. Not sure though how does that contribute to the country's strength..... If the borrowed money was spent on building the infrastructure that would be a different story, but it isn't.... The third world country you just described has practically no outstanding debts and solid economy (although resource-based) I don't care if you hate Russia, that's your right, but the truth is that Russia has much brighter future in terms of the economy then the "rich and powerful". And by the way, I hope US finally develops its own reliable way to deliver astronauts into space, because it shouldn't rely on the third world country forever ;-)
The third world waste-of-space can has no outstanding debts and can deliver astronauts to space because it can, and always could, ignore the demands of its subjects for super expensive welfare state; America can not (even if it should).
The "solid" economy will collapse now that the price of oil is on a downward spiral because of fracking.
I do not hate, so-called "Russia"; I just know what it is, and am not naive enough to romanticize an ersatz country, that is nothing, and has never been anything but, a giant prison and gangster compound.
Russia ignored the demands of its subjects in the communist times, now it's not the case. America cannot do much without taking Russia's opinion into account. Syria is a good example of that – NATO would love to bring their troops in, but Russia said no, and they can't. Russia is the global player and USA has to answer to its demands whether it likes to or not. That's the fact of life, and Russia will keep re-asserting its role in the global politics, so you better get used to it.
Вы так много рассуждаете о "бандитской стране третьего мира" и о "мощи Америки", что возникает мысль: а все ли в порядке у вас с головой? Ваша страна действительно не может доставить своих космонавтов на орбиту. Даже в ваших кораблях используются наши двигатели, потому как вы технологически отстали от "отсталой страны". Ваша "не-бандитская страна" ведет только две официальные войны в Ираке и Афганистане, а еще бомбит кучу сопредельных государств, убивая гражданское население. Где там оружие массового уничтожения Саддама? Его не было! Зато были боеприпасы из обедненного урана в Югославии и бомбардировки белым фосфором в Аль-Фалудже! Где демократия в Ливии? Только десятки тысяч трупов – и все из-за того, что Каддафи решил отказаться от доллара и ввести для Африки золотой динар. Чтобы защитить свое право беспорядочно печатать деньги вы разбомбили еще одну страну. Ответила ли США за свои военные преступления? Гаагский трибунал давно ждет Клинтона, Буша, Обаму и их подельников. Соединенные Штаты со своим многотриллионным долгом, выводом войск из Афганистана через перевалочный пункт в Ульяновске, буксующими нападками на Иран и Сирию теперь как никогда нуждаются в России. Кстати, киевское государство называлось "Киевская Русь" – даже тут вы обосрались в своих аргументах. Так что вам пора смириться: США больше не смогут жрать за счет всего мира, и ее слово теперь будет далеко не решающим. Ваше место теперь у параши.
Всё правильно говоришь, так и есть!
Thanks to both you and Andrew, Daniel. Your posts are quite correct although most Americans are just too dumb to read Russian.
Не тратьте свое время на спор с недалеким человеком, это все равно ни к чему не приведет.....
In another post here, you stated that in the US 160 millions of children are abandoned and hundreds of adopted Russian children are harvested for organs. You are clearly misguided. Still – you are applauded by so many others... Why? Clearly they do not read what you write critically. Spoiled by propaganda? Most probably.
it was called kiev rus kingdom and russians and ukrainians where one people back then. There were also many other cities which are now in russia like novgorod who were just as important as kiev. The opposite is true ukrainians chose to be different instead being russian. Learn history you bigot instead spreading around false idioticy.
Russia doesnt fear anything like america russia is now in asia too to play its role since aipec. And unlike australia or america who are fake asian countries who try to to center asia into the pacific russia is a true asian country.
I almost decided to read the article, but then I remembered it was CNN, so I scrolled down and posted this.
Mr Author: Apologies but you know jack all about Chinese opinion. By god, I am not a Commie and still a China and for the count that man is a legend. We see him as a strong leader with a powerful sense of his own justice. Standing up to US just shows he got spine and is not afraid to challenge the US imposed norm. Most of us recognise Russia because of him. And certainly we dont see him as a mouth that disgorge raw resource!
Спасибо за объективность. Очень многие действия России относительно США вызваны именно несправедливостью и неравноправием в отношениях. И Путин теперь не допускает подобной ситуации: на каждое негативное действие следует противодействие. С другой стороны Россия всегда стремится к конструктивному диалогу. Не когда США пытаются продавить в Совбезе ООН очередную "бесполетную зону" для уничтожения неугодной страны. А когда это приносит взаимную выгоду – как транспортировка космонавтов, вывоз военных грузов из Афганистана или торговое взаимодействие в рамках ВТО.
Thank you ABC and Daniel for you objectivity. I'd be thanking Daniel in his native Russian but since my keyboard contains no Cyrillic letters, I cant unfortunately.
Lyndsie Graham, you have two ways to write in Cyrillic, one – to russify your PC and learn the position of Russian letters on your keyboard, and other – go to translit.ru and use their virtual key board to type your message in Cyrillic ))
It is truly sad that 19 out of 60,000 adopted children died. It should not have happened.
How many are dying, either literally or for a decent life, inside Russian baby houses?
It doesnt matter, ban isnt linked directly with murders under Russian children in US, ban was introduced because:
1. Facts of unfair trial of the adopters
2. US govermant trying to hide the facts of adopters crimes from Russian diplomats
3. US government has violated an agreement on oversight on American adoptive parents of Russian children and banned Russian inspectors to visit families with Russian adopted children.
Therefore, Russian ban is not directed against ordinary Americans, but against their undemocratic government.
Хороший вопрос. Можно перефразировать иначе: а сколько детей умирает в самих США? Тысячи. Сколько детей ждут усыновления в США? Озвучивается цифра – более 20 тысяч. Сколько брошенных детей живут в в США – 150 миллионов. 19 убитых детей – это только верхушка айсберга. Многие смерти просто не предаются публичной огласке. Среди "несчастных случаев" выявляются случаи с регулярными побоями и сексуальным насилием. Многие "родители"-убийцы за смерть иностранных детей отделываются условными сроками или общественными работами. И власти США не предоставляют российским чиновникам возможность отслеживать судьбу сирот и даже присутствовать на судах в качестве наблюдателей! У вас функционируют фактические концлагеря для детей – типа "Ranch for kids" (штат Монтана, хозяйка Joyce Sterkel), где в ужасных условиях, терпя постоянные избиения, живут брошенные усыновителями дети. Стоит упомянуть прошлогоднее официальное признание министра МВД Италии Роберто Марони, заявившего, что "исчезнувшие" в последние годы 1260 "приемных" малышей из России попали в частные клиники по пересадке органов. Вы можете гарантировать, что из официальных 60 тысяч усыновленных детей (неофициальные данные – свыше 100 тысяч) никто не попал на операционный разделочный стол?
The assertion that Russian kids are being used for organ harvesting is as ridiculous as is offensive. The accusation itself is morally bankrupt.
It lookls like the author is making sure that Russia is not forgotten bur he should be careful. The hate to Russia he exhibits will eat him from inside as it usually happens with maniacal haters..
Well said, Tatiana. I couldn't agree more. This Russian hating has got to do. It's just pure ignorance and nothing more!
Go Putin ! R E S P E C T.
Автор явно в бредовой горячке. Втом и дело, что путинская Россия ничего и никого не боится. Наоборот, пусть США отстанут от неё со своими назойливыми нравоучениями и рекомендациями! Забудут про Россию! Но ведь нет, они не могут без России. Они очень любят её демонизировать. Причём не вылезая из своих американских кабинетов. Отсталые от жизни, ядовитые жалкие люди.
Russia as growing gradually and will grow, that would not talk or think about it. Russia experienced many great powers in self history. She will go through both the U.S. and China and even what some others but always remain as such was because Russia is not a country or empire, but is a continent with a unique view of the world. This is not good or bad it is just a fact.
Андрею и Даниле респект!!!!)))))))
Россия не боится, что её забудут! Россия хочет, что бы вы отвалили от нас и не лезли к нам!
Ребят, я с вами.
Кстати, сижу, смотрю "клинику", прикольно ))
Амеров похоже здесь уже давно нет...
This is personal. Nothing to do with governments. Its no ones business why a family decides to adopt or not. My two grandaughters (siblings) are waiting in a russian orphange to come home. Their court date was today and should have been on their way home. My tree is still decorated with presents for them. Fellow human beings, you haven't hugged them, kissed them or have them run to you. This is about love which transcends everything else.
Sorry to hear it Florence. Hopefully you will see your granddaughters soon
Данил у тебя отличные меткие комментарии, только вряд ли они подействуют на zombie )).
when Google or Yandex will translate adequately ?
LOL. Is it a stand-up comedy corner?
I have just visited Lucian Kim's web site and blog, and I must say wow, what a lair this guy is!!!
I hope somebody sues him for false accusations.
To understand the naivety of the author let me quote an article from The Nation. " In reality, the “Magnitsky Act” violates the rule of law, contradicts American values and undermines US national security. Criminal and corrupt officials everywhere should be punished, but the language of this bill makes a mockery of basic tenets of American justice. Take, for example, the bill’s provision that names put on the list of people to be sanctioned can be based on “data” and “information” provided by NGOs and, perhaps, by other interested groups or people rather than through due legal process. (It’s not hard to imagine political or economic self-interest, here and even in Russia, expanding this new “blacklist.”) Not only does this violate the basic principles of presumption of innocence and due process but, as Ron Paul (R-TX) rightly observed, it is reminiscent of Soviet-era “people’s tribunals” for which “evidence was considered irrelevant.” http://www.thenation.com/article/171773/congresss-magnitsky-bill-new-blacklist#
I wouldn't call this law a symbolic one. If you think that it is, then what does it symbolize?
Well, now after reading that thread everyone in the West (but not only there, of course) has a clear evidence – as a proof for Lucian's conclusion – on how few Americans are really interested in any Russia-related topics. Someone naive could decide that it is just ordinary Russians have put aside their daily routine to fight Western "invaders, liars, hypocrites etc." – speaking Russian in the English-language site! (why don't try some Chinese, guys?) – but would be completely wrong. As the same stereotypical sad crap by the same kind of propagandists immediately overwhelms any Runet discussion as soon as it refers Putin and Magnitsky (and it almost always does). One can also imagine a scope of state-related funding of such internet activity, 24/7, on popular local and global public opinion web-forums. It's just like a locusts. Sorry for my poor English but I just hoped to clarify this strange holy-war a bit...
What I learn about some of the posters here is.
1- They hate anyone disagrees with them
2- They hate Jews and anyone who associate with them.
3- They hate the USA, Britain or Russia and blame everything of one or the other. Normally the USA is blamed for all the worlds problems, even though they spend more on feeding 3rd world countries than the next 10 or so combined. From a report I was reading about 5 years ago.
4- They post unsupported claims and get angry when challenged.
5- They post in other than English and make comment that everyone who can not read the post is stupid.
6- They hate the USA for adopting 60,000 children and taking them out of below substandard living condition and claim 16 has died through “abuse???”
7- Can any of you tell me how many Russians have adopted Russian children and how many have died in their new homes? Child abuse is universal people!!!
I say we plan on a boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Russia.
As an American who has studied Russia for over 35 years, I want to state that I love the people and the vast diversity of the country. I also have a deep appreciation of the burden carried by Russia during World War II and I am continually annoyed, perhaps disgusted,, by the western view that they alone defeated Germany, when in fact, the western powers would not have "won" World War II in Europe without the sacrifices and effort of the Russian civilian population and fighting spirit of the Red Army. My hats off to you!
This being said, I still am annoyed by Mr. Putin's attempts to paint Russian-American relations in terms of the Cold War struggle between the Soviet Union and the United States. This approach is counterproductive and doesn't serve the interests of either country. Olympic boycotts and name calling do not serve a purpose. Unfortuntately, mistakes were made on both sides in the Russia- United States relationship after the demise of the Soviet Union. Instead of examinining common interests, the United States took the position of "we won, you lost" and failed to view events as an opportunity to move past the mentaility of the Soviet system toward a system that would encourage more open leadership based on Russian determination and desire to make a better life for people who had suffered for so long. Mr. Putin must be given some credit in terms of bringing a certain amount of political and economic stability after the chaos of the Yeltsin years. He is, however, still a product of the Soviet syetem and brings that culturization to the table when dealing with the United States.
Russia needs to be given time to recover from the seventy plus years of the Soviet system. This will take considerable time. The United States should help Russia tap into its vast ecomomic potential and encourage reforms that will bring about positive change without denigrating all that is good about Russia. This relationship needs to be built on trust on both sides and by setting aside the prejudices and conflict of the past. Part of the solution is the political demise of Mr. Putin. Unfortunately, this will not happen until Russian society, business and politicians present a better way.
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