Sergei Lavrov to Valdai Club: Anti-Russian Hysteria in the United States Is a Reflection of its Internal Political Struggle

Anti-Russian hysteria in the United States is a result of its internal political struggle, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with According to him, while continuing to drive up anti-Russian sentiments, partners in the US believe they will undermine the Trump administration's position, which has not abandoned its intentions to improve relations with Russia. The minister spoke with the editorial staff after the his speech at the session of the Valdai Club report “The Importance of Being Earnest: How to Avoid Irreparable Damage," which took place within the framework of the XIV Annual Meeting of the Valdai Club.

What do our American partners count on, as they continue to drive up anti-Russian sentiment?

I think they are counting on undermining the Trump administration's position. Despite the inconsistency of the administration's actions in the White House, for all its extravagance, Trump did not abandon his slogans and intentions, which he declared both in the election campaign and after his election as president, to improve relations with Russia and cooperate with the Russian Federation.

In a situation where most Democrats cannot get over the bitterness about the loss of their candidate in the presidential election, and a considerable part of the Republicans are put off the non-systemic nature of the current administration, including the president. I think that the story that is now continuing in the United States, the anti-Russian story, reflects the internal political struggle. This was said by President Putin, and this is confirmed by our analysis. Because it has almost a year now, since the investigation of Trump's relations with the Russian Federation has begun, the investigation of Russia's interference in the election campaign on the side of the Republicans. There are hearings, some special investigations are being conducted, a special prosecutor is being appointed, dozens of people are being interviewed, and in almost a year, with so many people involved, there was not a single leak on a single fact that would confirm all these charges, for me it says a lot, because the American society as a whole, especially in foreign affairs, built on leaks. It is impossible to seal the processes that were deployed to investigate the so-called Russian intervention. Therefore, they simply do not have these facts.

What consequences can the attitudes of self-determination and separatism that are gaining in Europe within certain countries (for example, in Scotland, Catalonia and others) have?

I do not know what consequences this will have. I really hope that this will not lead to any shocks in Europe. We are interested in a stable European Union, and, probably, the solution lies having the tendency to further integration correspond with the sentiments that are now being manifested in a number of countries in favor of a return to greater sovereignty.

Many competencies were delegated to Brussels, to the central structures of the European Union. The European Commission, as, probably, any bureaucratic formation, seeks to not simply use these competences, but also to grow them, not always receiving being approved by the member-states, a reverse reaction follows. And there will be a complicated, but helpful process for the European Union of finding a golden mean between centralizing an array of competencies on the one hand and greater respect than there is now for the sovereignty and national rights of the member states.

How will emerging social conflicts inside countries and between EU states be resolved?

It is difficult for me to say how other countries will solve internal problems. We have our own programs to solve social problems. They were complicated by a period when the world situation changed, when illegitimate sanctions were introduced into our relations with Europe and other Western countries, but now, the government has a good plan for going forward, approved by the president, and President Putin considers resolving social issues to be one of our priorities.

We have our own plan for this. I find it difficult to judge what plans will be made and what goals will be achieve in Europe, but I am sure that people are also thinking about it there. What is happening now in France in connection with President Macron's initiative to reform labor legislation is a fairly clear indicator that this will not be a simple process.

What basic functions of the UN should be changed as a result of the reform of the organization and why? How long will it take to reform this?

Reforms are not a one-time phenomenon. Any structure must improve itself to stay alive. This is happening in the UN. It recently had a reform of the human rights sector, a Human Rights Council was established. Reform was also introduced in the sphere of peacebuilding, the period between the end of the conflict and the beginning of economic recovery. A number of other reforms are being discussed, including the reform of the secretariat itself, in order to make it more efficient, less bureaucratic, avoid parallelism and duplication.

One of the most important reforms of the modern era, when Antonio Gutteres became Secretary-General, is the creation of the position of Deputy Secretary-General for counterterrorism and the Office of Counter-Terrorism, which is meant to coordinate the work of the entire UN system, and dozens of structures (specialized agencies, programs, funds) so at that all aspects related to the antiterrorist struggle are harmonized. This is also an important reform, which has now only just begun and which should be brought to the practical level.

Reform of the Security Council is a process that can only be carried out by consensus, as decided by the General Assembly, when this process began. And this is not an easy matter. I think that it is unrealistic to reach an agreement within the next year or two, but the process continues, the interests of all countries have already been heard and understood. We believe that the main task of the reform is to correct the situation when the developing regions of the world, Africa, Asia, Latin America, are clearly underrepresented in this main body of the UN system. The same position is shared by our Chinese partners and most of the third world countries, and we will continue to hold it.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.