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The recent meeting between the Russian and US presidents in Bratislava showed that the two countries cannot yet engage in strategic partnership
Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the State Duma's international affairs committee, says it in an interview with Izvestia. According to him, Russia and America now face the difficult task of identifying what the nations have in common except for their presidents' friendly relationship. Similar interests cannot a priori be treated as fields of practical cooperation. Real cooperation requires something more than just common views on this or that issue, which is the case with, for example, values shared by the US and EU. America still does not feel this moral unity with Russia between summits. As a result, the bilateral channel becomes too narrow and person-dependent, which often reflects a reluctance and inability to work with current elites, and preferences to those who will give only expertise customized to the consumer. Washington itself has set this logic, instilling its foreign policy with ideology to the extent of only welcoming binary-coded assessments of Russia as a democratic/undemocratic and free/not free country. This means that a country viewed as a democracy will be an ally, and will therefore feel free to use force, break election rules, trample over national minorities, etc. Meanwhile, there are many more areas where, for example, concerted efforts to create real civil society in Russia would be of greater effect. One is increasing cooperation between both countries' non-governmental organizations and getting diverse social groups involved in the process. Russia is ready for such cooperation. America's global leadership may be entirely acceptable for Russia as it seeks to address its own challenges, as, indeed, it has largely been for other US allies. However, Russia is not the kind of partner that only needs America as a Big Brother.
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