Kremlin List Made Public: What’s inStore for US-Russia Relationship? Arkady SAVITSKY So,the long-awaited “KremlinList” happened to be a purely formal action. What was made public is just ameaningless compilation of names partly taken from a telephone book with someof them cribbed from the Forbes’Billionaires list – a kind of Who IsWho in Russia reference publication. The administration hadto release the document as required by law, so it adopted “get what you wantand leave me alone” approach. At least, that’s what the unclassified part ofthe report looks like.
Technically correct, the list is just amockery in its essence. Nothing in the report indicates that theadministration is in possession of information about the individual’sinvolvement in any wrongdoings. Thepaper says it is not a sanctions list though Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saidit would result in restrictive measures. He did not specify the date. It’snot the “Kremlin List” that is in spotlight. On Jan.29, one day before the documentwas made public on Jan.30, Republicans on the House intelligence Committeevoted to release a classified memorandum that is said to reveal the improperuse of surveillance and misconduct by the FBI and the Justice Department in theRussia investigation.
The paper expresses grave concerns over abuses of thegovernment surveillance powers in the investigation, launched by the Obamaadministration. The lawmakers took the decision ignoring the positionof the Justice Department, which warned not take this “extraordinary reckless”step. It’s highly probable that if an investigation into abuses committed duringthe Russia investigation is launched, the trail will lead to Hillary Clintonand Barack Obama. It’snot Trump but rather his opponents who will be at center of the scandal asmedia will be raising ballyhoo (and they will as practice shows).
Everything will turn around to make theDemocratic backers of Hillary Clinton puton the defensive with President Trump’s hands untied giving him much morefreedom to implement his Russia policy. He won’t keep one eye on Congress whenit comes to dealing with Russia. Trump willbecome the defender of democracy threatened by the Clinton’s camp. The “Kremlin’sList” will be kind of forgotten. Russiaknows well all the ins and outs of US politics. It is reserved and patient butit cannot last forever.
Both governments realize this fact and act accordingly.They don’t sever the contacts. To the contrary, they do what is possible underthe circumstances. It’s enough to look at the news that don’t hit headlines buttell about the events of great significance.
For instance, Sergey Naryshkin,the head of Russian foreign intelligence service, has recently visited the UnitedStates to discuss terrorism. The Russian official is under sanctions but thevisit was important enough to make the US officials turn a blind eye on thisfact. Naryshkin was granted entry to the country. It’s hard to imagine such a high ranking officialcoming alone.
So,the intelligence exchange with Russia is too important to be affected by upsand downs in the relationship. It’s enough to remember how the interactionbetween the intelligence services of both countries prevented a terrorist actin Saint-Petersburg last December. In his recent interview with Russian Echo Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) radio station, US Ambassador toMoscow Jon Huntsman saidthe time is propitious for a Russia-US separate summit.
He also emphasized theimportance of military-to-military communications. Until now, PresidentVladimir Putin and US president Donald Trump have met only on the sidelines oftop level international events. A bilateral summit could change a lot of things,addressing many problems beyond the scope of bilateral relationship. 2018is an election year in the United States. The Democratic chances will diminishgreatly if when the secret memo is released.
With economy going strong, thechances for Republicans to strengthen their position in both houses look goodenough. So are the opportunities for the president to keep his pre-electionpromise to improve the relationship with Russia to benefit the peoples of bothcountries.