Many Russian politicians are angered at the recent decision by U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to resign, calling it a sign of “Russophobia.”
According to Alexei Pushkov, a member of the Federation Council’s defense and security committee, Flynn fell victim to an aggressive newspaper campaign in the U.S. fueled by “paranoia and witch-hunts.” He said the target of the campaign isn’t Flynn “but relations with Russia.”
Oleg Morozov, a former Kremlin official and a member of the foreign affairs committee of the Federation Council, said Flynn is a victim of his own mistakes and “anti-Russian hysteria” in Washington.
Morozov added that while Russia is ready for dialogue in response to Trump’s “positive signals,” it’s under no illusions about the fact that improving relations “is a very difficult road.”
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Konstantin Kosachyov, a member of the ruling party and chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Russian parliament, wrote on Facebook on Tuesday:
Flynn’s ouster over contacts with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak shows that the Trump administration either isn’t independent or suffers from “Russophobia.” U.S. hawks treat a readiness for dialogue with Russia as an Orwellian “thought crime.”
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, told reporters in a conference call Tuesday that Flynn’s departure is an “internal matter” for the U.S. Peskov also stated that the accusations that “Flynn and Kislyak discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia late last year weren’t true.”
Flynn resigned on Monday, writing in his resignation letter that he gave “incomplete information regarding my phone calls” with Kislyak to Vice President Mike Pence.
President Trump and Russian President Putin have not set a first meeting date yet and Trump still hasn’t announced his Russian policy stance. Trump’s developing relationship with the Russians and Putin will be watched closely by the media, especially in light of its insinuation that Russians helped Trump win the election.
The Russians feel that Flynn’s resignation may be seen as a negative signal for the soon-to-begin dialogue between the two countries’ leaders.
Sberbank CIB analysts, Tom Levinson, Iskander Lutsko, and Vladimir Tsibanov said in a research note Tuesday: “Flynn was the most publicly positive figure on Russia among Trump’s key foreign policy staff and, given this, his departure could be a precursor of a more neutral/negative stance from Trump toward Russia.”
Trump had been very positive about rekindling Russian relations and even discussed removing sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.
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