Biden’s potential adviser was accused of “softness to Russia”: what did he say about sanctions and the Baltic states?

Since 2013, M. Rojansky has been leading one of the most prominent research centers on Russian issues, The Kennan Institute. He was previously Director of Russian and Eurasian Programs at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The National Security Council (NSC) is dedicated to advising and assisting the U.S. president in coordinating national security and foreign policy issues.

In 2018, The Kennan Institute’s Ukrainian Alumni Association wrote a public letter expressing concern about the centre’s “growing pro-Kremlin policy,” Axios writes.

Rojansky was accused of dismissing Kateryna Smagly, director of The Kennan Institute’s Kiev office, for political reasons and appointing a person instead “known for her biased analysis of Ukraine’s post-Maidan events.”

Journalist Matthew Kupfer, who covered The Maglyj’s dismissal in The Kyiv Post, says the events were the result of internal disputes at the Ukrainian Academy, irrelevant to the United States.

The director of The Kennan Institute, a respected scientist, has been replaced by another respected scholar who is critical of nationalism, including some Ukrainian policies. This outraged supporters of those directions. Controversial result? The Kennan Institute has closed its office in Kiev. This is not a victory for Ukraine, “writes M. Kupferis.

In a letter from alumni at The Kennan Institute, Rojansky was also criticized for hosting the Kremlin’s guests close to the Kremlin, such as Peter Aven, president of Alfa Bank. He was later named by the Treasury Department as an oligarch close to Vladimir Putin.

„Reuters“/„Scanpix“ nuotr./Billas Browderis

The investor is Bill Browder, who worked for a lawyer who explained the corruption of Russian officials Sergei Magnitsky died in a Russian prison, also expressed concern about the possible appointment of M. Rojansky.

“If Matthew Rojansky is appointed Biden’s national security adviser to Russia, Navaln will be in big trouble. Rojansky was the biggest supporter of Obama’s reloading of relations with Russia in Washington. Putin will see this as a sign that Washington will do nothing if they kill Navalna, “Browder wrote on Twitter.

Anton Barbashin, editor of Riddle magazine, called Rojansky a “great expert” who doesn’t look at Russia, “as we want and as we really are.”

“It is unbelievable that some people believe that appointing one or another person to a NSC position could change what the Kremlin will do or not. It is hardly affected by the change of the whole (US) administration “, writes A.Barbashin.

“Real Baltic Anxiety”

In 2017, M. Rojansky testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the United States policy towards the Baltic States.

Mr Rojansky said the Baltic governments’ concern about Russia was real, based on historical examples, current security and political realities.

According to him, it is important for NATO to show a clear commitment and concrete actions in response to the Baltic countries’ concerns about military defense. And the European Assurance Initiative (ERI) is a significant step in the right direction.

Rojansky told the House of Representatives that any deployment of NATO forces in the Russian media was portrayed as destabilizing. However, a distinction needs to be made between media panic and a more sober “perception of Russian military planners and political decision-makers.”

Reuters / Photo by Scanpix / NATO flag

Reuters / Photo by Scanpix / NATO flag

“Ultimately, the challenge for NATO and the United States is to send the maximum positive signal by causing the minimum possible provocation,” he said.

According to the expert, the “next positive step” is the resumption of direct dialogue between Russian and US troops, both at the working level and by maintaining a hotline for operations in Syria. It is said that at least such a dialogue would reduce the risks associated with communication misunderstandings, incidents and unintentional escalation.

“This type of dialogue must be continued and expanded specifically in the Baltic Sea region, focusing on incident prevention and escalation management,” Rojansky said in 2017.

Dialogue with Russia on mechanisms for European security is necessary, but experience has shown that it will not be productive without a clear consensus on the involvement of both sides, the expert said at the time.

“Russia must reaffirm its commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other states in the region, especially the former Soviet republics.

For the US and our NATO allies, this means finding ways to think about developing security institutions and agreements across the region that will complement, rather than threaten, NATO.

“It’s like a challenge for European countries to see the European Union play a more significant role in security without undermining NATO’s effectiveness,” he said.

Including security dialogue, supported by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), would be the most productive context for addressing concerns about the ethnic Russian minority, language rights and national identity in the Baltics, 2017 Rojansky assured.

VIDEO: Biden called Putin a killer: how will US-Russia relations change?

According to him, it should also be said that the Russian media despises the sovereignty of the Baltic States and the right of the Baltic governments to decide their national and cultural narratives, but minorities must be protected.

“Sanctions do not encourage behavioral change”

In 2013, Rojansky wrote about the deteriorating US-Russia relations on The Guardian. It must be acknowledged by both sides that it is destroying the legal, political and personal foundations that have been built in the two decades since the end of the Cold War.

“If the US and Russian governments think their differences are too big to overcome, they can at least stop escalating the confrontation. “The imposition of sanctions and the withdrawal of agreements only guarantee that incompatible views will be frozen or that the gap will only widen,” he told The Guardian.

VIDEO: Russia is mobilizing troops at the Ukrainian border: is there anything to fear?

Mr Rojansky wrote that the time had come to open every possible channel of dialogue between Russians and Americans, including at the societal level. It is said that dialogue is the only way to find out which disagreements can eventually be overcome.

He proposed the re-establishment of the Congress-Duma study group, spoke about the importance of the Bilateral Presidential Commission.

According to reports that Russia may have paid the Taliban for the killing of American troops in Afghanistan, Rojansky wrote in The National Interest: The call for more sanctions may appeal to politicians seeking to be “tough on Russia”, but it will not deter Moscow from taking further aggressive action.

According to M. Rojansky, relations aimed at military competition pose an excessive risk of a nuclear catastrophe, so peaceful coexistence remains necessary.

It is said that the parties must find ways to control competition, but that does not mean that Washington must not defend its interests. When a crisis arises, the goal should not be the capitulation of Russia, but a satisfactory solution that will stabilize the race, but leave room for US interests in the future.

Washington needs to set boundaries that will create safer competition, such as arms control agreements. Countries must also be able to sit down at the negotiating table on issues such as climate change, terrorism, the abandonment of weapons of mass destruction, pandemics, the analyst writes.

Rojansky called congressional sanctions on Russia too “inflexible” to provide an incentive for the Kremlin to change its behavior because they appear to be permanent.

In November 2017, Rojansky wrote in a blog post at The Kennan Institute that Putin was a “big problem” for US, Russian neighbors and Russians.

According to Rojansky, Putin destroyed all the beginnings of liberal democracy in Russia, carried out an invasion of Ukraine, supports Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. With growing evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Moscow is conducting operations to destroy democratic politics, social unity, and security alliances from Europe to Latin America.

“These are serious threats that need to be addressed clearly, strongly and decisively. However, none of these threats posed by Russia have a military solution.

We can hit the Russians as hard as we can, punish them for their bad behavior, but as long as they have a chance to hit back, they will do so, and the cycle will continue, “he wrote.

According to M. Rojansky, the greatest asset of the USA is the incomparable soft power: “the attractive force of our culture, our values, our determination to lead, as well as to sacrifice if necessary”.

“These strengths can lead us to victory against Russia or any other threat in the long run,” he wrote.

Called a killer

Biden rejected the idea of ​​former President Barack Obama overloading relations with Russia.

When asked if he considered Putin a murderer, the US president said yes. Such words are believed to have partly provoked Russia to mobilize in occupied Crimea and along the Ukrainian border.

Biden’s administration has imposed sanctions on Russian officials in connection with the poisoning of oppositionist Alexei Navaln with the nerve-paralyzing substance Novičiok.

VIDEO: Navalno supporters were detained in a correctional colony for violations of public order

Under Biden’s leadership, the New START agreement with Russia was extended. The treaty limits the number of warheads for long-range nuclear weapons, including intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

Biden invited Putin to a virtual summit on climate change.


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