“We have some concerns”

SPIEGEL: Mr. Kosachev, the election of Donald trump enthusiastically welcomed in Russian political circles. Settled for this time of rejoicing?

Konstantin Kosachev: I have always believed and stand by that, that we had to be very careful. Before the us elections, I described the situation so: Mrs. Clinton is quite predictable, we know exactly what will happen and what will happen if she wins…

SPIEGEL:… and what would happen?

— Nothing new. The continuation of the American policy, which we know for eight years and which has led to unstable and the worst Russian-American relations that can be imagined. It went on to continue.

SPIEGEL: while trump…

— … completely unpredictable. It may happen that we will survive the great progress in American foreign policy and thus in Russian-American relations. Similarly, it also works in reverse — the collapse or undermining. We are watching the steps being taken by Mr trump, and hope that he takes the chance for change. But I don’t know when we will actually be able to feel it.

SPIEGEL: the Unreliability and instability of Moscow does not appreciate.

And it is not true that we rejoiced over the victory of Donald trump. Some people here are just happy that Mrs. Clinton lost.

SPIEGEL: In many capitals around the world are studying every tweet from the White house. Here in Moscow, too?

— No. While Mr. trump is very consistent in their words and actions. He has not made big changes.

SPIEGEL: He wants to undo almost everything that made the Obama administration, both in domestic and in foreign policy.

— I didn’t mind that his deeds correspond to his election program and his promises. And we are trying to understand it. Here, too, at first some of his statements were overstated.

SPIEGEL: for Example?

— When the newspaper “Washington Post” asked him about the Crimea and Ukraine, Mr. trump said,” I’m going to look at it” “I’ll think about it”.

SPIEGEL: So say politicians who do not want to say anything.

— Yes, and believe me, this practice is familiar to me. But the whole world was excited about trump, and here his phrase was interpreted as a surrender of the former American positions.

SPIEGEL: are You Afraid of America trump?

— To be afraid of?

SPIEGEL: Yes. Its slogan is “America First” can be interpreted in two ways: as a rejection of global policy, including isolationism, the end of free trade, indifference to climate policy — or the desire for superiority.

— Yes, this concept allows for both interpretations. We are here in a plan are concerned, because the position of Donald trump in some cases, very radical. I was personally worried about his statement that he will otherwise act in multilateral operations. Multilateralism is very complicated, but it brings success.

SPIEGEL: will Washington the wrong way?

— A return to unilateralism is not the best idea. As you can single-handedly improve the agreement with Iran? Is it possible to solve the crisis in the middle East through greater support to Israel and less to the Palestinians? Whether alone to declare North Korea the biggest threat to the US? I would prefer that the US continue to operated within the framework of existing multilateral institutions.

SPIEGEL: NATO just discussing — because of the pressure from America — increase national military budgets.

And I am not happy with trump statements about the balance of nuclear weapons. If I understand his statements, he seeks unilateral advantage, that is, the dominance of us nuclear forces, contrary to the mechanisms in our contracts. However, here it should be remembered that it is still too early to draw final conclusions.

SPIEGEL: do You Think the political situation is explosive and dangerous?

Yes. But not because of trump.

SPIEGEL: AND because of Obama.

Yes. Because of the disagreement over Crimea and Ukraine, the U.S. side interrupted us all negotiations at the highest level. Cooperation in combating terrorism, other security issues or the economy — all frozen, all 20 working groups. This means that we do not say anything about positive, and not talking about how to avoid a negative development.

SPIEGEL: Obama Secretary of state John Kerry (John Kerry) was in Moscow to negotiate on Syria.

But then Kerry in Washington slowed down — first the Pentagon, but especially Obama. What he said here with our Minister of foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, the US has not been recognized.

SPIEGEL: Russia itself was the cause of the announcement of the sanctions due to the annexation of Crimea.

— This is a big mistake, when you stop all contacts on all subjects, if on the same topic, such as the Crimea, opinions differ. What is the result? I very much hope that we soon again will resume bilateral talks. I hope Mr. trump says not so ideologiserad as Mr. Obama.

SPIEGEL: If Donald trump really going to increase the American military budget is 54 billion dollars, one only this increase exceeds the entire Russian military budget. Perhaps You’ll remember Hillary Clinton.

— Sure you don’t remember. Mr. trump is likely to focus on strengthening the military Arsenal, with which we can agree. We’re able to conclude agreements on disarmament, and it is much more important than the competition illegal or semi-legal methods.

SPIEGEL: are You talking about?

— In the past, Americans spent billions on illegal interference in the internal Affairs of other States.

SPIEGEL: You mean the necessity of building a civil society in Ukraine.

This is the interpretation of the SPIEGEL, which I absolutely do not share. America’s actions are contrary to the Helsinki agreements, according to which no state has the right to interfere in the internal Affairs of another. The United States did this to Obama and with him, this Mr. trump agrees with me, and he wants to change it.

SPIEGEL: But Your indignation is hypocritical. Russia in 2016 intervened in the internal Affairs of States.

— No.

SPIEGEL: Russia is using false news, defamatory, Clinton and hacker attacks on the Democrats intervened in the election campaign.

— Definitely no, definitely no, definitely not

SPIEGEL: Yes, we hear You.

— You know, it’s a delicate situation because we are faced with accusations, but we were not charged with any evidence. We are quite sure the other side says, now we just have to prove their innocence.

SPIEGEL: Hillary Clinton never escaped from this Scam around her private e-mail, and the opened electronic communication, more than 50 thousand at the head of her election headquarters of the Podestà John (John Podesta), which WikiLeaks exposed in the Internet, has further exacerbated the situation. It decided the outcome of the elections. The mood in crucial States such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin turned in favor of trump. Clinton in the end was missing exactly 100 thousand votes.

— The conspiracy theory. There is no evidence.

SPIEGEL: 17 us secret services are unanimous about this analysis.

— Know what mistake You make? You have the first and last links in a chain, but in the middle You are missing four links, and You ignore it.

SPIEGEL: can You explain us this?

— First link: leak the Democrats. The last link: the Russian government and President Putin must answer for it. In the middle is not enough the following: first, whether the whistleblower such as Edward Snowden (Edward Snowden), to be involved in this? Unbelievable, but possible. And if You have even 1% doubt, then You can’t continue your chain of evidence.

SPIEGEL: the second?

— If the computers were hacked: who was the culprit — the Americans or the foreigners? If You have 1% doubt, then it will not work. Thirdly: if it was aliens, was it Russian? Today it is possible to forge everything, it is possible to represent that the computers were hacked from Russia. So You sure 100%?

SPIEGEL: IN the fourth: if it was Russian hackers from Cozy Bear…

— … can You then prove that the government has to do something? I’m 100% sure that this is not so.

SPIEGEL: so Russia does not interfere in elections? Russia does not interfere in the internal politics of other countries?

— Yes, absolutely. It is not our style, it is not the Russian foreign policy. I do not recognize these charges. They presented no evidence — as if we influence elections in the United States, in France, in Germany.

SPIEGEL: do You do it?

— No. The candidate for chancellors from sotsial-Democrats Martin Schulz (Martin Schulz) has accused us in the success of extreme right in Europe — and it’s too funny. Most often, something like that claim the party of the centre who have problems. They want then new parties hurt by their proximity to Russia. Too obvious and rude.

SPIEGEL: Please do not tell us that such measures are not part of international politics. The Americans got into Panama or Nicaragua. But Russian for many years all over the world… say, — are actively involved.

— The past. Yes, the Soviet Union was a socialist program, and he spoke in support of socialist parties in other countries. Russia has no such program.

SPIEGEL On moral grounds?

— Yes, we respect the sovereignty and do not believe that if to know what one must do other governments. But there are reasons of a practical nature: we have not such resources as the Americans. Incidentally, I am continuously amused by how paranoid many countries are looking at Russia It says more about You and not about us when You’re afraid of a little channel like Russia Today.

SPIEGEL: You mean “we”, the West?

— Yes, You lack tranquility. I find it funny: it shows You how insecure and weak. Your fear of Russian hackers, the Russian influence is very fun and funny. USA not worried and 1% of what I had to endure us for decades, we suffered when the United States tried to exert influence on the development in Russia, and we never openly complained.

SPIEGEL: Why should the West be weak? Is it democracy act sluggish?

— Don’t ask me. I was surprised, I didn’t think the West is so weak.

SPIEGEL: the loan was issued the First Czech-Russian Bank to the French National front. Isn’t that influence?

— You mix different things. We have always there are political contacts with existing parties. But if the Bank issued a legal loan, it does not necessarily has any relation to the government. We do not support any political party in any country in the world.

SPIEGEL: What do You expect from the German elections to the Bundestag this year?

They just become interesting. Before came on the scene, Martin Schulz, I thought the election outcome was predictable, but it is in the past. But I don’t see any significant difference in foreign policy of both candidates to the Chancellor. This distinguishes Germany from France.

SPIEGEL: Many Germans fear that Europe could fall apart if France won marine Le Pen (Marine Le Pen). Russia shares these concerns, or You are hoping for this victory?

The EU is Russia’s important trading partner, and it should never be. It is not easy with the current design of the EU because it excludes other countries. Three years ago, we in Ukraine had a bad experience. Of course, we would like to see EU reform, political change in some countries could push for it. But this is not true, as if we, Russians, dreaming to the EU disappeared. In any case.

SPIEGEL: Your Minister of foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov says that Russia has traditional values at a time in the West is dominated by “pseudo-values”. What does it mean?

We have what the West says about values, and applies double standards. Example: Syria literally criticized in terms of democracy and human rights, but Saudi Arabia, where in both areas there are clear violations, never even criticized. And if You say to me now that the government of Saudi Arabia, they say, does not kill its own citizens, then I say that’s true. But no one can say that the citizens of Saudi Arabia that they must fight against their government, to change their lives for the better. In some countries the West does not provoke an internal conflict but other countries are actively doing it.

SPIEGEL: Russia is doing like all the civil war unleashed by the West.

— Not all, but many.

SPIEGEL: do You think that the uprising against Assad was initiated by the West?

— There are problems in any country, including Germany or Russia. But in the West You can with Your opportunities, with Your media and social structures to encourage development in a certain direction. In some cases You do, but not in others.

SPIEGEL: At the Munich security conference, the big topic was the possibility of a new world order. If the United States at the trump leave of world politics, what happens then? It seems that You welcome the withdrawal of the United States.

— Absolutely. You’re in Germany recognized that the United States is responsible for global security. But, in fact, who decided that? The Americans claim that they alone set the tone for everything. We have never admitted.

SPIEGEL: do You share concerns about the emergence of a power vacuum?

— Is the Security Council of the United Nations, and we believe that it must remain responsible.

SPIEGEL: IN conclusion, let’s look at two crises of world politics. What needs to happen to end the conflict in Eastern Ukraine?

— The Minsk agreements must be implemented, and all parties, as well as Kiev and Lugansk and Donetsk. needs to confirm it. Russia is little that can be done. Nothing depends on us, from the Ukrainian side. We sit in the trap, You in the West sitting in the trap, all the others are trapped — because Kiev is happy about this situation. Kiev suffers under sanctions, it can provoke conflict in the region, as he pleases. European Union countries make the mistake of not exerting increasing pressure on Ukraine to force Kiev to fulfill their commitments under the Minsk agreements.

SPIEGEL: Nothing damages the reputation of Russia in the world more. than participation in the war in Syria. Why do You support a President who acts against his own people?

Is Your interpretation that we support Assad. We don’t do that. The position of the West was always: “Assad must go”. But it was a very silly installation. No one was able to give us the answer to the simple question “what will happen then?” Who will command the army, who is the secret service? We saw what happened in Libya and Iraq. And so we said from the beginning: we’ll fight ISIS ( a terrorist organization banned in Russia – approx.transl.), and the fate of the Assad regime aside, it’s up to the Syrians in the elections under UN supervision, as required by the UN resolution.

SPIEGEL: thus You help Assad.

— Do not blame Russia for the fact that she was there to intervene. We never said “Assad must go”. And we never said “Assad must stay”.