Scott Simon (Scott Simon) of NPR talks with Julia Ioffe (Julia Ioffe) from the Atlantic about how the Russians perceived the news this week about the current state of Russian-American relations. The following is the transcript of their conversation.
Scott Simon, host: the Russians and the Russian government are for the sudden interest of America to Russia? To accusations of meddling and collusion, photos of a smiling Russian officials, something fun to discuss with President trump, who told them some very secret information, writes the New York Times, called James Komi “crazy fool”. Julia Ioffe is a staff edition of the Atlantic. She was born in Moscow and writes frequently on Russia. Julia, thank you so much for having you with us again.
Julia Ioffe: Thank you for the invitation.
— Can we say that in Russia this news pay just as much attention as is paid to them here?
Not quite. I think… you Know, Russians and Americans are very similar in that they are quoting the lyrics of Carly Simon (Carly Simon) — believe that all events in the world somehow affect them. (Laugh)
These events truly highlighted in Russia. You see, in Russia there are people who like Putin, there are those who do not like Putin. But in General the vast majority of Russians believes that we over-inflated it all and that in fact in this story is nothing special. And…
— You mean that we were making up the story with the Russian intervention in the elections? Or something else?
— Right. They don’t think… you Know, even if the intervention took place, they do not consider that it could affect the election results. They believe that Komi is a former Director of the FBI James Komi (James Comey) — influenced the results of voting by publishing two letters in the final stage of the race. And they believe — in fact, President trump thinks so too — that in this case we are talking about what the Democrats can’t come to terms with its epic failure and blame Russia instead of blaming yourself.
— Does Russia or — let me rephrase — does the majority of Russians that the President trump is a supporter of them or a kind of voice of reason?
— I think. I believe that it is the latter. They consider him a voice of reason. They see in Hillary Clinton a crazy elderly woman who had intended to start a war with Russia. The irony is that — given how many people refer to Donald Trump — they believe Donald trump sensible, calm person who understands that there is no reason to fight with other countries, understands that America’s foreign policy, as the Russians say, for several decades has been a failure and it’s time to turn the page, to choose a new path and maybe even heed the advice of Russia. They believe that Russia’s foreign policy was much more successful than America’s foreign policy. And, as one official closely associated with the Minister of foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, you guys continue to make mistakes, but we don’t, so maybe it’s time to ask the advice of Moscow? They liked would be if we turned to them for advice.
— Do you think that Vladimir Putin wants to get from this relationship at the moment?
— A few things. First, I think he really believes what Donald trump can contribute to improving relations between the U.S. and Russia and that Donald trump respect for Putin that he does not consider Putin the head of the regional power, once said Barack Obama, then his statement really angered the Russians. Many Russian officials then criticized America for what she called Russia a regional power. Trump believes that Putin — the head of a great power, that he is a great leader of a great power. Putin is very nice to know, and the Russians wanted to hear. They want to be taken seriously. They want to be members of the club of major global powers.
On the other hand, all of this is for domestic consumption. Many people who are against Putin, many Russians are to some extent applied to Russia by Western standards. They believe that the corruption that has flourished under Putin — is bad, that the elections orchestrated and fabricated the election results were bad, that the state control over the media is bad. They believe that by Western standards, Putin is a bad leader, and they want to be a “normal country”. They want to be like the USA, Western Europe. And Putin all the time shows them that the West is not so good. That it is the same corrupt, that there is the same chaos that the elections there is the same mess as in Russia, if not worse. Anyway, the internal life of Russia is boring, but she’s stable.
— I understand that.
— Our country is run by the same people. This does not happen to every four years came to power new people who would not understand what they are doing.
— Julia Ioffe, thank you for your visit.
Thank you for the invitation.