The Americans in the Kremlin: how did the visits of the first persons in Russia

The Americans in the Kremlin: how did the visits of the first persons in Russia


Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited his American counterpart Donald trump to Moscow. A billionaire five times visited Russia for business purposes. The last presidential visit to the Russian land was made in 2013, Barack Obama. recalls the memorable visit of the American first party in the USSR and the Russian Federation.

Nixon: from “kitchen debate” with Khrushchev before the feast with Brezhnev

The first US President to visit the territory of the USSR, was Franklin Roosevelt, who on 4-11 February 1945 attended the Yalta conference. Since then the American the first person set foot on Soviet soil for almost 30 years.

22-30 may 1972 , the us President Richard Nixon visited the Soviet Union on an official presidential visit. For 13 years prior to that, he, as Vice-President, has visited Soviet Union in 1959, politician attended the opening of the exhibition “Industrial production in the USA” in Moscow “Sokolniki”. Then between Nixon and Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers Nikita Khrushchev held the famous “kitchen debate” — the parties argued about the merits of communism and capitalism on the territory of the exhibition American food. The controversy ended with the famous words of Khrushchev: “Your grandchildren will live under communism,” to which Nixon replied, “Your grandchildren will live under freedom.”

A meeting between President Nixon and General Secretary of the CPSU Leonid Brezhnev in 1972, was preceded by a ten-year period of cooling of relations resulting from the Berlin (1961) and the Caribbean (1962) crises — the most acute phase of the cold war. Start of the Moscow summit, too, was not smooth (Nixon surprised that Brezhnev did not meet him at the airport, although from the point of view of Protocol, he should not have been), but it the USA and the USSR have signed several key agreements on discharge. We are talking about agreements on the limitation of anti-ballistic missile systems (ABM Treaty) and the strategic arms (salt-1). In addition, the political Declaration of the “principles of relations between the USSR and the USA” it was recorded that differences in ideology and social systems should not be an obstacle to the peaceful coexistence of capitalist and socialist countries.

In honor of these historic agreements in the St. George hall of the Kremlin hosted a reception, where, as he wrote The New York Times (NYT), gathered about 1.5 thousand guests, including Politburo in full force. The Banquet was served Russian caviar and vodka, put the American people’s songs — Oh! Susanna and Old Folks at Home. Nixon and Brezhnev, which ensued not only business, but also good friendly relations, shared his impressions of the talks and tell what words they learned from each other — the U.S. President has learned to speak in Russian “khorosho”, and the Soviet Secretary General has adopted the word “okay”.

The second and final visit to the USSR, Nixon made on June 27 — July 3, 1974. A month later, he resigned from the post of President of the United States in connection with the “Watergate scandal”.

Reagan: the visit to the former “evil Empire”

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (1979) marked another period of cooling U.S.-Soviet relations. However, the coming to power of Mikhail Gorbachev and his talks with Ronald Reagan in Geneva (1985), Reykjavik (1986) and Washington (1987) again returned to the USSR and the USA on the path of discharge. At the summit in the American capital was signed the Treaty on the elimination of intermediate and shorter-range missiles (INF Treaty), the United States and the Soviet Union pledged not to produce, not to test and not to deploy ballistic and cruise missiles, ground-based medium (1000 to 5500 km) and small (from 500 to 1000 km) range.

The ceremony of exchange of instruments of ratification to the Treaty on the elimination of RIAC held in the Vladimir hall of the Kremlin during the first and only visit of Reagan in Soviet Union , 29 may — 2 June 1988. The negotiations with Reagan, Gorbachev was left dissatisfied because the American President is too much criticized the situation with human rights in the Soviet Union. Themes of human rights, democracy and freedom was also featured in the famous Reagan message to the students of MSU, which ended with the words “bless you,” he said in Russian.

By itself, the visit of Reagan to Moscow, had a positive symbolic meaning. The President, who in the beginning of his term was called the Soviet Union an “evil Empire”, standing next to the Tsar cannon, admitted that more does not think so: “It was another time, another era”.

No less symbolic was the gift that Reagan gave Gorbachev — the entry of the Hollywood film “Friendly persuasion” (1956) on the Quaker-pacifist, opting for peace during the Civil war. It is on the principle of “friendly persuasion”, the US President suggested in the future to build a Soviet-American relations. Not mentioned Reagan only in the fact that in the 1950s, the screenwriter of this film brought in black lists of Hollywood for Communist views.

Bush: handles-rocket, chicken Kiev and Santa Claus

President George W. Bush paid two official visit to Moscow, 29 July — 1 August 1991 and 2-3 January 1993. With Gorbachev, the White house has concluded the Contract on reduction of strategic offensive arms (start), which put an end to the cold war and became an unprecedented level of trust between Moscow and Washington. Politicians have signed a document by using the handles melted from medium-range missiles, and then went in Novo-Ogaryovo for informal negotiations.

During the visit in the USSR, Bush also visited Kiev, where he delivered a speech warning about the dangers of “suicidal nationalism.” The President believed that the disintegration of the Union is not in the interests of the United States (it is better to have one single state, than several independent and unpredictable countries) and, therefore, urged Ukraine and other Soviet republics to approve the Union Treaty Gorbachev. However, the Champions of separatism and the liberal American media took the words of Bush’s hostility — the NYT columnist William saphire called the speech “chicken Kiev”.

Despite the aspirations of Bush, the USSR broke up, and already following his visit, the White house has made to the young Russian Federation. With the first Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Bush signed the start-2 Treaty, banning the use of ballistic missiles with multiple warheads. The meeting between Bush and Yeltsin took place in the run up to Christmas, so during family walks through the Kremlin welcomed Santa Claus with the words: “Today, kids, will be signed a great Treaty that will make our lives easier!” Unfortunately, the word fairy-tale character true to the end — the start-2 Treaty, though ratified but never entered into force.

Clinton: Yanks to the rescue

Bill Clinton during his presidency made five trips to Russia. During the first visit 12-15 January 1994, he, together with Yeltsin and Leonid Kravchuk signed a trilateral statement and the Annex thereto “On the elimination of nuclear weapons on the territory of Ukraine”. We also adopted the Russian-American Declaration on strategic partnership. During the last visit, 3-5 June 2000, he signed with Vladimir Putin’s Statement on principles of strategic stability and the Memorandum on establishing the joint data exchange center early warning systems and notifications of missile launches, the first in the history of Russian-American relations.

Clinton has maintained friendly relations with Yeltsin and believed helped him win the 1996 presidential election, despite the huge anti-rating. After re-election, Time magazine came with the cover, where Yeltsin is holding the US flag and the caption: “Yankees to the rescue: the secret story of how American advisers helped Yeltsin to win.” According to the article, at the headquarters of Yeltsin worked with the same consultants who contributed to the victory of Clinton in the gubernatorial election in Arkansas.

However, the us President was ready for dialogue not only with Yeltsin, but also other political forces. To demonstrate this, during the visit, 9-11 may 1995 , Clinton organized a luncheon with the opposition, Gennady Zyuganov, Grigory Yavlinsky, Yegor Gaidar, etc. (not invite only Vladimir Zhirinovsky, arguing it is too far right). During this visit, the US President also called for the parade in honor of Victory Day — the first in the newest history of Russia. The main result of the negotiations, the NYT called this Yeltsin’s promise “to officially initiate the first phase of NATO membership until the end of may,” which was never implemented.

Bush: Barney vs Connie

George W. Bush visited Russia a record seven times. During the first visit may 23-26, 2002 , he, along with President Vladimir Putin signed a Declaration on new strategic relations between Russia and the United States, Reaffirming the policy of close cooperation on all global issues, as well as the Treaty on strategic offensive reductions.

Bush, like Clinton, attended the Victory parade during his visit on may 8-9, 2005, and came to St. Petersburg to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Northern capital on may 31 — June 1, 2003. All the presidents of the United States and Russia have met 28 times, and personal relationships of politicians remained friendly, despite the fact that Russian-American cooperation is noticeably degraded at the end of their terms.

After he left the White house, Bush argued that Putin has always considered relations with the US as a rivalry, and this was manifested in the most unexpected moments. For example, when, during a trip to the United States, Putin saw the presidential scatterer Barney, he said, “And you call it dog?” A year later, when the American leader arrived for a return visit to Russia, Putin introduced Bush with his Labrador named Connie, noting its superiority: “Bigger, stronger and faster than Barney.”

Obama: tea with Putin and unfulfilled hopes

Barack Obama, whose presidency began with attempts to “reset” Russian-American relations and ended a new round of tension, visited Russia twice. 6-8 July 2009 policies held talks with President Dmitry Medvedev, 5-6 September 2013, participated in the G20 summit in St. Petersburg. After talks in the Kremlin, Obama and Medvedev signed a package of documents on missile defense, further strategic offensive reductions, and a year later was signed the start-3 Treaty is another document about the limitation of nuclear arsenals.

The Americans in the Kremlin: how did the visits of the first persons in Russia

To deploy

President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle after his speech at the new economic school, 2009

© AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

The Americans in the Kremlin: how did the visits of the first persons in Russia

The Americans in the Kremlin: how did the visits of the first persons in Russia

President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle after his speech at the new economic school, 2009
© AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

During the visit of 2009, Obama laid a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, delivered a speech before graduates of the Russian economic school (NES) and held talks with President Vladimir Putin at a Breakfast in Russian style with a samovar and accompanied by the orchestra of folk instruments.

“With your name we associate our hope for the development of bilateral relations”, — Putin said at their first meeting. However, these hopes did not come true — the outcome of President Obama’s term the relations between the US and Russia actually has slipped to the status of a new cold war (one of the architects of the “reset”, the former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul calls the current situation a “hot peace”). Can Donald trump change the atmosphere of bilateral cooperation, remains an open question.

Arthur Thunders

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