US President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Tokyo on June 28th.
To highligh the level of media hysteria surrounding the meeting it can be nouted that Trump pointed at Putin and light-heartedly warned “Don’t meddle in our elections!”
The entire Trump-Putin meeting lasted approximately 80 minutes.
Following the meeting, Trump said he had a “very very good” relationship with Putin and said a lot of “positive things” are going to come out of the relationship.
Putin referred to the meeting as a “great opportunity to follow up on Helsinki” — the July 2018 Trump-Putin summit.
According to the White House, the two leaders agreed that improving relations was in both the US’ and Russia’s interest. They discussed the situations with Iran and in Syria, Venezuela and Ukraine.
President @realDonaldTrump just concluded his meeting with President Putin. They both agreed that improved relations was in each countries’ mutual interest and the interest of the world. They also discussed the situations in Iran, Syria, Venezuela, and Ukraine.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 28, 2019
In addition, Putin and Trump agreed to continue negotiations on a modern model of arms control.
On the Russian side, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov, assistant Yury Ushakov and first deputy prime minister, finance minister Anton Siluanov took part in the meeting.
Trump was accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Assistant John Bolton, Advisor Fiona Hill, Finance Minister Steve Mnuchin, and New White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.
The meeting was also attended by President’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is the senior adviser to the head of state.
Earlier, on June 26th, Trump told reporters that what he talks about with Putin is “none of your business.”
And, indeed, there is little other conclusive information regarding the meeting.
On the previous day the Financial Times had an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin.
In it Putin notably said that the “liberal idea” had “outlived its purpose” and Western leaders were also beginning to understand that.
“There is also the so-called liberal idea, which has outlived its purpose. Our Western partners have admitted that some elements of the liberal idea, such as multiculturalism, are no longer tenable.
When the migration problem came to a head, many people admitted that the policy of multiculturalism is not effective and that the interests of the core population should be considered. Although those who have run into difficulties because of political problems in their home countries need our assistance as well. That is great, but what about the interests of their own population when the number of migrants heading to Western Europe is not just a handful of people but thousands or hundreds of thousands?”
He also drew lines between the collapse of the Soviet Union and the current state of the US and Europe.
“One of the reasons, the internal reason for the Soviet Union’s collapse was that life was difficult for the people, whose take-home wages were very small. The shops were empty, and the people lost the intrinsic desire to preserve the state.
They thought that it could not get worse no matter what happened. It turned out that life became worse for very many people, especially at the beginning of the 1990s when the social protection and healthcare systems collapsed, and industry was crumbling. It could be ineffective, but at least people had jobs. After the collapse, they lost them. Therefore, you should look at each particular case separately.
What is happening in the West? What is the reason for the Trump phenomenon, as you said, in the United States? What is happening in Europe as well? The ruling elites have broken away from the people. The obvious problem is the gap between the interests of the elites and the overwhelming majority of the people.”
He further underlined that there is a popular backlash against the elites and the establishment and such examples can be seen in Brexit, Trump and AFD in Germany, in Turkey and in the Arab World.
Lionel Barber asked what would happen after Putin left office and how would his successor be chosen.
“So the choice will be approved by the Russian people in a vote? Or through the Duma?”
Putin, laughing at the suggestion said the following:
“Why through the Duma? By means of direct secret ballot, universal direct secret ballot. Of course, it is different from what you have in Great Britain. We are a democratic country. (Laughter)
In your country, one leader has left, and the second leader, who is for all intents and purposes the top figure in the state, is not elected by a direct vote of the people, but by the ruling party.
It is different in Russia, as we are a democratic country. If our top officials leave for some reason, because they want to retire from politics like Boris Yeltsin, or because their term ends, we hold an election through universal direct secret ballot.
The same will happen in this case. Of course, the current leader always supports someone, and this support can be substantive if the person supported has the respect and trust of the people, but in the end, the choice is always made by the Russian people.”
Finally, Putin called for a constructive dialogue with the UK and expressed hope in such a scenario, meanwhile outgoing UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she would confront him to say that Russia must stop with “its antagonistic actions.”
In an interview with Sky News, May said that she would tell Putin his country had to end its use of cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns around the world.
“Russia can go down a different path if it desists from this sort of activity,” she said.
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