Arms control, global conflicts, the pandemic, and climate change are some of the topics the Russian and US presidents, Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, respectively, are discussing at a summit scheduled for June 16 in Geneva — but the biggest challenges will be as well. The two countries should try to rebuild a relationship that was at one of its worst moments since the end of the Soviet Union.
Analysts had little expectation that Democrat Joe Biden’s arrival in the White House could be a good moment for relations between the two countries — not least because Vladimir Putin seems to have always had the persona of the hurried former US president, Donald Trump.
And things started off well, with Biden, once in office, successfully salvaging an “in extreme cases” treaty between them on non-proliferation. But since then, the relationship has worsened, either for direct or indirect reasons – as is the case with Belarus.
At an economic forum in Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Putin referred to the matter to criticize the US position, particularly regarding the way the Moscow government has dealt with dissidents. Putin was paralleling events at the US Capitol prior to Biden’s inauguration and the way Belarusian authorities responded to anti-government protests.
But then — and a few more “bitches” against Biden — the Russian president said, “We need to find a way to improve relations, which are currently at a very low level. We don’t have a problem with the United States, but they have a problem with us: they want to obstruct Our development and they talk about it openly. Economic constraints and attempts to influence our domestic politics arise from this will.”
However, Putin said he did not expect significant results at the summit with Biden and reiterated that Moscow is not responsible for the current US-Russia relations. We weren’t the first to make relationships worse. We did not impose sanctions, but the United States, which takes every opportunity to do so, even when there is no basis, did. He added: “All empires think that they are strong and can make mistakes. But problems accumulate and the day will come when they cannot be resolved. The United States is going on the path of the Soviet Union.”
In this context, the summit will certainly be a moment of tension rather than a deterrent – and if negotiations are not positive, the relationship between the two parties will continue to be marked by threats and growing differences.