McFauls costly mistake (The National Interest, U.S.)

McFaul's costly mistake ("The National Interest", U.S.)In the Russian and American political circles of debate sharp the comments Misha Leontiev on Channel One Russian TV, control of which belongs to the state. He spoke about the meeting between Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and recently appointed Ambassador Michael McFaul with members of constructive opposition.

Leontiev is known for his own closeness to the Russian authorities, and its expression on television have led many speculate that it is partially expressed and their attitude to this meeting. But it would be incorrect to attribute the words Leontiev only his profession. Leontiev — journalist, having his own world view, and it is not just silly repeats the position of the authorities. It is known for its sights on a number of domestic and international problems and, more fundamentally, it expresses the mood of the eyes and certain socio-political circles in Russia. This means that the judgment of Leontief after McFaul and his meeting with the opposition is not just a reflection of the feelings of power, and reflected the views of a significant part of the Russian population.

According to the views of the Yankees, nothing much has happened. Latin American diplomats, acting in accordance with his principles and the official protocol (and perhaps with the knowledge of Russian embassy in Washington and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow), held a meeting with the favorites of the opposition. They have done so in the past, is not only in Russia, and therefore on their understandably alarmed fully harsh reaction, heard on Channel One. But Moscow is looking for their actions in a different light.

New History of Russian-American relations is a concern for many Russians. According to the views of those who knows the story of the Russian-American affairs in the 1990s, have been spotted, especially when the economy and foreign policy were engaged young reformers such as Yegor Gaidar, Anatoly Chubais, Andrei Kozyrev and others. It has been extensively vserasprostraneno worldview that all important personnel decisions and decisions on major issues of domestic and foreign policy are taken directly or in Washington, or with his consent. During this period, many Russians feel themselves deeply humiliated because of the actual loss of sovereignty, just as the former superpower was going through economic, social and moral disaster. She had to negotiate with Washington all issues of domestic and foreign policy, just to get the next tranche of IMF funds or political support in Washington for Yeltsin and the young reformers in the criteria rise of communist and great-patriotic opposition.

Therefore, since the 1990s, the Russians appeared hostility against the South American interference in Russian affairs — or, to put it differently, in respect of the South American role in the management of Russian affairs directly or through political and economic advisers from the United States.

There is a perception that under President Putin has been restored Russian autonomy in its internal affairs and on the world stage, he returned Russian sovereignty and revived Russia as a strong partner of the West in external affairs.

At the moment, our homeland comes into yet another phase of its own internal political development, which coincided with the beginning of a new election cycle. Putin, which would run for president in the March elections as a member of the ruling party maintains the highest level of confidence in the midst of many Russians. But against this backdrop emerged the big differences in the society, began mass protests and there were demands to the authorities of the greater responsiveness and to conduct a more active dialogue with society.

Coupled with a highly educated part of the population that pushes moderate demands on developing and strengthening the interaction and communication between the government and society, and for reforms to increase the representativeness of the political system, the radicals are participating in the protests, calling for the resignation of Putin's regime change.

In this context, meeting U.S. diplomats with the constructive opposition is regarded by the authorities in Moscow, as in other communities, whose world expresses Leontiev, not just as an ordinary event with the role of the opposition, as Washington's attempt to interfere in the sovereign affairs of the Russian Federation and push the country to change the government.

Added to this is the event that the activities of the United States and Ambassador McFaul gives grounds for such assessments. Whatever we talk about his alleged authorship of the "reset" policy, McFaul is famous in the United States and Russia as a supporter of the American policy of promoting democracy around the world, is also famous for his own closeness to those Russian community, who are calling for a major restructuring of the regime. I think there is no need to repeat anew all the details on the activities of the American regime change in recent years. They are known throughout the world.

Not a lot of people from the harsh Russian politicians and analysts said the meeting organized specifically to provoke Russian authorities or animation favorites opposition on the next steps in the direction of the overthrow of the regime. I consider unlikely, at least for the foreseeable future, some latest response from the authorities before the election and before the inauguration of the new president. But of course, that in today's political criteria, this meeting is not good for any newcomer ambassador nor constructive opposition. If power so desires, it can fully play out on this occasion, a national-patriotic card, presenting Putin as a true patriot and defender of the independence, sovereignty and the pros Russian country. It is not difficult and just play the card of annoying interference from Washington and sharply condemn the foreign power that, as in the 1990s, fussing about their own pets Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Ryzhkov and other opposition members, this time fighting against the Putin regime.

Important to emphasize follow. No one disputes the right of American diplomats to meet with opposition. But we all remember the political rationality of various actions, even if at first they seem to be quite safe. Michael McFaul, being a professional for democracy, democratic theory must know Joseph Schumpeter (Joseph Schumpeter), set out in his famous and influential book "Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy." As one of the prerequisites for normal functioning of democracy he calls politicians to self-awareness and self-restraint. Schumpeter notes that even if the opposition has the strength and the means to exert pressure on power with the aim of overthrowing it must restrain itself if it can not just bring down the government, and the collapse of the country.

Because, in my opinion, this meeting contrary to the interests of both the new ambassador and the current opposition, and of the interests of the Russian-American relations too. Ambassador now have to make an effort to correct the error, as it had to do to Obama after a very nasty expressions of Prime Minister Putin, made before his first official visit to Moscow. Upon arrival in Russia to Obama to address the harm caused by his awkward behavior, had to crumble before Putin compliments.

Andranik Migranyan — Director of the Institute for Democracy and Cooperation in New York. He is also a doctor of the Me
tropolitan Municipal Institute of international relations, the last member of the Public Chamber of Commerce and past member of the Council of the Russian president.

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