Viktor Kogan-Yasny: Even a very small event in US-Russian relations today looks like a breakthrough

27 June 2021

by Viktor Kogan-Yasny

The question that came up in Geneva, for me, is a very real one. When tension grows, grows and grows, it becomes practically inevitable that the thread will tear. Accounting for the potential and importance for the world of peace between the USA and Russia, such a breakdown could prove absolutely fatal. The Biden administration did not take the now-conventional path of combining extreme fussiness with automatic bureaucracy and took an important step toward a cautious easing of tensions in the most sensitive areas. Putin, personally and in general outlook, did not have any major objections. If not for this step, without a doubt within a year there would be some random clash with absolutely unforeseeable consequences. Now the likelihood of such a development in events looks to be reduced. I think that all politicians and bureaucrats wishing to survive understand that this powder keg and a permanent ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’ is a dangerous environment, including for them personally.

Biden is a figure of considerable experience and scale, which cannot be said of the present top leaders of the European Union. Therefore, one can scarcely expect any original developments in relations between the EU and Russia. But even a very small event in US-Russian relations today looks like a breakthrough that was difficult to imagine not very long ago.

If the Russian leadership quickly forgets everything and continues to behave in a style of endless escalation of tension and global political hooliganism, then the motor that was half-started up in Geneva will sputter out in the blink of an eye, with significant backsliding. But one hopes that such a total loss of common sense will not occur. Increasing tension means destroying both others and oneself. It’s scary when this is all you know how to do.

Sorry if I have rambled.

Translated by Alyssa Rider

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