Moscow Commentators Celebrate That Biden Sees Russia as a Great Power


GENEVA — For months, Russia’s state information media have ridiculed President Biden as bumbling, confused and nicely previous his prime. But by Thursday, the temper had shifted: Here was a man within the White House, some stated, who understands us, who we will do enterprise with.

Mr. Biden’s assembly with President Vladimir V. Putin in Geneva touched off celebrations on Russia’s typically over-the-top political discuss exhibits as nicely as quieter expressions of cautious optimism in Moscow’s overseas coverage institution.

On one level there appeared to be broad settlement: Mr. Biden was a new form of counterpart, extra predictable {and professional} than President Donald J. Trump and extra inclined to reckon with Russian pursuits than different latest predecessors, like President Barack Obama.

“The earlier doctrine, put forward by President Obama, which dismissed Russia as just a regional power, has been rejected,” stated Konstantin Remchukov, editor of the influential Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper, showing on state-run Channel One.

It has been revealed, Mr. Remchukov stated, that Russia is an indispensable energy that the U.S. “needs to talk with” and that Mr. Putin is “no longer demonized” as a pariah.

Mr. Biden’s description of Mr. Putin earlier than the summit as a “worthy adversary” raised eyebrows in Moscow. And in his opening remarks at Wednesday’s summit in an 18th-century villa overlooking Lake Geneva, he pointedly departed from President Obama’s “regional power” remark, saying that Russia and the United States had been “two great powers.”

“He is the first post-Cold-War U.S. president who has adequate notions of what Russia is and what it wants, and what the United States can and cannot do about it,” stated Kadri Liik, a Russia specialist on the European Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin. “Biden has been positioning himself very skillfully.”

Meeting by video hyperlink with college graduates in Moscow on Thursday, Mr. Putin himself defended Mr. Biden towards portrayals of him as being out of his depth.

“I want to say that the image of President Biden that our and even the American press paints has nothing to do with reality,” Mr. Putin stated. “He’s a professional, and you have to be very careful in working with him to make sure you don’t miss anything. He doesn’t miss anything, I can assure you.”

The relationship between Russia and the United States is plumbing such depths, analysts stated, that it was inconceivable to think about a actual alleviation of tensions any time quickly. And Mr. Putin — in denying any accountability for cyberattacks and rejecting any criticism of the Kremlin’s repression of dissent at residence — made it clear he was not about to vary any insurance policies.

But there was hope that the connection’s downward spiral, which many worry may in some unspecified time in the future swerve towards navy confrontation, may not less than be halted if Moscow and Washington re-engaged in talks. Russian analysts and officers who’ve lengthy been fiercely important of the United States for, they are saying, searching for to weaken Russia, stated they noticed in Mr. Biden a recognition that he needed to take care of Russian pursuits.

“The leaders’ meeting fully justified the most optimistic expectations and delivered the most results of any in the last decades of the relationship between the powers,” Timofey Bordachev, a outstanding commentator, wrote in a Kremlin-friendly on-line outlet, Vzglyad. “Biden, believe it or not, looks to be the first American president in 30 years who is playing a ‘long game.’”

The reward of Mr. Biden from the pro-Kremlin commentariat was important as a result of the Russian elite has lengthy seen Democrats as a part of a “Russophobic” American institution for which democracy and human rights are merely code phrases to justify assaults on Mr. Putin. But in Mr. Biden, some Russians see an skilled chief centered clearly on his priorities — such as home affairs and competitors with China — for whom confrontation with Russia is just not an finish in itself.

And after the dashed hopes the Trump period — when an outspoken fan of Mr. Putin within the White House by no means made good on his guarantees of friendlier relations — Moscow is especially attuned to Mr. Biden’s obvious proficiency in managing the equipment of presidency.

“It should be acknowledged that the presidency of Joseph Biden has brought about stabilization,” Fyodor Lukyanov, a foreign-policy analyst who advises the Kremlin, wrote within the newspaper Kommersant. “Both because of his personality and because he clearly knows what he wants.”

The Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, took to a liberal radio station, Echo of Moscow, Thursday morning to spin the summit’s consequence. He lauded Mr. Putin and Mr. Biden for, amongst different issues, agreeing to disagree. On points like antigovernment protests in Belarus and the imprisonment of the opposition chief Aleksei A. Navalny, Mr. Peskov stated, the 2 presidents exchanged views and shortly moved on.

“The leaders had the chance to present their positions directly, to more or less understand where cooperation is possible and where it is not for the time being, given a categorical divergence in views,” Mr. Peskov stated. “That’s also a positive.”

Russia’s adversaries in Eastern Europe watched the Geneva summit with apprehension, and Ukrainian officers stated forward of the assembly that they would reject any agreements about Ukraine made by Mr. Putin and Mr. Biden with out their participation. Both presidents instructed of their information conferences that Ukraine performed a minor position of their discussions, upsetting some gloating amongst pro-Kremlin analysts.

Vladimir Solovyov, the host of a loudly pro-Putin night present on the Rossiya-1 state TV channel, used his time Wednesday night to say that the summit demonstrated that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine had been left alone by his Western backers. He confirmed a picture collage of Mr. Zelensky taking a selfie in entrance of Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin in Geneva, and stated the Ukrainian president was behaving like “a touchy little child.”

In Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, Alyona Getmanchuk, director of the New Europe Center analysis institute, stated she frightened that Mr. Putin’s said willingness to interact in new talks could be nothing however a ploy to realize benefit in his continued confrontation with the West.

“Even if there would be some new ideas or new proposals from Putin’s side which could sound constructive,” Ms. Getmanchuk stated, “it will be an attempt to create new traps for the U.S. or for Western partners.”

But Ms. Liik, the European Council on Foreign Relations analyst, stated decreased tensions between Russia and the United States may be useful to opponents of Mr. Putin — each for the opposition inside Russia and to international locations like Ukraine which have an adversarial relationship with the Kremlin. The cause, she stated, is that Mr. Putin is more likely to act in a extra restrained method if he’s engaged in high-level negotiations with the United States.

“I think it is good for everyone if Russia has things to lose in its relationship with the United States,” Ms. Liik stated. “With Trump, we were in a situation for a while where it had nothing to lose.”

Ivan Nechepurenko and Oleg Matsnev contributed reporting.



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