Letter From the Editors: June 26-July 2, 2017

Trump Seeks to Salvage Relations With Russia; Russian President Seeks to Update Image; Rosneft Seeks to Reach New Heights

In a sensational article published last week, The Washington Post revealed that America’s intelligence agencies knew before the 2016 US presidential election about active Russian measures to influence the election, and that those measures were directly authorized by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Obama administration officials are saying they did not act on this information out of fear that the administration would have been seen as taking Hillary Clinton’s side in the election. Donald Trump is decrying Obama’s inaction (Obama apparently did order "cyber bombs" to be planted in Russia that could be "detonated" at will), but the question is: Will Trump act on this supposedly high-level intel now, even as he is instructing his secretary of state to seek conciliatory, pragmatic relations with Russia?

All this drama comes ahead of a G-20 meeting in Hamburg that is highly anticipated mainly because of the uncertainty surrounding a possible Trump-Putin meeting. Commentator Oleg Shevtsov says all the "will they or won’t they" speculation about a meeting is distracting and detrimental: Russian and US presidents must meet and make deals - this is part of their job descriptions, and it’s in the interests of normalizing and maintaining healthy interstate relations. The whole "Russia ties" witch hunt has gotten out of hand, agrees Andrei Akulov. He believes the two countries should set differences aside, however deeply seated they may be, and work together on what international issues they can - like terrorism, the situations in Afghanistan and Libya, etc.

But Americans’ and the world’s perceptions of Putin are not getting any rosier. After the Oliver Stone film about Putin aired, it became even clearer that the Russian leader is living in his own world, says Yevgenia Albats. Need evidence? He passed off a dated video clip of US ...

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