By Paul Goble
Valery Solovey, an MGIMO professor and prominent Moscow commentator says that relations between the US and Russia are “in places worse than was the case during the Cold War,” with the entire system of informal contacts that existed throughout that period now having collapsed.
Interviewed on Ekho Moskvy’s “Personally Yours” program, Solovey says that now “informal communications” between the two countries “simply don’t exist,” something that makes it difficult to prevent small disagreements from escalating and becoming major crises (echo.msk.ru/programs/personalno/2234994-echo/).
“There was a system of ramified informal contacts. There, the representatives met and talked about things. From the outset were achieved a certain mutual understanding” of what might be done. “But suddenly it turned out that now we do not have any of this,” as a result of the mutual “self-isolation” of the two sides.
“Both sides it seemed were completely satisfied with this. But the special feature of relations between [Moscow and Washington] is such that if one does not try to do something, the situation by force of inertia becomes worse. This resembles the world of Alice in Wonderland,” the MGIMO professor says, when one had to run as fast as possible to remain in the same place.
The same thing has been true in Russian-American relations, he continues. “If you don’t want that the situation will become worse as a result of inertia, the influence of the mass media, and the influence of the establishment then it is necessary to do something and thus prevent this deterioration.”
Solovey further warns that “now between the countries there is a stimulus for the beginning of an arms race.” That put strains on the Soviet Union it couldn’t withstand, and it is entirely possible that the same thing will be true with Russia.