Candidates for Moscow: who media tipped for the post of U.S. Ambassador to Russia

Last week the New York Times, citing American diplomats reported that many ambassadors of the United States in December I received the letter with the requirement to retire no later than January 20, the date of the inauguration of Donald trump. The order concerned the so-called political appointees, not career diplomats. In particular, the following letter was received by the ambassadors to the UK, Germany and Belgium.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft has not yet received instructions from Washington to leave Russia after the inauguration of the elected President, trump said on January 9, “Interfax” the official representative of the U.S. Embassy in Russia Maria Olson. “All political appointees of the administration (Barack) Obama received instructions to write letters of resignation, until December 7, which will take effect at noon on January 20. Career foreign service officers such instructions have been received. In General it is true that all ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the President,” said Olson.

Tefft holds the position of Ambassador to Russia since August 2014, he was succeeded by Michael McFaul. Tefft — career diplomat, is a member of the state Department for more than 40 years. McFaul, by contrast, was a political appointee.

Given the informational context around Russia and close attention to potential or actual relations with Moscow trump, the significance of the figures of the American Ambassador in Russia will be comparable to the appointment of candidates to the administration, experts of the Russian Council on international Affairs Maxim Suchkov. The situation with the appointment of Ambassador at trump significantly different from the previous one, because it remains a big question how he will be committed to the words about the necessity of normalization of relations with Russia, said the program Director of the international discussion club “Valdai” by Andrey sushentsov. If trump will be true to their words, relationships can expect the upturn, he said.

Old friends of Moscow

Politico in December he wrote that the current U.S. Ambassador in Moscow John Tefft may change Thomas Graham, former adviser to U.S. President George W. Bush on policy towards Russia and the adviser of the former Secretary of state Henry Kissinger. The consulting firm of Kissinger Associates Graham holds the position of managing Director. Another considered candidate is Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, told the American newspaper the Hill. “Kommersant” citing its sources was named as entrepreneur and former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Burt and former adviser to the election headquarters trump Carter page.

Thomas Graham worked at the U.S. Embassy in Russia in the 1980s and 1990s, he was Director for Russia in national security Council assistant to President George W. Bush on policy towards Russia. In an interview with “Voice of America” at the beginning of this year, the pragmatic Graham spoke about the need to develop relations with Moscow, including recognizing its interests in Ukraine. “I think it is obvious that Russia has its own long-term interests in Ukraine — this is a historical, cultural and personal reasons. However, recognition of these interests does not mean recognition of Russia’s sphere of influence,” said Graham. According to him, the real purpose of the dialogue should be a balance between the minimum interests of Russia and the United States. He also stated that he does not see now the reasons for NATO expansion, which Moscow has consistently. According to Graham, a possible partial lifting of sanctions against Russia, but in exchange for specific actions. “I could make out the Minsk agreement into parts and offered them step-by-step in exchange for the lifting of certain sanctions. This approach: step — by-step easing of sanctions in exchange for Moscow’s actions — is able to lead to the resolution of the crisis,” said Graham. Speaking of Crimea, the possible Ambassador advised Moscow of “creative approach to the solution of the Crimean issue”. According to him, speech can go about compensation to the Ukrainian side or to hold a second referendum.

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Advice trump and Henry Kissinger and his crew, including Thomas Graham — positive signal indicates Sushentsov. If these people were the mediators of the process of normalization of relations, then they would have a new atmosphere, let the crisis would not be overcome immediately, he said.

Republican Dana Rohrabacher is a frequent guest in Russia. Once again, he intends to visit Moscow in February to work together with other members of the house of representatives to hold meetings with Russian parliamentarians. He said this in an interview with The Washington Post. In the house of representatives Rohrabacher chairs the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and emerging threats. The Congressman, in his words, a sign with President Vladimir Putin since the days when last worked at St. Petersburg city hall. He also said that the team trump offered him to occupy various positions, including in the state Department. Rohrabacher criticized the imposition of sanctions and called for their abolition. Commenting on a hacker attack on the servers of the Democratic party, which President Barack Obama has accused Russia, the Congressman said sounding charges “are just an attempt by Democrats to justify their defeat in the elections”. “These attacks have nothing — whatever it was organized: Russian or someone else who might be interested in this <…> They opened with true information — not any nonsense — where someone lost the elections”, — he said (quoted by RT). The same position is shared by President Putin, repeatedly pointing to the fact that whoever was behind the attacks, revealed there were real violations.

Another called media candidate, Richard Burt was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Germany in 1985. He, like Graham, was part of the negotiating team for the Treaty on the reduction of offensive weapons between the United States and the Soviet Union. At the end of the diplomatic service Bert went into business. As reported by Politico, this year lobbying the company, which cooperates with Bert — McLarty Inbound — worked in the interests of the project company New European Pipeline AG, which is implementing the project to expand gazoprovoda “Nord stream”. Since August, 100% of the company belongs to “Gazprom”. For two quarters of 2016, the company received $356 thousand.

Carter page, which, according to the media, is the fourth candidate to move to Russia, arrived in Moscow in 2016 at least twice: in summer and in December. Company page, Global Energy Capital, specializiruetsya on working with energy sector companies, including Russian. On the company’s website States that Paige spent three years in Moscow, where he was responsible for opening the office of Merrill Lynch and was an Advisor on key transactions with “Gazprom”, RAO “UES” and other companies. At a press conference in December in Moscow, Paige praised the work of the head of Sberbank German Gref and the head of “Rosneft” Igor Sechin.

In the environment of the Washington establishment Rohrabacher — the figure is highly debatable, to conduct his candidate through the Senate will be extremely difficult. Compared to him, the candidacy of Thomas Graham is more preferable — he is highly respected among diplomats and experts rosalago and approved by the majority of representatives of both parties, said Knots. It is possible that today’s candidates may be in “the cage” trump — someone as an Ambassador, someone in the status of adviser on Russia in the Council of national security, somebody on the increasingly discussed in expert and political circles in the US the position of “special envoy of the President trump President Putin” — a mediator, which will broadcast the position of the American President in the Kremlin directly, in order to avoid distortion of the position in the politicized field of information, allow for Knots. According to him, Graham is a big supporter of the establishment of the position of such a “messenger”.