Russia Direct held a roundtable discussion within the framework of this year’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on the topic "Restarting Russian-American Relations – Is There a Chance After Crimea?"

Left-right: Oleg Kharkhordin, Rector of the European University of St. Petersburg, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Kommersant-Vlast Magazine Alexander Gabuev and Editor-in-Chief of Russia Direct Ekaterina Zabrovskaya at the Russia Direct round table at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Photo: Russia Direct

On May 23, 2014, the international analytical media outlet Russia Direct held a roundtable discussion within the framework of this year’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on the topic "Restarting Russian-American Relations – Is There a Chance After Crimea?"

Its participants, including representatives of the expert community, business, and the government sector, discussed the current state of Russian-American relations. During the event, Russian and American perspectives on the current situation were heard, and issues arising from the current crisis were also debated.

The Vice President of the Russian Center for Policy Studies (PIR Center), Dmitry Polikanov, and the executive editor of the American magazine Foreign Policy, Ben Pauker, represented the positions of Russia and the United States, while the Chairman of the Council of Foreign and Defense Policy, Fyodor Lukyanov, moderated the discussion.

Attendees of the event included Andrei Laptev (JSC Severstal), Elena Danilova (Department of Europe and America, the Russian Ministry of Economic Development), Alexander Gabuev (Kommersant Vlast) and Laura Miles (Associated Press).

"Tension between the two countries, of course, exists, and, at the moment, it is quite high. I don't think that the administration in Washington really understands what leverage can be used to change the situation for the better," said Ben Pauker, expressing his opinion.

Benjamin Pauker, Executive Editor of Foreign Policy magazine. Source: Russia Direct

"Right now, Russia is trying to position itself as a new geopolitical center. Not only a center of power, but also a kind of center of civilization which supports conservative values, and from this point of view it is now in a position where it is able to teach the West. So that not just the West has a monopoly on values and their promotion," summarized Dmitry Polikanov.

However, this approach, according to experts, is a dead end. "Both countries should abandon their peremptory tone. Russian-American relations need a new agenda. We need to seriously think about our actions if we want to move forward on this issue," Polikanov added.

The participants of the discussion were satisfied with the results. According to the deputy director of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development’s Department of Europe and America, Dmitry Sazhin, Russia Direct can play an important role in smoothing the sharp corners in bilateral relations.

Information about Russia Direct

Russia Direct is an international, informational-analytic publication from the Directorate of International Projects of Rossiyskaya Gazeta’s Russia Beyond the Headlines.

It produces briefs and reports for the magazine Foreign Policy (subscribe to receive Russia Direct reports in English), and it also publishes articles and expert interviews on its website. 

The goal of Russia Direct is to create a platform for Russian-American dialogue, and to explain to a wider audience Russia's position on issues of world politics.

For further information regarding the upcoming RD events, prospects for cooperation as coorganizers, sponsorship opportunities or speaking, please, contact Ksenia Smertina, Director of Russia Direct, at