Espionage allegations: someone finds it necessary to cool Russia-US relations – diplomat

Author: us-russia
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Espionage allegations: someone finds it necessary to cool Russia-US relations – diplomat
Published 24-10-2013, 16:01
A Cold-War styled spy scandal has made headlines in US media after the Washington Post online claimed the FBI suspected Yuri Zaitsev, the US-based director of a Russian state-run cultural exchange program, of recruiting Americans as possible intelligence assets. The Russian Foreign Ministry has denied Russian Cultural Center was involved in spying activities. Voice of Russia talked to Yuri Zaitsev, head of Rossotrudnichestvo in Washington, about this controversial issue. According to Zaitsev, "probably, someone has found it necessary to cool Russian-American relations."

"How can I comment on this? I can only express surprise and bewilderment that occurs, when this whole situation, as we understand it, arouses and what we have read and seen, what those people said, who traveled with us, /participated/ in these projects... I am talking about the exchange programs, which the Rossotrudnichestvo is carrying out, what we are doing here. Apparently, someone does not like that we are doing good things; together with the Americans we are doing it for the benefit of Russia and the USA.

The situation has improved; our relations over the past 25 years have really improved. Thousands, tens and maybe hundreds of thousands of Russians have visited the United States, many Americans have visited Russia. The Rossotrudnichestvo organized the program; by the way, the US government has similar programs. There is the Open World organization and the People to People program, which carry out exchange programs. And a lot of our offices have exchange programs for young leaders. Probably, someone has found it necessary to cool these relations. Frankly speaking, I am frustrated with this, because it is the easiest option that has been tested for years, you know, to invent a threat on the part of the Russian special services, like there are spies everywhere, the Russian mafia, 007, and things like that - a Hollywood movie, in fact. Our studios have also shot many films about the Stalin era, and are shooting now. Some guys come to someone at dawn, accuse him of I don’t know what, call him names, then everybody are called foreign spies, and it is all very scary. Honestly, I certainly won’t judge and try to solve some questions; the American society, of course, thinks that it wouldn't come to the point, when people are afraid of everything, and contacts, so to say, with someone from Russia or a trip to Russia prove that a person is a potential spy. You remember that the first wave of immigration and the events that took place here happened after the war. I mean, after the Second World War, a Russian name aroused suspicion in the United States, and there were lots of trouble. People even changed their surnames not to be subjected to persecution.

I’d like to repeat, I hope the US will not go that far, and I think these steps, these necessary steps that somebody does for someone, they will remain in the past. I believe that American citizens and the mass media, including Russian, will somehow understand what is happening.

It's just a "frosting” in the relations and an attempt to discredit, in my opinion, a good program, a normal one. That is, they needed to throw in some horror story in order to spoil the barrel of honey. And it is a pity that they will threaten with false /insinuations/, and local authorities will somehow limit the development of the program.

But we will continue to work; will continue to tell about Russia, I hope, with your help, too. We have a large number of admirers. There is a society of friendship with Russia in America; there are twin cities, which carry out their programs. Of course, the Rossotrudnichestvo is doing a lot today; we are doing a lot to help people to have contacts with each other, learn more about each other and see good prospects of peaceful mutually-enriching cooperation."
 

 

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