Nikolay Platoshkin, MGU: Why does Trump need to hold a summit? To smoke some menthol?
Nikita Isaev, political analyst: He wants our nukes, so we don't point it towards the US. Together with the Chinese and the Europeans.
— So, the topic is disarmament? Let's continue.
— It's not disarmament.
— Sorry, what did you mean by 'smoke some menthol?'
-To hold back China, you know it as well as I do.
— Let's continue. I want to say that you give me a hard time because I defended Trump in this studio when a lot of people were against him. In December, I said that Tillerson would leave.
— I said Pompeo would be put in his place…
— So did I, so did Zhenya. Trump's hands are untied for the first time. Tillerson was in Bush's clan. They put him there so he could be in control. He and the President have publicly disagreed on many issues, including Russia, you know that. Now, Pompeo is the last of Trump's allies in his team. After Ben left.
— He supported another candidate.
— This means nothing in the US, they all support who they want. Reagan was in the Democratic Darty.
— Russia supported Mignon, not Macron.
— Stop yelling, we can't hear him.
Nikolay Platoshkin: Let me talk. For the first time, the CIA Director is a bureaucrat, not a political appointee. This means that Pompeo and Trump keep controlling this agency, while they've lost control over the FBI. The FBI works against Trump. I've told it, the US was finished a year ago, they fight each other now. Now, about Trump's congratulations. May called him after Putin's speech and asked him to not say anything, to be quiet. But he didn't obey. Now, what was this whole scam with Skripal for? So they could say «How can you congratulate this person? Are you crazy?» Anyway, May has failed. On Sunday, at the UN meeting, she begged everyone not to congratulate Putin, when the only ones who didn't congratulate him were the Baltic countries and Poland, who make money on this. All the others have congratulated him. Trump didn't just congratulate him, following protocol, he suggested a presidential summit. He pointed out 3 topics — Syria, Ukraine, and disarmament.
— This is like a mantra.
— About this issue… His hands are untied now, we can actually talk to him now. Because before, talking to Tillerson meant talking to McCain.
— So his hands are untied. What does it mean for Russia?
— Let me talk.
— To be fair, after yesterday's conversation between Putin and Trump, there was a briefing in the WH, where they said there are no details yet on the bilateral meeting between Trump and Putin. It's ridiculous to discuss the Russian-American relationship if before one president calls the other, he has a note saying «DO NOT CONGRATULATE», according to the Washington Post. Peskov just commented on this, saying Kremlin won't comment on the critique of Trump for congratulating Putin. Peskov said they had other things to worry about.
— Why do you think this protocol congratulation caused so much noise?
Victor Lizun, diplomate: This congratulation wasn't purely protocol. Pure protocol would end with a simple letter. They wouldn't even call, and here… Judging from the messages that were received, this wasn't just congratulations, but an intention to meet. They've made it order of business. What can we expect from this meeting? We might not expect anything, but they still have to meet because we won't agree on anything over the phone. There are plenty of issues in the Russian-American relationship right now. We all know what was happening in our relationship recently and is still happening. The Americans closed down our Consulate, they kicked our people out. Almost all the contacts have been stopped. Then our security officials go and meet with Pompeo. All three of them went there, right? So there is something to talk about, and they need to meet and discuss this.
Nikita Isaev, political analyst: Then new sanctions and coalitions will follow.
— What sanctions did he impose?
Nikolay Platoshkin:There were no new sanctions.
Nikita Isaev, political analyst: First, the Nord Stream 2, then the British coalition.
— What sanctions?
— Then the tests of Germany and France.
— There are no official sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 although an official statement has been made.
— The 210 list by the leaders of our intelligence services was accepted by the President.
Nikolay Platoshkin: What was done?
— The rhetoric didn't change, it just got stronger. I mean our positions are very weak, we're trying to buy out Ukraine, and we can barely do it without using force. What did we get after trying to change Syria? All we got was a strike by the US Armed Forces. That's what we got. A strike on our coalition, with Assad. And what happens in the world right now, in Eastern Ghouta? Dozens of people died yesterday.
— 80% of Eastern Ghouta is controlled by the Syrian Army, it's great. We'll finish them this week.
— They blame Russia for solidarity with Assad.
— The whole world, for the chemical weapons.
— McCain? McCain is an idiot. Right?
— The whole world does.
— Let's avoid looking like we're in a mass euphoria over Trump's call.
Victor Lizun, diplomate: Presenting any conditions at the negotiation…
Nikita Isaev, political analyst: Putin presented a huge nuke. Here it is, a large nuke. Talk to us. Where is the answer?
— Let's listen to Heather Nauert who seriously threatens us with sanctions on the Nord Stream 2, and not just us, let's listen.
Nikolay Platoshkin: Heather Nauert? It's her job.
Heather Nauert, the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy: «We don't tend to comment on sanctions actions, but we've made it clear that firms that work in the Russian energy export pipeline sector, if they engage in that kind of business, they could expose themselves to sanctions under CAATSA. As many people know, we oppose the Nord Stream 2 project; our government does. We believe that the gas-pipe would undermine Europe's overall energy security and stability. It would provide Russia another tool to pressure European countries, especially countries such as Ukraine. We've seen that when they've turned off the pipeline in the middle of winter, causing some families not to have heat, not have the oil that they need to stay warm or cook their food, and we think that's simply wrong».
— Sorry, but what the heck is she talking about?
Nikita Isaev, political analyst: It's the other side of the US.
— We turned it off. Just look at Heather Nauert's folder. Trump had the same one, he probably missed the big letters that said «DO NOT CONGRATULATE».
Sergey Stankevich, Partia Rosta: To close the topic of congratulations, this wasn't a purely protocol act. This was a basic communication act, as they call it.
— That is some intelligent phrasing.
— This means that both sides confirm their readiness for cooperation. This is the beginning of cooperation. What's important is not that one has congratulated the other, but the fact that they talked about being ready to meet soon. This isn't a normal situation when Trump has been in office for over a year and there still hasn't been a government visit, not even one high-quality working meeting yet.
Nikolay Platoshkin: They didn't let them.
— This is an outrageous situation, when two leaders of the greatest nuclear nations meet, they control 90% of the world's nuclear potential. That's 90% for two of our countries. At this point, it's intolerable to hold grudges and not to call.
— Who is to blame here?
— This pause in communication is intolerable. This pause is dangerous.
— Who do you think is to blame for this pause?
— Let's not point fingers now. Trump has shown initiative, good for him. Good thing that it happened now. This means relation normalization, at least for the dialogue. Of course, there are no guarantees, I agree.