What will Putin and Biden be able to agree on?
The most expected and achievable outcome of tomorrow's meeting between Russian and US Presidents - Vladimir Putin and Joseph Biden - would be the return of ambassadors as a sign of the beginning of restoration of normal relations between the countries. Vladimir Vasiliev, Chief Researcher of the Institute of the USA and Canada of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza, summing up the results of preparation for negotiations between the Russian and American leaders in Geneva.
First of all, the Americanist stressed that the agreements between Putin and Biden alone would not be enough to start normalizing relations. "The agreements between presidents can have both short-term and medium-term consequences. The former have more chances to be implemented, while the latter can result in instructions to ministries and departments to work out the discussed issues, which in the current internal political situation in the United States may simply end in nothing," he explained, adding that the meeting in Geneva runs the risk of repeating the meeting between Putin and Trump in Helsinki in 2018.
"At that time, they reached an agreement on cooperation in the field of cybersecurity, which the Americans disavowed
literally the next day under the influence of internal pressure. This pressure still affects Biden, like it affected Trump. For example, Michael McFaul, a well-known opponent of improving relations with Russia, accompanies him to Geneva. Recently Biden held a briefing with American specialists on Russia, and they are all confrontational. And as you know, in the US, presidents come and go, but experts on Russia remain. That's why the factor of internal resistance can lead to the fact that many agreements will be useless or get ambiguous interpretations," Vladimir Vasiliev warned.
"The litmus test of this meeting will be restoration of full-scale diplomatic relations: firstly, the return of ambassadors, and secondly, it may ease or improve working conditions of the embassies. If no agreement on the return of ambassadors will be reached, this will be an indicator that breakthroughs should not be expected. Just yesterday, Sergey Ryabkov, who is participating in the preparation of the meeting on the Russian side, mentioned this," expert said.
Is should be noted that the feeling that ambassadors will return to Moscow and Washington was also mentioned by the aide to the President of Russia Yuri Ushakov. He also said that presidents will discuss strategic stability, pandemic, the fight against cybercrime, cooperation in the economy, climate and the Arctic. Regional topics will include the situation in Ukraine, Karabakh, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.