In an interview with the upscale Russian newspaper Kommersant, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that Russian-American relations could not remain at the stage of reset or reload because in computerspeak this means system failure.
While he expects things to improve after the US elections, the Russian Foreign Minister still believes that America has to mend its ways in international relations in general and improve its behavior towards Russia, in particular, for progress to be made.
When Russia exalts the principal of noninterference, it is not only concerned about the Middle East but about Russia itself. Moscow had no compunction about raising the issue when it terminated the activity of USAID in Russia.
The agreement legitimizing the work of the US agency was worked out in 1992, shortly after the fall of communismת and "offered our American partners the rights no other sovereign state would have ever given them," he explained. "And the Americans took it for granted, you know. They never tried to match this gesture."
The Russian Foreign Minister accused the American agency of carrying out "questionable" and "political" projects, particularly in the Moslem Caucasus where the agency teamed with personages "whose integrity was definitely questionable", disregarding Russian objections and warnings.
Russia has no objection to educational projects and the occasional social program, provided these are carried out in "legitimate ways," Lavrov said, noting that the treatment meted out to USAID was not meted out to European foundations -- German ones, for example -- because agreements with the Europeans "are based on the principles of equality and mutuality."
Lavrov warns that if the United States attaches political conditions to the liberalization of trade, it would only harm the dialogue and economic relations.
When asked about Russia's poor image in the West and especialy in the United States, Lavrov blamed the Western media, saying "foreign
media outlets either distort the truth beyond recognition or simply lie to the audience." This was evident, he said, in the coverage of Russia's war with Georgia in August 2008 and in the recent coverage of the Pussy Riot trial, when the Western press called the trial political even though the defendants were not charged with a political crime, but with misbehavior in a place of worship.