Current relationship between Russia & US is, in some ways, worse than during Cuban Missile Crisis, says former President Medvedev

By Jonny Tickle
1 Jun, 2021

Today’s relationship between Moscow and Washington is, in some respects, worse than the most challenging moments of the Cold War, because the US believes that Russia is declining and doesn’t see it as a force to be reckoned with.

That’s according to former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chairman of the country’s Security Council.

“I’m not talking about a situation like the Cuban Missile Crisis, when everything was hanging by a thread at all,” he told Moscow daily Kommersant, in comments published on Tuesday. “But in some ways, the current situation is worse. And it is worse because our partners assume that Russia can be neglected.”

The former president noted that, in the past, the US believed that the Soviet Union was not a friend, but an adversary to be taken seriously.

“And now they believe, at least for the time being, that Russia is a dying country. That [Russia] can be disregarded and can be neglected in foreign policy discourse, and that is why they have made many mistakes,” he said.

In his opinion, Western nations have let power go to their head, especially since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact in 1991. But, even before that, foreign countries were not as willing to escalate with Moscow as they are today, he says.

“Yes, there were very different periods, even the Cuban Missile Crisis. But still, it never occurred to anyone to cut off all avenues of communication,” Medvedev explained, noting that Western governments have begun to target specific Russian officials. Even when disagreeing with Soviet policy and displaying a “colossal aversion” to each other, such a measure was never even on the cards

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“Is it possible to imagine that individual sanctions … could have been imposed on [Soviet leaders Nikita] Khrushchev or [Leonid] Brezhnev?” He asked. “No, of course not. Why not? Because our partners were much more pragmatic.”

Medvedev also claimed that the “spiral of confrontation” was started by the West in 2014, beginning with its response to the return of Crimea to Russia in 2014. Crimea was re-absorbed into Russia in March 2014, following a referendum. The vote is not recognized by most of the world, which views it as an illegally occupied Ukrainian peninsula.

“They destroyed everything, burned it to the ground,” he said.

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