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Russian Parliamentarians React To Bush's Reelection

  • Robert Coalson

http://gdb.rferl.org/90DB69CA-7980-44D2-8FFD-7A2AF53F40AE_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/90DB69CA-7980-44D2-8FFD-7A2AF53F40AE_mw800_mh600.jpg Prague, 4 November 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Leading figures in Russia's State Duma on 3 November commented on the reelection of U.S. President Bush, RIA-Novosti and other Russian media reported.

Duma Deputy Speaker Dmitrii Rogozin, who heads the Motherland party, said, "The choice between the Republicans and Democrats for Russia is like a choice between a hurricane and a typhoon." He warned that Moscow must resist being dragged into any U.S. "adventures." He said he expects Bush to continue the main policies of his first term, which he described as "the maintenance of instability in the Persian Gulf region and the threat of the use of force against Iran and Syria."

Economic Policy Committee Chairman Valerii Draganov (Unified Russia) said that with Bush's reelection, "the United States will be more predictable."

Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov noted the close and hard-fought U.S. election. "One serious conclusion can be drawn: the destruction of the balance of the planet has to a certain degree caused the destruction of the U.S. political system as well."

Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said on 3 November that Moscow "respects the choice" of the American people, ITAR-TASS reported. "We and the current U.S. administration hold identical views on many international issues, including a common approach to the antiterrorism struggle," Gryzlov said.

Deputy Duma Speaker Vladimir Katrenko expressed the hope "that the U.S. policy of double standards toward terrorists will recede into the past." "I don't rule out that the United States is going to revise its approach to the Iraqi problem," he added.

Duma Deputy Speaker Vladimir Zhirinovskii (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia) said, "we know [Bush] and his administration." He said that if U.S. Senator John Kerry had won, the United States might have withdrawn from the fight against terrorism "and Russia would have had to deal with all of this."

Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachev (Unified Russia) said on 3 November that Bush's reelection "appears more convenient" for Russia than a victory for Kerry would have been, Interfax reported.

"Predictability, good personal contacts at the top level, the normal working atmosphere that has developed in our bilateral relations -- all these form a basis for absolutely achievable progress toward the strategic partnership of Russia and the United States," he said by telephone from Seoul, South Korea.

He added that it is important the United States "be in the hands of those who are aware of the extreme danger of international terrorism and who are not prepared to make any concessions to this enemy of our civilization or to striked any compromises with it."

He concluded, however, that much "lengthy and meticulous work" remains to be done on outstanding issues in bilateral relations, including U.S. policy in the former Soviet Union, U.S. missile defense, and expected shifts in the U.S. military posture in Europe and Asia.

[For reaction from around the world to the U.S. presidential election, see RFE/RL's webpage "World Reacts To U.S. Election".]
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    Robert Coalson

    Robert Coalson covers Russia, the Balkans, and Eastern Europe. Send story tips to coalsonr@rferl.org

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