Moscow, September 6, 2017
What is happening today in Russian-American bilateral relations is a “phantasmagoria,” and Russia should not take an example from those politicians in America who threaten them, stated the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk, who recently returned from a trip to the United States, reports RIA-Novosti.
American authorities earlier demanded the closing of the Russian consulate in San Francisco and two buildings of trade representatives in Washington and New York, justifying it as a response to the Russian demand to reduce the number of employees of the diplomatic mission of the U.S. in Russia. Russian diplomats complied with this demand by September 2. Moscow called this action an unfriendly move.
“The policy is built on certain rules which have existed for many centuries, and which have their own principles. What is happening now between Russia and America, in my view, is a phantasmagoria, because those sanctions that were declared, those measures that were announced, are unlikely to bring benefit to anyone on this or that side. They cannot lead to improved relations between two countries,” Met. Hilarion stated in his recent interview posted on the site of the Russian Orthodox Church.
In his opinion, the cause of everything that is happening now is that Donald Trump, who spoke of the need to improve relations with Russia during his campaign for office, won the presidential election. The head of the DECR believes that Trump won “because the American people understood that without a radical improvement in relations with Russia, it is impossible to move forward.”
“Those people who lost, make up the establishment majority. It’s the Democrats who lost the election, and a significant part of the Republicans. Now there are members of congress and media representatives actually boycotting the president. I had to check this for myself when I went to America, and I saw the harassment the president is undergoing,” the metropolitan said.
Commenting on the recent closure of the Russian diplomatic missions in the United States, he expressed the opinion that in reality this is a measure directed against President Trump. “I think that all of these steps, which now seem to be aimed against Russia, are, in fact, directed against President Trump. It’s just that those people who lost the battle are trying to prove that this president is worthless and capable of nothing, and they are creating a situation in which he can do nothing,” the hierarch stated.
The Church representative believes that Trump “had and still has a desire to improve relations with Russia, but he doesn’t have those mechanisms which would allow him to do so, and he is primarily now a hostage of this internal situation.” The current American head of state, said the metropolitan, acts in conditions, when “all major political forces are directed against him, including the incredibly influential media.”
Answering how Russia ought to behave in this situation, the DECR chairman expressed the view that Russia “should not follow Washington’s example in relation to sanctions and provocations.” “If we want to take an example from America in something, then you can look and find it. There is much good in America, both in how the American people live, and in how the people relate to religion. Even among politicians there are sensible people who clearly understand what is happening; but to follow the example of those politicians who threatened us with fists and think that by such behavior they can put us in our place, I think, we shouldn’t do. Someone should probably stop and maybe even turn his cheek,” the bishop concluded.