Russia’s former ambassador to the United States is relieved to be back in “the world of normal people” after his nine-year diplomatic stint in Washington, he said in an interview with the pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper published Thursday.
“What a pleasure, how nice it is to return from the climate in which I worked to a world of normal people with normal problems, successes, relationships,” Sergei Kislyak said.
Kislyak, who found himself embroiled in controversy over reported meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump’s aides during the 2016 election campaign, returned to Moscow late last month.
The former envoy told Izvestia he was often “left speechless” at widely publicized claims of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election last year. “They were originally built on a lie and those who leaked them knew it full well.”
Despite what he described as U.S. media “brainwashing,” Kislyak said he discovered that Americans outside Washington D.C. view Russia “in mostly a normal light.” “So, sometimes a trip to ‘middle America’ even became a breath of fresh air psychologically.”
In response to suggestions that frayed bilateral relations could be improved through the Russian diaspora, the diplomat said that Russians in America are “not very interested in participating in political life” in the U.S.
He added that geopolitical tensions between Russia and the U.S. stem from America’s inability to adjust to “a changing world where they no longer have the opportunity for absolute domination.”
“The U.S. political class is resistant [to these changes],” Kislyak said. “In other words, they do not agree with objective changes in the world.”
Kislyak, after being replaced by former deputy defense and foreign minister Anatoly Antonov, has been floated to represent Russia’s republic of Mordovia in the upper house of parliament.