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Russian Officials Hail Putin's Success at Trump Helsinki Summit

Monday's summit between the U.S. and Russian presidents was widely greeted as a foreign policy success for President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Many top Russian officials said the outcome of the summit in Helsinki had exceeded their expectations and had the potential to restore relations with the United States.

Other officials were more cautious, noting that no concrete agreements or concessions had been made.

However, the very fact that the summit took place was met with high praise in Russia’s political and media circles. 

This is how senior Russian officials reacted to Monday's meeting:

Viktor Bondarev, head of the Federation Council’s defense and security committee

“The attempt of the Americans to build a unipolar world was unsuccessful. Everyone understands this. The whole world knows that Russia can’t be ignored. The very fact of this meeting and dialogue is convincing proof of this. Glory and praise to President Vladimir Putin for raising the standing of Russia in the international arena to such an extent that, despite American and EU attempts to confront and pressure us with sanctions, they are still forced to look for ways to find common ground with us.”

Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister

Lavrov described the talks as “amazing” and “better than super.”

— Franz Klintsevich, Senator

“The talks in Helsinki … can be considered the start of a breakthrough in Russia-U.S. relations. Though not because of any specific agreements — such questions are not usually solved in three or four hours, even between heads of state. The summit, during which nearly all of our global ‘sore spots’ were discussed, showed that there are no insurmountable conflicts between our countries, though we have our disagreements.”

— Margarita Simonyan, Editor of the state-run RT news network

“It was perfect, yo. Q.E.D.”

— Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of the Federation Council

“We can’t expect concrete and practical results immediately [after the summit]. Patient, drawn out dialogue, communication and finding mutually acceptable solutions for both countries is necessary.”

According to Matviyenko, expectations should be “careful, given the [limited] opportunities in the current political conditions of the U.S.”

“This step will, undoubtedly, push other institutions in the U.S. and Russia to begin a dialogue in one way or another, as we’ve already seen in the first visit of the senators [earlier this month], who visited Russia and proposed this dialogue.”

— Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Federation Council’s foreign affairs committee

“That which happened was the best possible [scenario] in the current circumstances … Let’s imagine what could have been theoretically better: Trump says that [the U.S.] was mistaken in its evaluation of the situation in Crimea and southeastern Ukraine and that sanctions will be canceled tomorrow … It’s obvious that these kinds of concessions and decisions couldn’t be expected.”

— Leonid Slutsky, head of the State Duma’s foreign affairs committee

“I’d like to believe that it’s not some kind of temporary alignment of agendas but a basis for the restoration of contacts … But I would avoid being overly enthusiastic about the results of the first full summit or make unnaturally optimistic conclusions. The coming weeks will reveal if cooperation has been restored or not.”

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