Against the advice of his formidable Foreign Minister Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov, Russian president Vladimir Putin declined to take retaliatory action in response to Obama’s expulsion of 31 Russian diplomats for Russia’s alleged cyber attacks during the US presidential electioneering. Instead, Putin issued the conciliatory announcement below. The tone and content is hardly in the style of the former Soviet Union. What are we to think of this? Is it a sincere honest attempt to lower the temperature between Russia and the US. Or is it a cunning political move to boost a perceived ally in President elect Donald Trump or to give Barack Obama a kick in the bum as a send-off out of the White House by making him look politically immature – or both? The coming year will reveal more of Putin and his motivations. Conservatives around the world are taking an increasing interest in Putin.
Statement by the President of Russia
December 30, 2016
We regard the recent unfriendly steps taken by the outgoing US administration as provocative and aimed at further weakening the Russia-US relationship. This runs contrary to the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people. Considering the global security responsibilities of Russia and the United States, this is also damaging to international relations as a whole.
As it proceeds from international practice, Russia has reasons to respond in kind. Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration.
The diplomats who are returning to Russia will spend the New Year’s holidays with their families and friends. We will not create any problems for US diplomats. We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year’s holidays. Moreover, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties in the Kremlin.
It is regrettable that the Obama Administration is ending its term in this manner. Nevertheless, I offer my New Year greetings to President Obama and his family.
My season’s greetings also to President-elect Donald Trump and the American people.
I wish all of you happiness and prosperity.