Interview of Leonid Slutsky with the rt.com network publication: “Infectious Disease, Scheduled Information War”


The COVID-19 pandemic affects not only the global economy, but also international politics. President Trump is seriously discussing the possibility of demanding compensation from Beijing for losses incurred. Anti-Russian rhetoric resumed with renewed vigor – both in the West and from the Eastern European neighbors. All this is in an interview with RT with the head of the State Duma Committee on Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky.

– Trump threatened to punish China for coronavirus up to the severance of diplomatic relations, Western intelligence agencies and the State Department accuse Beijing of destroying and hiding data on COVID-19, all over the world they talk about “Bill Gates conspiracy.” Isn’t it premature to look for the guilty?

“Finding the culprits for a pandemic is the last thing.” Now it is necessary to undertake a general consolidated effort in order to finally overcome the spread of coronavirus in the world. Trying to point at each other, build conspiracy theories is an absolutely dead end path in terms of achieving results.

There is a rather crude element of politicization in the fact that Washington is trying to transfer responsibility for the outbreak of COVID-19 to China. Moreover, such a line is more likely connected with domestic political factors: presidential elections, problems in the healthcare system, and general economic recession. And here the US administration did not reinvent the wheel, using the old and long-standing political technology in the American establishment to search for an external enemy.

And, in principle, it cannot be said that on the foreign policy flank COVID-19 somehow eased the battle for leadership waged by the United States with other world powers. On the contrary, even aggravated.

And the anti-Chinese campaign here is a manifestation of competition by not the most honest methods. A pandemic is just an excuse.

“Senators have introduced a bill on sanctions against China if it does not provide a full report on the outbreak of the virus.” How do you assess the prospects for sanctions and compensation?

– Speaking about the prospects of requirements and ultimatums, one should always remember the boomerang effect. Any aggression breeds aggression. And we have already heard the relevant counter-statements of Beijing.

But … China has been and remains open to any cooperation in the fight against coronavirus. Moreover, within two years, Beijing is ready to allocate $ 2 billion to support countries affected by the epidemic. And just the other day, the leader of the PRC, Xi Jinping, announced this.

Therefore, if again guided by reason, anti-Chinese sanctions are an absolutely unjust initiative devoid of any meaning. Yes, however, like any sanctions, especially in the new “coronary reality”. And this is not only my opinion. Being in parallel with the head of the Russian Peace Foundation, the largest non-governmental organization, in April I appealed to politicians from around the world to abandon the policy of unilateral restriction, adopted bypassing the UN, to effectively counter the pandemic. Until now, I have continued to receive letters from world capitals in support of this appeal. It was especially significant to get a similar reaction from the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

– The Russian Foreign Ministry announced a misinformation campaign launched against Russia: first, the publication in the Financial Times and The New York Times on the understatement of mortality from coronavirus in Russia, then an article in Bloomberg titled “Experts Want to Know Why the Coronavirus Did Not Kill the Russians More”. After the scandal, the title was changed. The State Duma commission to investigate the facts of interference in the internal affairs of Russia appealed to the Prosecutor General’s Office regarding NYT and FT, and there are also demands to withdraw their accreditation. Sergey Lavrov opposed the “trial” of journalists and offered to wait for the decision of Roskomnadzor. How to respond and stop new cases?

– Indeed, the infection is contagious, and the information war is on schedule. No one stopped her. Russia and China are declared threats to the United States at the doctrinal level, regular media attacks are an unhealthy consequence of prolonged anti-Russian hysteria.

How to respond? In accordance with the law. We have formed a complete legal framework to combat false information. And of course, continue to raise questions at international venues in general about the inadmissibility of the politicization of the pandemic, especially in such dirty, blasphemous ways.

– Against the backdrop of the pandemic, the United States decided not to finance projects to “contain Russia”. There is no silver lining? Or is it temporary?

– More precisely, the funding decided to reduce. Of course, I would like to hope for good and common sense. But with regard to the United States, where Obama’s anti-Russian flywheel is still gaining momentum, it’s difficult to predict.

– In the Czech Republic, the monument to Marshal Konev is first demolished, they refuse to hand it over, after which they talk about the Russian avenger who arrived with poison. At the same time, in a conversation with Russian prankers on May 5, the mayor of Prague announced that the Czech capital “liberated itself”, and the Red Army arrived when the war was over and intentionally “killed” the Czech people. And the demolished monument is the property of the district, the opinion of which must be taken into account. How best to respond to all this?

– Again, part of a large Russophobic campaign, where the amputation of the memory of the role of the Soviet soldier in the victory over fascism and the imposition of historical lies about the Second World War became long-playing elements. Have you heard that the American company prepared the justification for the demolition of the monument to Marshal Konev in Prague? (This refers to the consulting company Squire Patton Boggs. – RT) Our embassy in the USA sent inquiries regarding this, but, apparently, the answers still hung in the air. Plus, the White House statement on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Victory without mentioning the USSR! The memory is emasculated, the ashes of the heroes are alarmed, the monuments, obelisks are demolished, and all this abomination is also accompanied by fakes about the highly poisonous poisoners – all in the name and for the sake of containing Russia.

If we take the Prague case, then, of course, the dismantling of the monument to Marshal Konev on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory became a serious irritant in Russian-Czech relations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is holding consultations on the transfer of the monument to Russia under the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. We hope for their positive outcome, despite the published negative response of the Czech Defense Ministry to the request of the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Sergey Shoigu. The Czech Defense Ministry cites a lack of competence in this matter and just appeals to colleagues from the Foreign Ministry. Therefore, hopes still remain. But in any case, the sediment from the “gift” for the Victory anniversary in the form of a barbaric and blasphemous demolition of the monument remains, it will be very difficult for me personally to get rid of it.

– Ukraine does not cease to amaze. She returned Saakashvili, refused to accept help from Moscow for the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra afflicted by the coronavirus, blamed Russia for the Odessa tragedy, and threatened Nord Stream-2. Hopes for Zelensky have we run out of?

– Hopes for Zelensky should have been with his voters, who voted for him in the election a year ago. Then this was the result of the collapse of Poroshenko’s policy. But, apparently, someone is stubbornly pushing the new Ukrainian government to the same rake: there is no tangible progress in the settlement in the southeast of Ukraine, the implementation of the Minsk agreements has been sabotaged, the people have not grown rich, and have not become closer to Europe either.

– And will the record of the conversation of the allegedly ex-president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko with the then vice president of the United States Joe Biden and secretary of state John Kerry, who promised for the removal of the prosecutor general of Ukraine $ 1 billion, somehow affect the election campaign in the US? (Attorney General Viktor Shokin investigated the illegal activities of the oil and gas company Burisma with the participation of Biden Hunter’s son. – RT).

– I think this situation should be a real test for Western standards of democracy. Moreover, for Ukraine and the United States, where Biden is a presidential candidate. According to the deputy of the Verkhovna Rada Andrei Derkach, who released the record, we are talking about facts of international corruption. These are very serious allegations. But here it is necessary to wait for a legal assessment and the results of the investigation, if, of course, he is given a move.

– What are the everyday life of deputies now? What precautions do you have? Are you tested?

– The leadership of the State Duma in a timely manner took all necessary steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Regular testing is carried out, deputies, as you can see on the online broadcast, are required to attend meetings in full protective gear. Masks, gloves – required.

– Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko did not rule out earlier that it is not worth planning a trip abroad this year. What is your forecast?

“I’m not a forecaster.” I hope only for a quick and complete victory over the pandemic in the world.

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