‘New US ambassador unlikely to hand out cookies to protesters’ – snr Russian senator

The head of Russia’s Committee for International Relations has said he sees the new US ambassador to Moscow, John Huntsman, as a down-to-earth specialist with no intention of influencing Russia’s internal policies.

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Jon Huntsman © Chris Keane

For obvious reasons, the figure of the new US ambassador to Moscow invokes serious interest,” Senator Konstantin Kosachev was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

It is obvious that [US President] Donald Trump had to look for a candidate who would be approved by Congress, which currently studies every move regarding Russia under a magnifying glass,” Kosachev added.

In that sense, Huntsman suited them all – he has no record of sympathizing with Russia, even though he used to have some business interests here. He has some diplomatic experience – at 32 he became the youngest US ambassador of the century when he accepted the mission to Singapore. He has some experience in working with major states, in particular China, where he has also worked as an ambassador,” Kosachev noted.

This can be seen as confirmation of the theory that Trump’s Washington is looking at Russia through the prism of China. If that’s the case, it’s a minus, because we see independent value in our bilateral relations. On the other hand, this can be seen as a plus, because the new head of the US diplomatic mission in Moscow is unlikely to spend much time in attempts to reform Russia or in handing out cookies to protesters,” the senator said.

Because of that we are ready to work with the new US ambassador and of course we are waiting to meet him in Moscow with great interest,” the Russian senator added.

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Demonstrators, who are against a constitutional amendment on decentralization, clash with police outside the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, August 31, 2015. © Valentyn Ogirenko

In his comments, Kosachev referred to the well-known story of 2013, when US Assistant State Secretary Victoria Nuland visited the violent anti-government protests in central Kiev, Ukraine, and handed out cookies to rioters as a sign of support.

Nuland noted in subsequent comments that she was handing out sandwiches, but the expression ‘to hand out cookies’ remained in its original form. In early 2014, the ‘Maidan’ protests developed into a full-scale coup d’état that, in turn, led to military conflict in southeast Ukraine that continues to this day.

On Thursday, the US Senate unanimously confirmed former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman as the new US ambassador to Russia. Huntsman served as ambassador to China under former US President Barack Obama and was the ambassador to Singapore under former President George H.W. Bush.

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