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    People walk past the Consulate-General of Russia in San Francisco, California on December 29, 2016

    State Department's Russia 'Tit for Tat' Remarks 'Reminiscent of Orwell's 1984'

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    US Closes Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, Entities in NYC and Washington (42)

    State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert has said that the US does not want the Russia-US "diplomatic tit-for-tat" to continue, and hopes for relations to improve. Speaking to Sputnik, political scientist Yuri Svetov said the words of US officials differ from their actions so much that it reminds him of the newspeak in George Orwell's 1984.

    Speaking to reporters at a press briefing on Thursday, Nauert said the US was looking forward to improving Russian-US relations. 

    "We would like that relationship to improve. We don't want to continue this kind of diplomatic tit-for-tat. There are far too many areas where we can, we hope we can, cooperate with Russia," the spokeswoman said.

    Nauert's remarks come amid an escalating diplomatic standoff over the seizure of Russian diplomatic property, including the Russian consulate in San Francisco, as well as trade mission buildings in Washington and New York. Russian diplomats were forced to suspend work at the facilities last week. 

    Asked to comment on Nauert's statement, political scientist Yuri Svetov told Radio Sputnik that US officials' talk about Washington's intentions to improve relations with Russia is so far out of sync with US actions that it reminds him of the famous dystopian novel by British author George Orwell.

    "When I hear such words, I am immediately reminded of the dictionary in Orwell's 1984. There, peace was called war," freedom slavery, ignorance strength, etc., Svetov said.

    "For eight months now, Donald Trump has been the President of the United States. In this time, we have heard so many words about improving relations with Russia, and every time, a new law on sanctions appears, or some other similar measures are enacted."

    "Now, Washington has essentially banned Russian citizens from visiting the United States, depriving the consulate of the right to issue visas; and against this background are new words about improving relations," the observer added.

    Earlier this summer, soon after Moscow announced that the US would have to reduce its diplomatic staff in Russia in response to the latest round of US anti-Russian sanctions, the US Embassy in Russia suspended processing of non-migration visas, citing staff cuts.

    Svetov said that it was significant that even many powerbrokers in the US are aware of the absurdity of the current situation.

    "For me, the statement of California Governor Jerry Brown, as the head of the US's largest state, and incidentally, a Democrat, was noteworthy," the observer said. "He said that the closure of the Russian consulate in San Francisco was a mistake, and commented on the need to improve relations with Russia."

    According to Svetov, this may be a signal that the Democratic Party is preparing to play the role of 'good cop' to the Republicans' 'bad cop' on Russia-US relations in the upcoming mid-term elections, essentially flipping the situation that came about during the 2016 presidential race.

    Last week, speaking on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Brown said that Moscow's readiness to go to court over the closure of its consulate in the US might help resolve the diplomatic spat.

    On August 31, the US notified the Russian Foreign Ministry that it would have to vacate its consulate general in San Francisco, the trade mission building in Washington DC, and the leased offices of the Russian trade mission in New York in three days' time. On September 2, authorities searched and then seized control of the consulate and the Washington trade mission, notwithstanding the fact that both are Russian property and thus enjoy diplomatic immunity.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry said that US actions constituted an outrageous violation of international law, including the Vienna convention on diplomatic and consular relations, and a Russian-US bilateral treaty. Moscow is currently believed to be considering retaliatory measures.

    US Closes Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, Entities in NYC and Washington (42)
    tit-for-tat, diplomacy, United States, Russia
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