U.S. Ambassador to Russia
Michael McFaul: His tenure in Moscow, which
has been marked by a monumental
series of setbacks for U.S. interests,
may soon be over - if the gossip sweeping the Kremlin holds true.
Moscow Tongues Wag Over 'Downfall' of U.S. Ambassador McFaul (Izvestia, Russia)
"During his tenure as ambassador he has achieved nothing, and the
relationship between the countries has become much more complex: the Magnitsky
List, the Dima Yakovlev Law, Georgia, North Korea,
Iran, Syria. There have been many fundamental divergences of opinion. His
resignation is an objective judgment by the American side; Russia requires a
Igor Morozov, first deputy of the State Duma
Committee for International Affairs
U.S. ambassador has denied to Izvestia rumors of his imminent resignation. Yet diplomatic
circles don't rule out that he will announce his resignation at a reception in
honor of the 80th anniversary of the establishment of relations between the
USSR and United States.
16 will mark 80 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between
Russia (or more precisely the USSR) and the United States. According to
information received by Izvestia,
American Ambassador Michael McFaul will be invited to a reception at the
Kremlin, although how senior the participants will be is not yet known.
According to sources close to the Kremlin and Foreign Ministry, it is likely
that McFaul's resignation will be discussed there, though only if he brings it
asked by Izvestia
whether it was true he plans to resign (as first reported by Gazeta on November
8, the ambassador answered tersely, "incorrect."
be frank, I am not expecting any information on this and I can neither confirm nor
deny news of his resignation, as I have none on the matter," said Michael
Chadwick, European Media Relations Officer for the U.S. Department of State
Foreign Press Center.
close to McFaul claim that information on his resignation is a provocation, the
purpose of which is to push the ambassador to take that decision.
diplomatic sources do not rule out, however, that the plans of McFaul and the State
Department for his immediate future don't fully coincide, so his resignation may
far as we know, the U.S. State Department isn't satisfied that McFaul is
capable of building the necessary relations with the Kremlin and the Russian Foreign
Ministry. Having failed on Snowden, [the expulsion of] USAID,
the "Magnitsky List"
and the Dima Yakovlev Law, even some of the tamed opposition that
backed him have given up. He has lost influence and in our country and is
treated with apprehension," said a source close to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
McFaul's time in Russia, the U.S. has had to endure several failures. For
instance, the Russian special services managed to persuade the nation's leaders
of the subversive nature of the activities of the American development agency
USAID. As Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich
said, "The work of agency representatives in our country are not always in
keeping with its stated goals of promoting bilateral humanitarian cooperation. These
include attempts to influence the political process, including elections at
various levels, and the institutions of civil society, through the distribution
of grants. Serious questions have been raised about USAID activities in Russian
regions, particularly the North Caucasus, which we have repeatedly warned our
American colleagues about."
a result, since 2012, the American agency has ceased to exist in Russia.
most serious failure is the scandal surrounding former CIA operative Edward
Snowden. In early June, Snowden passed The Guardian and The Washington Post
classified information concerning the mass surveillance by the U.S. intelligence
services of the correspondence of citizens in many nations. As a result of this,
Snowden has been charged in absentia with espionage. Snowden fled the United
States, first to Hong Kong and then to Russia, where he currently resides and
hasn't personally expressed a desire to resign, but he has been steered in that
direction. It has been suggested to him that it would be best to do so
voluntarily. The situation is complicated," says someone in the ambassador's
November 16th, it will be 80 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties
between the USA and USSR - the legal predecessor to Russia. The ambassador must
certainly keep his post until then. We know there will be a reception at the
Kremlin, but this is preliminary information."
diplomats expect McFaul to say goodbye to his Russian counterparts at the
Kremlin reception, even against his own wishes.
Rogulyev, director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Foundation
for United States Studies at Moscow State University, doubts McFaul will voluntarily
leave his post.
information has certainly come out into the open, but the sources of this information
remain unclear. The ambassador of the United States is appointed by the president,
and these issues are handled by the State Department. I have no idea how Russian
media could possibly be the source of this information," says Rogulyev.
may be several reasons for his resignation, but the importance of Edward
Snowden cannot be underestimated. McFaul is not a career diplomat, having spent
most of his life engaged in political science research and lecturing. Because
of this, he made mistakes from the very beginning."
Ambassador McFaul's errors, experts point to a meeting held with the Russian opposition,
which took place almost immediately after he took up his post, arousing the
displeasure of Russian authorities. At the same time, during his time as head
of the Embassy, McFaul was never able to establish his credibility the way his
two predecessors William J. Burns and John Beyrle
were able to do. Rogulyev says McFaul has behaved like
a political strategist or a revolutionary rather than the subtle diplomat he
should have been. Accordingly, the Kremlin doesn't take him seriously as a
professional when it comes to international politics. Rogulyev
also notes that McFaul was a theoretician of the Orange Revolution,
which of course official Moscow greatly dislikes.
of the Strategic Studies Center Andrei Piontkovskiy tells Izvestia that, according to his
information, McFaul will return to political science and lecturing:
on his resignation is trustworthy. Several of my sources at Stanford University
inform me that he is expected to take up a post as a university lecturer in the
near future. As for the reasons for his departure from Russia, it is not worth
looking for some specific reason such as the Snowden affair. McFaul was
entrusted with a mission to "reset" relations with Russia. We can see
that he failed to do so. Relations between the two countries have undergone no
major changes, and in the United States, evidently, it has been decided that a
new person is needed in the post."
deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee for
International Affairs Leonid
Kalashnikov (Communist Party) has suggested that McFaul's departure from
the Embassy could simply be due to an end to his term in office.
reason could be a change in workplace because his term has expired. He has
already been in Russia for four years. I know him personally. As a politician,
I really like him He has an excellent relationship with Russia. He differs from
"serial" diplomats who close themselves off and never utter a superfluous
word. His politics toward Russia have always been open."
who took part in the infamous first meeting with Michael McFaul, believes his
resignation may be associated with a step up the career ladder.
is possible that he has other career plans having nothing to do with Russia. In
America, there are many people able to replace him - someone new could take
over. I don't know McFaul very well personally, and he hasn't made any particular
impression on me. I've met him twice. Other than the fact that he speaks
Russian very well and is polite, I can't really say much about him. It's a myth
that he is helping the Russian opposition. It's just that during meetings and
so forth, he has to at times meet with other political forces," Chirikova told Izvestia.
Morozov, first deputy of the State Duma Committee
for International Affairs, believes that McFaul's diplomatic efforts have
his tenure as ambassador he has achieved nothing, and the relationship between
the countries has become much more complex: the Magnitsky List, the Dima Yakovlev Law, Georgia, North Korea, Iran, Syria. There have
been many fundamental divergences of opinion. His resignation is an objective judgment
by the American side; Russia requires a professional diplomat."
Posted By Worldmeets.US
anticipated announcement of his resignation may coincide with several
significant dates in Russian-American relations. November 16,the day 80 years of diplomatic relations will
be celebrated, it will also be a year since the Magnitsky Act was passed by the
McFaul has a solid reputation as a Russian specialist. While an undergraduate at
Stanford University, the future ambassador twice held internships in the USSR, and
then in the early 1990s, he worked in the Carnegie Center in Moscow. Later he
visited Russia several times and was senior director of Russian and Eurasian
Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council. In May 2011, President Obama approved
his candidacy for the post of U.S. Ambassador to Russia.