Russia and the US have fair grounds to building trustworthy relations but they will do it slowly and cautiously, Andrei Bystritsky, the chairman of the board of the foundation for development and support of the Valdai Discussion Club said.
As he commented on a recent intensification of contacts between the two countries, including a visit by a Congressional delegation to Russia, he aired an optimistic note on a possible thawing in Russian-American relations.
"President Donald Trump himself said he would favor the rationalizing of relations with Russia," Bystritsky recalled. "Neither Trump nor his national security advisor [John] Bolton say everything will be OK at once but still they stress the importance of a direct dialogue, which is the best way of resolving problems."
He said it would be groundless to hope for a rapid levelling-out of relations between Moscow and Washington.
"The process will be slow and cautious enough," Bystritsky said, adding that obvious changes had occurred in the situation in the US. "The American elite have reconciled themselves to Trump and is rallying more support."
He made known his conviction that a military aspect, too, was present in the sphere of Russia-US dialogue.
"Russia is actively developing next-generation armaments and the US is doing it as well," Bystritsky said. "The countries armed to this high degree have more than enough reasons for developing the relations that would be transparent and credible to some degree."
He stressed the absence of consensus on Russia among Western countries regarding Russia.
"The Italians have one kind of a position and the French have a different, quite identical position, while the Germans have a still different position," Bystritsky said. "This lays the groundwork for shaping up bilateral trajectories of relations between Russia and leading Western countries."
US Congress delegation is making a seven-day familiarization trip to Russia. It includes senator Richard Shelby [Alabama], senator John Kenned [Louisiana], senator John Hoeven [North Dakota], senator John Thune [South Dakota], senator Jerry Moran [Kansas], senator Steve Daines [Montana], and representative Kay Granger [Texas].
St Petersburg was item number one on their agenda. Their next meetings will take place through to July 5 in Moscow where they are expected to meet with members of the Federation Council upper house of Russian parliament and the State Duma, as well as with officials from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The delegation is making the trip in the run-up to a Russian-US summit due in Helsinki on July 16.