SEATTLE -- The meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin is getting a lot of negative reaction from congressional leaders, but in Seattle at least one Russian is praising the meeting as a step forward in international relations.
“He took the word of the KGB over the word of the men and women of the CIA,” Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York said of Trump.
“Today was a terrible day for the American brand, for the American people, and for our allies,” said Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
But, halfway across the world from that summit in Helsinki, Finland, at the International Fountain in Seattle, Sergey Gladysh, president of the Russian-American Cooperation Initiative says it was a good day for international relations between the two countries.
The institute calls itself a grass-roots nonprofit, non-governmental advocacy organization focused on creating and sustaining favorable conditions for long-term and far-reaching cooperation between the United States and Russia
“I think, realistically, he was thinking what’s the right thing to do globally. And, what he did was the right thing globally, not just for the United States, not just for the Russian community here in America or in Seattle, what he did was a responsible thing to do of a U.S president who seeks good relationships with all the major leaders around the world, but in particular with Russia, given then weight these powers have on the world stage,” said Gladysh.
Gladysh says he wasn’t surprised Trump didn’t use the summit to call out Putin for meddling with the U.S elections.
“If it all comes down to one topic at these summits and these meetings, nothing ever is going to get solved. Nothing is ever going to move and we’re just going to have horrible U.S-Russia relation,s which will result in a horrible situation around the world,” said Gladysh.
Gladysh says as a local Russian-American, this summit is also a step forward in combating “Russophobia”
“It’s the notion that Russia is this dark, sinister, evil place that needs to be stayed away from, isolated and so forth,” he said.
Gladysh says that doesn’t change overnight and neither does a better relationship between the two countries, but like any relationship, he says, it all starts with a conversation.
“To all the critics, I just say there’s nothing bad that can come out of dialogue. Nothing. Whether they follow up with specific policies, whether they agree, disagree, whole separate issue. The fact that they talked is really good,” said Gladysh.