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San Francisco Russian Consul General Sergey Petrov
Joins Michael Steger with the Schiller Institute
On a Discussion of US-Russian Relations: Past, Present, and Future

February 2017

Invitation to this event

Transcript of this event

On Saturday, February 18, 2017, San Francisco Russian Consul General Sergey Petrov joined Michael Steger with The Schiller Institute for a more than two hour discussion of US-Russian relations: past, present, and future. More than 50 people crowded into the LaRouche PAC office in Alameda for a beautiful discussion with the Consul General. Enthusiasm does not begin to describe the response of especially the large handful of people who had never attended a LaRouche event previously.

Opening the event our chorus sang America the Beautiful and the Russian National Anthem.

Michael Steger introduced Mr. Petrov by recalling a recent statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin that some people leave without saying goodbye showing respect, but others say goodbye but never leave, referring to former US President Obama.

Mr. Petrov began by thanking the Schiller Institute for the invitation to speak to Americans, saying that he considered the Schiller Institute the interlocutors for the U.S. and Russia. He expressed his warm appreciation to the Schiller Institute for both the beautiful singing just performed and for the wonderful tribute that the SI made both in San Francisco and New York honoring the Alexandrov Choir following the tragic plane crash on Christmas Day that killed most of the members of that group. The new, rebuilt Alexandrov Choir, he said, just had its first performance.

He began his presentation by mentioning that he had recently had a discussion with an American diplomatic friend on Russian- U.S. relations. In that discussion, he recalled, he presented some of the areas in which those relations had deteriorated and how that occurred. With both seriousness, irony and humor, he then proceeded to elaborate for this audience each one.

First, he said, was the U.S. cancellation of the ABM Treaty, “the situation with Yugoslavia, the situation with Chechnya.” On the later he discussed how when Russia was fighting the terrorists there, the U.S. not only gave no support, but insisted that Russia negotiate with these mass murderers and said they are not terrorists. Then the Georgia conflict, he explained that Russia never attacked anybody, but defended the Russian soldiers who were part of an international mission. He explained the situation with Edward Snowden, who is in Russia today. Snowden, he said, arrived in Moscow and since the U.S. had canceled his passport he could not leave Russia. For years, he said, Russia had attempted to get the U.S. to agree to a general extradition treaty to no avail. Russia was wanting the U.S. to extradite Chechnyan terrorists back to Russia. Then the U.S. demanded that Russia send Snowden to the U.S. Russia explained, repeatedly, that they could not do that since there was no extradition treaty.

He then mentioned the outrageous behavior of the U.S. in regard to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, in which the U.S. put out massive propaganda telling Americans that it would be attacked by terrorists, Russia discriminated against LGB people and it would be a logistic disaster. Eliciting a round of laughter, Mr. Petrov said he did not understand this accusation about LGB people since there are more LGB bars in Moscow than in San Francisco. As everyone now knows, it was one of the best olympics ever.

Of course he discussed the situation with Ukraine in the context of the breakup of the Soviet Union and how that created great hardship as Russians suddenly found themselves living in a different country. He discussed how the Minsk agreement problem is that the Ukraine government for more than two years now has no carried out their side of that agreement.

Then taking on directly the accusation that Russia supported Trump in the election and interfered in the election, with a little more of his humor and irony, he made it clear that Russia does not interfere in the internal political life of other nations. He then concluded with some remarks on the areas of cooperation that must be the core of better US-Russian relations, especially the joint fight against terrorism.

I think that should give people a good sense of the quality of the Mr. Petrov's opening presentation. There were many questions submitted, but really there was only a handful of them that were addressed before we ran out of time. Mr. Petrov especially enjoyed addressing the need for more people to people diplomacy and cultural and scientific exchanges, including his invitation to everyone to attend the Russian festival being held in San Francisco this weekend. Toward the end of the event the question came back to Ukraine and he made clear that the nature and actions of the Ukraine government were responsible for not only the 10,000 already dead, but also the continuing violence and deaths now occurring.

Bringing the event to a close, the entire audience gave him a warm and standing ovation.


Here are some of the responses members are reporting:


From Gerald --Some new and reactivated people attended. These included:

Cheryl from San Francisco- This was her first meeting. She is a 50'ish political activist in SF and had found our BRICS petition on line. She thought she was anti-LaRouche previously, but through the BRICS petition and then starting to get daily emails, she realized she agreed 200 percent with LaRouche. She had gone out on her own and gotten hundreds of signatures on the BRICS petition.  She has travelled to Russia.  She now wants to deploy with us.  Already on Sunday she sent two emails saying how great she thought the evernt was.

Patrick, who had worked 32 years on Fusion Power at Lawrence Livermore Labs before getting laid off.  Very passionately for Trump and sees us the crucial link to make the whole thing work. He was very happy to hear the Russians, and wants more collaboration.

Peggy is a reactivated supporter and picked up another contact and brought her to the meeting. As an Uber driver, she told stories of driving in SF on election day night and seeing the absolute insane freakouts of the establishment.


From Mindy:

Dave, who was recently reactivated after being away for a year, brought his auto mechanic Armenian friend.

Chetana- This was a very important discussion, because almost 100 percent of here friends in the Berkeley area are anti-Putin, anti-Trump, and pro-Obama. She thought the debunking of the media lies was very very important because it gave her insight into the truth and how much the media lies are spewed out over and over and over.


From the lit table - between the people putting in $20 contributions at the lit table for Hamiltonians and other lit, and follow up immediately afterwords we raised over $1,000 between the meeting and follow-up right afterword.. We sold 4 Hamilton Books at the table.


From Debra at the lit table: She talked with Theresa, whose jaw dropped when Debra briefed her on Lyn/Russia/Reagan collaboration on SDI, Ned spoke to her afterwords about how she is frustrated cause everyone where she works in Sillicon Valley is anti-Trump and she feels she cannot speak up.

One young man who attended, has been around for years but never came to anything. He drove more than an hour to come. This young man is indicative of the political shift post-Obama. He stayed for hours afterwards for in-depth discussion on Hamilton banking, artificial intelligence versus creativity, and economics. He left very happy, having felt suffocated by Silicon Valley culture and politics.


From Jim:

1) A middle-age Russian-speaking Ukrainian/American (former Soviet citizen), who had been out-of-contact for six months or so, after attending one of our political events in the Alameda office about a year ago, responded to our very minimal invitation to yesterday's event with the Russian Consul-General, by emailing back an almost "formal" letter of apology.  She said that she was working at the annual Russian Festival and was sorry she could not attend.

2) A Russian/American lady, also middle-age, shifted from her usual cynical stuff about the LaRouche movement being "too small," etc., etc., to not only taking off work to come to our event (took a bus and BART to get to the meeting), but expressed her gratitude at "your organization," for our work on improving US/Russian relations, etc.

Both of these anecdotes indicate a qualitative change in the recent period in our relations with the San Francisco Russian/American community.