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ST PETERSBURG, May 15 (Itar-Tass) — There is no alternative to the “reset” process in Russia-U.S. relations, the chairman of the Federation Council international affairs committee, Mikhail Margelov, said in his opening remarks to the seminar entitled “Twenty years without the Soviet Union” at St. Petersburg State University on Tuesday.
“We need to fill it with real content and move forward,” he said.
Emphasizing that the face of Russia’s foreign policy has changed he noted that “Russia is not the second, revised edition of the Soviet Union.”
Margelov called for the creation of a cultural exchange programme between Russia and the United States similar to the Work & Travel USA programme.
This initiative will help both Russians and Americans to know each other better and will show to the latter that “we are not Soviet, we are different”, thus destroying the existing stereotypes.
Speaking about the steps towards strengthening Russia-US economic cooperation, Margelov placed an emphasis on Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization that will allow the two countries to cooperate in the economic sector more productively and on the working group created by the U.S. Senate and the Federation Council back in 2003.
“There is a need for sustainable cooperation between the countries, especially that in the economic sector,” he said.
The U.S. Consul General in St. Petersburg Bruce Turner stressed the importance of the seminar, as the United States and Russia should cooperate in all possible spheres.
The annual Russia-U.S. seminar is one of the longest projects in Russia’s academic life. It attracts attention of not only the two countries’ experts, but also of researchers from all over the world.
The dean of St. Petersburg State University’s international relations faculty, Irina Novikova, said this is a milestone event in the academic world. It is aimed at bringing together Russian and U.S. experts in Russia-American relations and foreign policy. During this seminar scientists from different countries discuss not only issues related to Russia-U.S. relations, but also pressing global problems.