Results of the Osaka meeting between the presidents of Russia and the United States can be assessed positively, Director of the Roosevelt Foundation for the Study of the United States at the Moscow State University Yuri Rogulev says.
"The atmosphere of the meeting was quite friendly and favorable, not hostile and not strained. The second important point is that it was agreed to continue discussing the issue of arms restrictions. This is the most tangible outcome which can produce some real effect and agreements in the future."
With regard to the key issues the presidents could have touched upon, Yuri Rogulev noted that "apparently, Ukraine was only discussed within a general framework, all the more so as Trump has never considered Ukraine as a major issue. And now that power had changed in Ukraine, I think this issue was discussed no more than perfunctorily. But as for Syria, everything is a lot more complicated, and I believe they discussed the preliminary results of the Bolton-Patrushev meeting in Israel. And, apparently, certain steps can be achieved.
To this effect, it is important not only to deescalate tensions in the Middle East but to accomplish the entire Syrian campaign in a positive way as well. If successful, it would be essential both for the United States and Russia. This fundamentally important issue will be nevertheless discussed behind closed doors rather than in the public spotlight."
In his turn, associate Professor with the Department of American Studies at the Saint Petersburg State University Grigory Yarygin notes that "the meeting itself is pivotal since the countries can keep talking to each other despite all the complications. And it is also important in terms of changing the United States' domestic situation.
Trump is strengthening his hand, he feels more confident in the international arena and is not afraid of criticism by the Democrats and the Republicans for communicating with the Russian President, which could have hardly been said about Trump a year or two ago, when any contacts with Russia would immediately cause a storm of protest in both the political and media space. And now he feels that contacts with Moscow are no longer dangerous, with Russia being perceived less toxic. Which is a good signal to Russia. And perhaps if Trump is re-elected, these contacts may entail productive appointments and results, not just landmark meetings. Now Russia and the United States are waiting for results in the area of strategic stability, and this is the main issue on the agenda in the two countries' relations."
However, according to Grigory Yarygin, "it is unknown how the discussion on Ukraine and Syria ended after all. But if we talk about what was essential for Russia as regards these issues, this would be a confirmation of Russian position's firmness. In particular, the Ukrainian crisis is primarily the crisis of the Ukrainian state, and the Crimea matter has been settled for Russia. And these are two established points. As for Syria, there is a need to resolve the issue not militarily by internal Syrian forces without involving any external forces.
But apart from Ukraine and Syria, a number of other important topics were discussed, namely Iran. And maybe the latter is the key issue right now. But I think that neither President Trump nor Russian President Vladimir Putin prepared any solutions to significant issues for this summit, like in the field of strategic security that would have been spontaneously resolved after this meeting, without an in-depth analysis.
And I am sure Donald Trump perceived this encounter as the most composed and reliable one in the context of the meetings ahead. He understands the entire agenda of our countries' relations, and it has remained unchanged in recent years. And although our relations have been adversarial, the priorities are permanent. After the meeting took place, Trump will basically say, and do it sincerely, that a dialogue with Russia is being established."
At the same time, Yuri Rogulev stressed that "one shouldn't have awaited any supernatural results from the past meeting. That was only a general outlook, a general exchange of views. And I think that until the US election campaign in 2020 is over, we will hardly see any steps and decisions in Russian-American relations. But both sides have acknowledged the need to improve relations, and this improvement will benefit not only the two parties involved, but also the rest of the world – and that's a fact. This was emphasized, and this was certainly an important breakthrough."