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Russia’s Foreign Minister: US Election and Politics ‘Directly Affect’ Bilateral Relations – Avoiding the Record

US -- Matt Gnojek, a.k.a. Colorado Captain, hands out stickers to a voter in Denver, Colorado on November 6, 2018.
Sergey Lavrov

Sergey Lavrov

Foreign Minister, Russia

“I will not guess how the results of these elections will affect the future of our relations… We firmly know that the internal political perturbations in the United States directly affect Washington's relations with Moscow, and our relations, our contacts, our partnership on global security issues that many countries of the world are waiting for, have become hostage to these internal political squabbles in America.”

Partially true
While political discord can affect the nation’s foreign policy, Russia’s actions damaged relations more.

Russian officials said they were “closely watching” the U.S. midterm elections, but warned the results were unlikely to have any positive impact on bilateral relations.

Russian state media, however, largely ignored the election, only occasionally reporting statements made by top Russian politicians. In the November 6 elections, U.S. voters chose Members of Congress as well as state and local officials,

The Kremlin repeated already debunked denials that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, while Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova quipped that both U.S. political parties can now “blame Russian hackers” for failing to win a majority of seats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Zakharova’s boss, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, claimed to “firmly know” that “internal political squabbles in America” are the real reason for the poor state of relations between Washington and Moscow.

While Lavrov’s assertion is correct and political divisions in Washington have implications for relations with Russia, his narrative is completely wrong. Relations with Russia started to deteriorate long before the current U.S. president took office, and restrictive measures against Russia have bipartisan support.

A long line of US voters waiting to cast their votes in the 2018 U.S. midterm election at a polling place in Snellville, Georgia, November 6, 2018.
A long line of US voters waiting to cast their votes in the 2018 U.S. midterm election at a polling place in Snellville, Georgia, November 6, 2018.

More importantly, Russia’s deteriorating relations with the U.S are not its only problem. The Kremlin’s own actions, ranging from sports doping to military and cyber interventions, to waging disinformation wars and poisoning ex-spies, have steadily damaged Russia’s reputation globally. has compiled a list of the Kremlin’s actions that lead to Russia’s current international standing. The list is far from complete but demonstrates the actual basis for condemnation of Russia in the United States and beyond -- and the restrictive actions taken against it.