A symbolic place, or both Moscow and Washington have met in Helsinki

© Flickr / JonathanХельсинки. Archival photoA symbolic place, or both Moscow and Washington have met in Helsinki© Flickr / Jonathan

The first full meeting of the leaders of Russia and USA Vladimir Putin and Donald trump will be held in Helsinki in mid-July.

On the need to organize such a summit and failure of communication format «on my feet» during multilateral events at the highest level began talking two years ago — after the arrival of the trump to power. Both sides needed to find a way out of the crisis, where they started the policy of the administration of the previous President Barack Obama — according to some experts, the relationship between Moscow and Washington are worse than in the most difficult years of the cold war.

Diplomatic war, risks a new arms race, the unresolved issues of strategic stability, misunderstanding on key issues of international relations, starting with the principles of peace and ending crises in hot spots — Ukraine, Syria, Iran and North Korea — subjects for discussion at the highest level, have accumulated more than enough.

While Helsinki is preparing for the fourth time to become a platform for the meeting of the leaders of the two powers, the RIA Novosti recalls why this city has managed to become a symbol of reconciliation of seemingly irreconcilable opponents and as a few decades ago helped to end the cold war.

In the cold war era

The choice of venue trump and Putin fell on Finland, not just the leaders of the USSR, and then Russia met with the presidents of the United States in Helsinki again. Country for a long time is neutral, being part of the EU, maintaining relations with the US and NATO, not being a member of the Alliance and with Russia.

Finnish neutrality was formed after the Second world war. The first step was the signing of a peace Treaty with the Soviet Union, according to which not only confirmed the transfer of some territories to the Soviet Union, but also secured the commitment of the parties not to enter into alliances and coalitions directed against each other. After that the country entered into another agreement confirming the intention of Finland to stay away from the contradictions of the great powers. Thus, Helsinki was able, without spoiling relations with its neighbor, to avoid joining the blocks were formed in Europe to refuse to participate in the arms race and to encourage the development of cooperation among all States for the common safety.

This policy allowed Finland to become a kind of bridge between the Soviet and Western camps during the protracted cold war. It was here in 1975 for the first time in several centuries, at one table there are assembled the leaders of 35 countries, to discuss issues of European security and cooperation. Then signed the Helsinki accords cemented the post-war borders in Europe and the political results of world war II. During the conference were signed, including the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States, the universal Declaration of human rights and laid the foundations of the organization which in the future transformed into the OSCE. All this became the beginning of the end of the cold war and gave new impetus to the policy of detente.

Then on the sidelines of the conference on security and cooperation in Europe met us President Gerald Ford and General Secretary of the CPSU Leonid Brezhnev.

The Value Helsinki

Called breakthrough, the first Soviet-American summit in Helsinki is hard, but more importantly that there were conditions to all the leaders who participated in the Helsinki conference, signed a package of agreements, whose principles are respected today. According to the memoirs of a former Soviet Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Dobrynin, on the sidelines of the conference Brezhnev and Ford met several times, mainly to discuss the limitation of strategic weapons — the United States, then actively developed the production of cruise missiles, the USSR created the new bombers — these developments bothered by each of the parties.

«A long conversation in Helsinki between Brezhnev and Ford has not led to a compromise solution to these issues. There was, however, reached some agreement on certain issues, but they did not eliminate the fundamental disagreement» wrote Dobrynin in his memoirs.

Was then agreed and the expected visit of Leonid Brezhnev to the U.S., but in any case the Helsinki personal conversation between the two leaders was not given the emerging dialogue to slow down.

The second Russian-American meeting, organized in Helsinki, took place between George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev in the midst of the Kuwait crisis of 1990 and were important for the further development of events. Treat then made arrangements (under which the Soviet Union actually freed the hands of U.S. military operations in connection with Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait) may be different, however, adopted following the talks between Bush and Gorbachev, the document was politically important leaders of the USSR and the USA demonstrated a common line against Iraq.

The then assistant to the President of the USSR Anatoly Chernyaev later recalled the conversation, «how big and serious». «The goal for both was common — to act so as to permit the Persian crisis was the consolidation of the new nature of Soviet-American relations and advance toward a new world order. Gorbachev believed that this goal can be achieved by excluding the military option. <…> Bush agreed with the preference for a political solution, but did not believe in this possibility and openly talked about it,» wrote Chernyaev.

Seven years on, Helsinki has again become the presidents of this time Russia and the USA Boris Yeltsin and bill Clinton. The main topic once again become issues of arms control and NATO’s activities. Then in March 1997 in Helsinki for the first time discussed the proposal to develop a Treaty to reduce strategic offensive arms, better known as start-3. And although he was signed at 13 years other presidents, in another city and in another form, the meeting of Clinton and Yeltsin initiated the development of a Treaty which, despite all the difficulties, remains the cornerstone of global stability.

Symbolic place

According to General Director of the Russian Council on international Affairs Anatoly Torunova, in itself, the meeting place cannot play a major role in the success or failure of the Russian-American summit. Given the fact that Finland is a neutral country, and relations, and Putin, and trump with the President Sauli Niinistö develop respectful, in General, «the background for negotiations will be favourable», he said.

«This city is increasingly associated with the signing of the Helsinki final act of 1975 — this was the first attempt reunification of Europe, the ten principles, which are still considered the Foundation of European security. In this sense the symbolism in the choice of the city has» stressed Trocnov.

Former permanent under Secretary of the UN Sergei Ordzhonikidze agree that «if superstitious approach, the Helsinki a good place because the previous summit was positive.»

«Meet anywhere, it’s the details. We can talk about some symbolism. Again, if you recall the famous Helsinki final act, he was imprisoned there. But really it does not matter where to meet in Helsinki, Vienna or Switzerland. This is not the most important thing. The main thing that was achieved some progress on fundamental issues. After all, we have our own agenda, and the Americans — their own,» said Mr. Ordzhonikidze.
Crucial decisions should not wait

A symbolic place, or both Moscow and Washington have met in Helsinki© Flickr / Hernán PiñeraВ London feared the consequences of the meeting between Putin and trump, write SIPRI same time, according to Kortunov, we have to understand that the first meeting, especially given the fact that she cooked in a very operational mode, can not lead to some life-changing decisions, or some direct way to change the relationship between Moscow and Washington.

«Therefore, the goals that are put in front of it really should be more modest and the criteria for success should not be very harsh,» he said.

«I want to add that speaking about Helsinki, now Finland is the chair of the Arctic Council, which includes Russia, the United States and other Arctic States. And Arctic cooperation is one of the areas where Russia and the United States, even under current conditions, interact with high efficiency. The first meeting of leaders requires a change in the vector of relations — you need to try the negative trend, which, unfortunately, is the main change for the positive. There are precedents — we know how such summits in the past this function was performed. Now the situation is, of course, harder than it was before, but nevertheless everything is possible in politics», — concluded the expert.

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