Yevgenia Albats & Ambassador Susan Elliott: Media, information, and the U.S. - Russia relationship

January 15, 2020 1:08:00
Kaltura Video

Noted Russian journalist and scholar Yevgenia Albats and Ambassador Susan Elliott, discuss the role of media and information in the evolving relationship between Russia and the United States. Ambassador Melvyn Levitsky moderates. January, 2020.


Welcome all of you to this 

event on Media, Information, and 

the U.S. - Russian relationship.  

I'm John Ciorciari. I direct our

Weiser Diplomacy Center here at

the Ford School and I'm  

delighted to co-host this special 

event with our friends from the 

UM center for Russian East 

European and Eurasian studies.  

Seldom, if ever since the Cold 

War has the U.S. relationship 

with Russia had more importance 

whether were looking at Ukraine 

and the impeachment process, 

nuclear politics, or events in 

Syria and Iran.  The 

relationship has profound 

global and local ramifications 

periods marked by conflicting 

interests and ideological 


Media information and 

disinformation play crucial 

roles and how U.S. and Rush 

engage one another and how 

public audiences view both of 

them.  This is not an easy time 

for journalists or diplomats 

working on the west Russian 

relations but both have crucial 

roles to play within and 

between the two countries.  

That is why we have assembled 

this panel with our experts 

today here at the Ford school.  

We will start by introducing 


and CEO of the national 

committee on American foreign 

policy.  She served in a number 

of senior diplomatic roles 

including most recently a 

civilian deputy in foreign 

policy or -- policy advisor.  

Prior to that, she served as US 

ambassador to she's been a 

deputy assistant in central 

Asian affairs.  And has served 

in Russia in Northern Ireland, 

Peru, Greece and enrolls at 

main state including deputy 

executive secretary and so she 

brings a wealth of practical 

experience and expertise.  In 

the center, Dr. Albats is a 

Russian investigative 

journalist and radio host.  She 

is a 2019 -20 distinguish 

fellow at UM's international 

Institute for Europe and 


Since 2007, she's political 

editor and an editor in chief 

and CEO of the new times and 

Moscow-based Russian language 

and political weekly.  When 

digital in June 2017 when it's 

distribution and sales were 

severed by the Russian 


Since 2004 she has hosted 

absolute Albats radio station.  

She's been an Alford friendly 

press fellow assigned to the 

Harvard and a fellow at Kelly's 

writers house in Perry house in 

the University Pennsylvania.  

She graduated from Moscow State 

University and got her PhD in 

political science from Harvard. 

She has taught ideal and at 

Moscow's higher school of 

economics.  Her courses were 

canceled.  She's the author of 

four books related to the 

history of the KGB.  

Closest to me is Ambassador 

Levits.  Professor at the Ford 

school and a retired career 

minister in the US1 foreign 

service.  He is also Senior 

advisor to the wiser -- Weiser 

-- he's been ambassador to 

Bulgaria Brazil, Assistant 

Secretary of State for 

international narcotics matters 

and executive secretary also at 

the State Department, deputy 

director of the voice of 

America.  He has a bunch of 

Russia related experience.  He 

directed the State Department's 

office at the you end political 

-- and also served as a 

political officer in Moscow.  

You've got a tremendous amount 

of expertise on the topic at 


Just a word on format.  After 

he converses with our special 

guests, you have people going 

around with note cards so you 

can write down questions.  

They'll be passed to the front 

or two of our Ford school 

students, Gordon and Nathan, 

will ask a representative 

sample of your questions to the 


After the session, at 5:30 PM, 

we will move outside for a 

reception including an 

introduction of the gift of 

paintings donated to the Ford 

school by Bill Mann Thorpe, 

painted by his late wife.  So 

please join me in welcoming our 

special guests here to the 



Ambassador Levitsky: Okay.  

Rather than say Madam 

ambassador, Doctor, ambassador, 

let's use our first names okay.

Perfect mall means various 

things and it means chalk I 


And I preferred it when I 

was ambassador because Mel 

means honey and Portuguese.  So 

whether I am chalk or honey, 

you can make the determination. 

Will thank you both for doing 

this.  This is a terrific time 

to have this conversation 

especially because yesterday 

and this morning we had no news 

from Russia about what looks 

like a planned governmental 

shakeup I suspect that the end 

result will be to give Mr. 

Putin a little bit more power 

beyond 2024, but I would like 

to hear your -- beyond 2024 

when he cannot run for 

president again.  But I'd like 

to hear your opinions on that 

as well as we talk about the 


So my experience was during the 

Cold War.  The Russian media at 

the time was completely 

controlled in a way that very 

few people would read.  People 

look for other sources in the 

nightly news program people 

listen to shortwave radio.  At 

one point I was a deputy 

director of the voice of 

America and -- which was 

supposed to broadcast at the 

BBC objective news but also 

gave a sense of what US1 policy 

was.  It was Cold War.  And we 

used a number of devices rather 

than use hot water to influence 

the opinions of both countries 

because the Soviets also had 

their own broadcasting 

mechanism they had the various 

magazines that we exchange.  

So, during my time, there was 

always this theory of 

convergence.  I know you 

remember this.  There was some 

theory back when I was a 

student at the University of 

Michigan -- that's a long time 

ago by the way -- that, in fact 

the two systems would converge. 

We would become more like the 

so-called socialist system.  

They would become more free and 

open and democratic and there 

were a number of scholars who 

actually thought that there 

would be convergence.  That 

didn't happen during the -- 

during the Cold War.  It was an 

organizing principle for U.S. 

policy.  I remember the had -- 

the central committee member at 

the time when I was in Moscow.  

His son is now prominent, 

guests in Russia.  But I 

remember he said when the 

Soviet Union was breaking up, 

we are going to play a great 

trick on you.  Were going to 

take away your enemy.  So, if 

you think about that, during 

the Cold War period over 40 

years, US policy was centered 

on that conflict.  And when it 

was gone, we did search for 

purpose for a while.  Now, it's 

kind of back, not in the same 

ways but in certain ways.  And 

so, we want to talk about this 

but what I'm really interested 

in hearing until you have more 

knowledge particularly current 

knowledge is how do people in 

Russia get their information?  

What do they base their 

opinions on what is the role of 

social media is strong in the 

United States of course the end 

of the reading newspapers.  I 

know the Russian population 

when I was there was a terrific 

-- terrific readers of both.  

Everybody carried a book on the 

subway.  Everybody was reading 

something or another.  Once in 

a while they would get a book 

from Kurt Vonnegut who was 

published in Moscow.  So what I 

-- if we take about 05 to 10 

minutes, however much you would 

like to kind of discuss so 

where do we stand with the 

media.  You have direct 

experience.  You were there 

recently as well.  Let's try to 

get a sense of what -- are 

there some pockets of free 

expression?  You know we all 

read about in a volley who is 

leading a -- what would've been 

called a dissident movement.  

Not quite sure which would call 

it now, but a popular movement 

that has some expression that 

can get out of the country a 

little bit easier than it was 

then.  So I want to look at 

that.  What's the role of 

social media.  What's the role 

of the regular media, how the 

Russians good news.  And I'll 

give you one more example.  I 

have a student who came to me 

last year, an undergraduate 

student.  And she was going to 

work for U.S. consulting firm 

in Moscow.  As an intern.  

Her parents were little 

concerned.  It was a regular 

kind of internship with -- 

under the auspices of the 

embassy and we talked over a 

period of time.  She decided to 

go and she came back in the 

other day, two days ago, she 

came in and we talked and I 

learned a lot about what the 

young -- she hung out with a 

bunch of young people, both 

Russians and some foreign 

students and others.  And it 

turns out that social media 

does have quite an influence.  

How much in terms of the more 

adult, older population, is 

another question.  These are 

things that we want to cover.  

And may I say one word about 

the pictures?  So Bill Mann 

Thorpe, when we were in Moscow 

and I was a second secretary 

and I was in charge of looking 

at things like Jewish 

immigration, this was during 

the period in the Nixon 

administration.  And so I was 

in the street a lot.  You've 

heard about what is the street 

saying what are people saying.  

I met with a lot of artists and 

writers, many of whom did not 

write officially but wrote for 

the so-called -- under the 

table for the drawer.  And Bill 

and Judy Mann Thorpe were in 

this diplomatic complex.  We 

were on the seventh or ninth 

floor, eighth floor.  They were 

a few floors down below.  It 

was an elevator that went up 

and down.  All the rooms were 

bogged.  So we knew they were 

bogged.  It did not affect the 

conversation too much because 

we working to discuss 

classified information.  But 

Judy was a wonderful -- was a 

wonderful painter.  She painted 

all kinds of styles.  So Judy 

passed away three years ago.  

Bill lives in Delaware near the 

coast and we talked over a 

period of time about bringing 

Judy's pictures here of Moscow. 

She painted several pictures of 

Moscow as we receive this award 

of the Russian foundation.  

Perfect.  And so, you'll see 

those outside and I want to 

thank Bill -- we worked on this 

over a number of months and 

this is for us.  I like Judy a 

lot.  My wife was very good 

friends with her as well and 

it's a terrific tribute to her. 

May I ask you if you would give 

us some thoughts on -- since 

you were in media, and various 

experiences good in some cases 

a not so good in other cases, 

what's the role?  And is there 

a future for the media gaining 

more presence in Russia life?  

And then I want to talk about 

this couple as they say.

Thank you very much when 

writing me for this event.  I'm 

honored to speak here.  I'm 

going to give a special lecture 

on Russian media 30 years after 

the fall of the Berlin wall at 

the end of this month.  We'll 

talk specifics.  

When you -- when we spoke about 

this over the phone, I said 

that Russian media dead.  You 

can say that man is walking, 

you know, but basically, there 

is one Internet -based TV 

channel left, one broadcasting 

left which is still, you know, 

that's the -- the broadcasting 

which is owned by the state 

company there's no media except 

for some Internet media.  -- 

Media.  Some bistate or state 

companies.  There is three, I 

would say independent media 

websites the New York Times, 

the bell, which is basically 

around -- out of Berkeley and 

dues a which is around out of 

regard the capital of luck 

there.  The warden state -- it 

is a border state with Russia.  

So that's basically it.  So 

instead.  And however, having 

said that, we should also 

acknowledge that there is a new 

set of media appear on YouTube. 

YouTube becomes the most 

important media in Russia.  For 

a sense there is a famous 

interviewer.  He has over 6 

million subscribers.  That's 

bigger than the audience of the 

major news program on Channel 

subscribers and several other 

presenters who used to be TV 

personalities.  They started 

using their shows on YouTube.  

Now, there is a plan -- on the 

impact of the social behavior.  

And we now that is quite 

different in the West and in my 

part of the world.  Whereas in 

the Democratic countries, 

Facebook and others, they are 

more into promoting the 

populace politician and 

populace use.  In my part of 

the world, Facebook, Twitter, 

and other social networks, they 

serve as a source of 

information.  In accordance to 

the latest poll conducted by 

the independent pollster, in 

the age group 24 to 35, people 

in this age group, they get the 

majority of their venues from 

the social match words as 

opposed to those who are over 

news from the propaganda 

channels meaning Russian TV.  

Just so you understand, there 

is no one network that is left, 

which is not under control of 

the Russian state companies 

like -- (Indiscernible) -- or 

some others.  So that's the 

situation with Russian media.  

It is a huge problem for 

Russian journalists, especially 

in my age group I'm 61 years 

old.  Who spans lives in the 

Russian media musician, and now 

left without jobs.  We had a 

lot of cases when -- Excedrin 

center.  When time comes of 

course, it's good to happen and 

I hope you do this -- enjoy 

this is much as I do.  

We will face the same problem 

we faced back at the end -- 

when collapse happened in 1991. 

It was that we didn't have real 

investigative journalists who 

knew how to do the job that's a 

huge problem... 

Mel: Will get up -- we will 

get into what happened later.  

One of the things is the 

constant effort to inform, to 

persuade, to have other 

companies and other populations 

try to understand what US1 

policy is.  

When I was deputy director of 

the voice of America, we 

thought like the BBC like 

shortwave.  I think anybody has 

a shortwave set anymore.  Maybe 

you people but not for hobby.  

But we were able to get a 

signal into Moscow and were a 

lot of Russians that I managed 

-- that I met in the Russian 

language broadcast was was 

jammed periodically.

Yevgenia: All the time.  I 

was the listener and the voice 

of America, you know?  

I'll tell you what you could 

get in certain places in the 

Soviet Union because when I 

used to travel I would take the 

Zenith radio which was about 

this bid with the aerial on it 

shortwave, you could listen to 

it.  I'm not sure how many.

And we connected to the 


No.  No satellite.  It was a 



Signals bounce like this and 

end up somewhere, we hope in 

the right places.  

Yevgenia: (Laughing).

Mel: Could you talk a little 

bit about, from your 

perspective, having served 

there a couple of times and 

having been in the area and in 

the State Department, the views 

that you have on the role of 

the media and what can -- what 

is it possible for the U.S. 

government to do better 

informed if that's possible?  

Susan: Thanks for having me.  

The last time I served in 

Moscow I had a lot of contacts 

with Yevgenia.  She was a 

guiding light and a pillar she 

was not only an investigative 

journalist but she was not 

afraid to speak the truth and 

speak her mind.  And there are 

people willing to do that.  

One thing I can speak to is 

because I'd like to talk about 

the US1 Russia relationship.  

In terms of media, my last two 

assignments, one was in Europe 

working with the US1 military, 

but the other was in central 

Asia.  One of the things we try 

to do in terms of U.S. 

government is look for 

alternatives to Russian state 

television because people, at 

least in central Asia, most 

everybody still speaks Russian 

and the role no -- there are no 

alternatives, maybe a few, but 

none that have wide 

distribution so everyone 

listens to Russian media.  I 

can give you a good example.  

When the Russians took Crimea 

in 2014 I was in US.  So I said 

what you think about what's 

happening in Crimea?  And they 

said the Russians had to go in 

because the fascists had taken 

over and is going to be like 

World War II again.  There was 

this whole message.  I was like 

who told you that?  

What we heard it on TV.  So 

for most people in central 

Asia, especially in poorer 

areas, television is -- even 

for younger people because 

maybe less than 20 percent of 

people have access to the 

Internet at least in their 

homes.  So through phones that 

the younger people would have.  

It was very difficult to find 

alternatives.  That's one of 

the things that we worked on at 

the time.  I left in 2015, but 

trying to support media or 

stations that perhaps wanted to 

be an alternative to the 

Russian media.  But just had a 

lot of difficulty getting 

airspace, getting air time and 

so that was a difficult thing.  

And the extent of the Russian 

media has gone into other 

languages.  So not only do they 

give their -- will use the word 

propaganda, but their point of 

view, but then they have -- 

there and all over Europe, 

Russia media is behind a lot of 

language broadcasting in 

German, in Romanian, not just 

companies of former Warsaw but 

in Western Europe as well.  So 

it's hard, I think, even in our 

own country to sort out what is 

real and what isn't real.  Of 

course, this is a debate among.

It's all fake news.

Well at least we have a 

choice of looking at the Fox 

Bay, the CNN fake, I think that 

something that the U.S. had 

tried to do, but it's extremely 

difficult to -- because a lot 

of it is based on money and 

advertisement to be able to 

promote a different voice or a 

different point of view.  

Especially when the 

overwhelming, you know, control 

is from Russia and especially 

in -- companies -- countries in 

the caucus, to but countries of 

Central Asia.  And so they had 

a different narrative on what 

was happening in Afghanistan.  

Sometimes I hear things 

reported even in the local 

channels, things that maybe I 

did or the US1 did which really 

weren't true.  But it's 

extremely difficult.  And I 

don't have -- you know we had 

voice of America and other 

things in the past.  

I do think young people, like 

most of you in the audience, 

look for ways to get around 

what you find real news.  You 

mentioned you two.  My 

organization does a lot with 

China that in China, even in 

Russia, even in places like 

Saudi Arabia, this isn't just 

unique to Russia that people 

have to get a VPN line.  And 

you can go around because you 

know when we were in China and 

talk about will you don't have 

access to Google or Google 

based information, we do, 

here's how we get around it.  

So there are ways to get around 

it.  And I would say in China, 

they are probably more 

repressive in that there is no 

-- is very difficult to get 

real information 

And even eyewitness did -- I 

was there when they were -- the 

protests in Hong Kong in the 

hotel, they had the BBC and 

CNN.  But the BBC showed it 

more than CNN, but it used to 

be a protector.  

But anytime anything came on 

about Hong Kong the screen went 


So I really never seen that.  

At first I thought there was 

something wrong with my TV.  

Then it comes back afterwards.  

So it's blatant there.  And you 

would see that they're going to 

talk about Hong Kong and then 

they cut it off.  

But it's something that I think 

-- is something the U.S. 

government would definitely and 

does try to be involved in.  

And sometimes I think where we 

have gotten crossways -- I'm 

not saying this is right with 

companies former Soviet Union, 

they think that if we want to 

give a different message, that 

the message is overthrow, 

regime change, revolution, you 

name it, which in my opinion is 

and always true.  I think that 

goes back when we can talk 

about this.  

You mention convergence.  I 

think -- I served in Moscow 

after the fall of the Soviet 

Union in 1992 and 1994.  I 

thought I was just a young 

naC/ve diplomat thinking well 

communism is gone and most 

people want democracy and want 

to be part of the liberal 

democratic community.  And you 

know, Russia will find its way 

that way.  And I think there 

have been mistakes made on our 

side and their side along the 

way.  And I did get give credit 

that there was -- there wasn't 

a war.  There was a peaceful 

transition that happened given 

the kinds of things that had to 

be sorted out.  I think that's 

a mistake that we -- I'm going 

to take a pragmatic approach 

approach that we have made in 

our dealings with Russia Post 

Soviet Union.  Even in dealings 

with China and other countries 

who were not of our democracy 

yes we need to stick with 

people that holder same values, 

but we can't always expect that 

everyone will want to embrace 

what we embrace in the U.S. 

Let me ask also in the same 

connection, so for a while, 

after the fall, of the Berlin 

wall and then the breakup of 

the Soviet Union, the was a lot 

of U.S. government effort on 

helping NGOs, helping NGOs in 

Russia and some of the other 

countries that were in the 

so-called Soviet bloc.  That's 

kind of disappeared.  Are there 

-- what you think about -- and 

nongovernmental organizations 

that have some influence over 

public opinion have programs.  

Is there a role for them?  And 

I'm not saying sponsored by the 

United States, but being able 

to grow on their own.  We look 

at protests.  You could not do 

that in the Soviet period very 

much you be thrown in jail 

right away.  Some demonstrators 

are treated badly now but there 

are people in the streets.  Is 

there a role for private 

organizations to influence 

policy and move the country 

toward a more representative 

system?  You have to say more 

than now.  

At least I would say not 

foreign.  So are there -- I 

guess that would be a question 

for another opinion.  Are there 

Russian NGOs I could maybe do 

some of this work.

It collapsed and then Russia 

was in a difficult and we are 

trying to set up independent 

mediums and each time I was 

meeting with somebody from the 

State Department or European 

Union or and they asked me tell 

us how can we -- it was a 

regular question.  And usually 

there was -- (Indiscernible) -- 

we always had one and the same 

answer.  We don't need help 

from you because we are dead 

the minute you stop helping us. 

All we need, -- guys, we cannot 

take Rantz from you.  We cannot 

take money from you.  But you 

have, you, Ambassador of 

Sweden, Ambassador of United 

Kingdom, ambassador with 

Germany and are very nice 

people, trust me.  You have in 

Sweden you have a in Germany 

have a lot of different -- you 

have all kind of foundations, 

institutions, you name it.  

That's all we need to survive 


Russian businesses are debt 

afraid -- especially when Putin 

came into power and the checks 

took over the country, the KGB 

and the facets, they took over 

all branches of the government. 

And so to add to the new times 

was to Putin -- I am against 

Putin.  So no rush and business 

in good conscience could do it 


So yes, there were tons of 

times when they were coming to 

me and I was meeting with them 

and they were bringing me the 

package, $100,000 in one 

package.  And I said listen, 

how do you expect me to deal 

with that?  

Therefore, we were in bad need 

of ads, real ants from the 

Western run companies.  All, 

you know, I mean, okay.  Moscow 

was probably (Indiscernible).  

But in Sweden there were a 

couple of other companies.  Or 

there were -- the were 

different institutions in the 

United States of America -- 

open guardian.  Open financial 

times.  (Indiscernible).  And 

you will see all these ads from 

different institutions.  

Schools, universities, 

foundations.  That's what we 

were asking for.  Not once.  

And then another meeting and 

another meeting (Laughing) and 

how can we help you?  Thank you 

very much.  You know, once I 

got -- because you know we were 

totally out of any money.  And 

I got a grant for European 

endowment for democracy.  The 

next year I was find the amount 

of 22.5 million rubles.  That's 


So -- and that was very 

interesting because Russians 

are very naC/ve.  We expect that 

when we are asked how could we 

help you the people meant that. 

Now I understand technically 

means nothing.  How you doing?  

My mom died, oh nice to meet 

you.  (Laughing) See you next 

time.  But it took me a while 

to realize it's this chat.  

Mel: No, I would like you.

Never happens.  Never never.

May I suggest that you be 

a little bit more passion about 

this thing (Laughing).

What you want me to do?  

Right.  Well okay.  I 


So what you mean by ads for one 

thing?  Why would they spit 


Mel: Would they be able to 

take it?  

Yevgenia: Of course they 

could take it.  

Mel: Without any pressure 

from the government?  

Yevgenia: It was supposed to 

be legal.  And yes, the only 

way for us to operate as 

Russians, to be absolutely 

transparent and legal, because 

the minute I would allow myself 

to do something illegal, I'm 


Mel: Yes.  

Yevgenia: Of course I 

couldn't -- 

Mel: You started out by 

saying the media is dead.

Yevgenia: Yes.

Mel: I'm quoting you know.

Yevgenia: Very good.  

Mel: Can the media rise from 

the dead?  And I want to get 

your opinion as well on this?  

Yevgenia: No.  Especially 

with the changes that were 

announced.  Basically 


Mel: Right.

Yevgenia: No.  But we now, 

you know, those of us who do -- 

deal with political regimes we 

know that the terror regimes 

are quite unstable.  So they 

tend to collapse as a result of 

instability, etc. 

So hopefully, and you know the 

median age of the terror regime 

is about 11 years.  You 

understand I'm trying to 

convince myself that I have 

some future ahead of me.  

(Laughing).  But, of course, 

when the regime collapses, were 

going to have media.

Mel: You must have somehow.  

You go back.

Yevgenia: I love it here 

because you know it's -- 

Mel: It's a challenge.

Yevgenia: You're getting -- 

each time you see another 

surveillance you feel real 

good, you know (Laughing).

Mel: I'm going to ask the 

dispassionate former American 

diplomat, to show some passion 

also about -- so when you were 

there, you heard what Yevgenia 

was saying.  What -- how did 

the embassy view its role in 

trying to promote a more 

representative government?  

The one thing, representative 

governments tend to be more 

cautious particularly if they 

have some blocks on their 

activities so that the 

executive cannot do everything 

that executive wants because he 

has to think about the 

legislature for the population. 

So when you were there, right 

after the collapse, what was 

our policy centered on?  What 

were we trying to do?  And do 

you think, at all, that it was 

effective?  Because I think 

Yevgenia does not think it's 


Susan: There were two 

different times that were 

there.  A completely different 

thing.  In 1992 to 1994, I 

think things were trying to be 

sorted out and how, as Yevgenia 

mentioned, if there was a 

reverse that people were 

trained as journalists.  But 

perhaps it was a whole new 

world and I think we were 

focused a lot on creating 

opportunities for American 

business and looking for ways 

that we could have partnerships 

because we thought that 

communism was dead and that 

Russia was moving toward being 

a liberal democracy, just like 

the United States of America.  

That's what we thought.  And 

now in hindsight, it seems very 

naC/ve to have thought that.

Mel: You think that was the 

basis of the policy because it 

was naC/ve if you study Russian 

policy that's a big job.

Susan: That's a mistake that 

we make in the United States 

because we don't look at the 

history and we don't look at 

what had happened and even if 

you look at what's happening 

now in Russia, is that, you 

know, some of what I think is 

the problem in New Guinea -- 

you mentioned -- Putin perhaps 

or even others in the Russian 

government feel that we have, 

for lack of a more academic 

word, we have dissed them, not 

treated them as an equal, as a 

world power and they don't like 

it.  So there's some -- I 

think, fear perhaps or 

insecurity.  I mean, to me 

people who are doing the kinds 

of things that happened 

yesterday, they are insecure 

and they look for ways to hold 

and control power.  I actually 

worked for the ambassador, I 

was the staff assisted the 

first time I was there.  I 

helped prepare meetings I'm 

going to be brutally honest, 

but in her own interests, we 

thought here are opportunities 

for American business, USAID 

came.  The Peace Corps came.

Mel: That's effective.

Susan: Everything was sort of 

like here's the opportunity 

that we never had before.  Of 

course the Peace Corps was 

different.  It wasn't a regular 

Peace Corps.  It was retired 

business executives come to 

help Russians figure out how to 

run a business in a more open 

open way.  So I would say and I 

think the same thing for the 

media looking at how could we 

help journalists?  Even -- this 

is kind of -- this was in 

Tajikistan, but we were upset.  

I was the ambassador since 2014 

passport.  All who had been 

trained by us in the United 

States were very good 

journalists and they were all 

going to go start working for 

like Sputnik or the Russian 

media outlet.  

We said weight.  Why are you 

doing this?  And they said 

look, they were offering big 

salaries to get them to come.  

And they said don't worry, we 

will report responsibly from 

the Russian media.  So they 


I guess I would say that a lot 

of what I remember in 1992 was 

looking for how we were going 

to normalize and what we were 

going to do to create 

opportunities not only for the 

U.S., but for Russians because 

there were a lot of -- at the 

time to start a business you 

had to have a joint venture so 

for an American company to come 

in they had to find a Russian 



Susan: Later, when I was 

there the second time and 

Yevgenia header magazine I was 

one of the people came in and 

said how can we help you?  

Because we did.  That was 

really honest that we wanted to 

look for ways that we could 

advocate, but it was a catch 22 

because if you are to -- if you 

advocate too much, could have 

negative repercussions on her.  

So how do you strike that 


Well, I think my 35 years as 

a diplomat, taught me something 

which is both a real criticism 

of US1 policy but also praise.  

We think that anything can be 

accomplished.  We believe that 

we have a mission and no matter 

what we are seeing these days, 

we believe that human rights 

count and the representative 

governments are the best ones 

to work with.  And sometimes we 

get a little bit 

overenthusiastic about this.  

We don't step back and say 

let's think about better ways 

of using leverage, more clever 

ways of working to try to bring 

out these impulses that are -- 

I think present in every 

country to try to have more 

control over the lives of the 

people.  It is hard for us, I 

think -- the lesson is it's 

hard for us to stand back and 

be patient.  

We tend to be a people that 

think we can do anything and 

since we have a representative 

government here, which gets 

elected every two or four years 

or so, we are always looking to 

do it pretty quickly.  So, it's 

-- I think it's praiseworthy 

for our country because we have 

that image of we want to get 

in.  We want to help.  We want 

to do this.  And at the same 

time, it's really not naC/ve, 

it's just embedded in us that 

we can do anything.  

Susan: We can do it quickly.

Yevgenia: Can I say that 

first of all, I do not want to 

sound unthankful.  I think the 

Americans -- (Indiscernible) -- 

for Russia.

For one you give a $66 

billion, which was extremely 

important in terms of getting 

through the hardships.  Then 

talking about journalists, a 

lot of journalists -- and a lot 

of good Russian journalists, 

they would throw kind of school 

here.  Nice fellowship.  They 

came -- the very first time 

they a lot me to go abroad was 

I went to work in Chicago on a 

fellowship.  So it was really 

very important.  A lot of us 

got a vacate Ãan education 

here.  The fact that I went to 

Harvard was the best thing that 

ever happened to me.  It was 


Was Michigan's second best 

door (Laughing).


We don't like that.  


I would agree because 

there's another program which 

is still around although the 

Russians have come out of it 

it's called the flex program 

which is high school.

We have the night fellows 

here too.  

And I think that is 

extremely important you know to 

open and try to open up and 

create opportunities for it.  

But I guess that's why I would 

say I'm also, like you, Mel, 

the glass is half full, not 

half-empty.  And that having 

served in Russia, maybe I don't 

love it is much as you do but 

I've been there twice and I've 

created my whole career around 

-- and I would like to see a 

better relationship between our 

two countries so that you would 

be able to somehow perhaps we 

can be more effective in 

helping you to have a more -- 

some kind of opening to -- to 

be able to practice your craft. 

I have a more probably 

pragmatic approach and I think 

that it's time for the US1 in 

Russia to look for ways that we 

can try to open up a dialogue.  

Russia's probably only country 

in the world who could destroy 

the United States of America in 

a matter of 30 minutes or so 

because of nuclear weapons.  So 

at a minimum, we have to have 

dialogue on issues of mutual 


And we were talking about this 

the other day, to take the 

treaties that exist, I was in 

-- there in 2010 that was the 

bane of my existence helping 

the negotiations on the start 

treaty.  I would like to see 

that continue but expand.  

That's an area where US1 in 

Russia could agree and then 

maybe look to include China or 

look to include new and more 

sophisticated weapons that we 

haven't had before.  And I also 

think this is not a popular 

point of view, it's on the 

chair by Henry Kissinger.  And 

the other purse, Tom Grant who 

served in Moscow to look at 

maybe perhaps we should step 

back and if we look at what's 

going on in Ukraine, can we 

step back and say we are going 

to stop thinking about NATO 

expansion.  It does not mean 

that we are not going to 

support Ukraine or support 

Georgia or our other friends, 

but look at ways we could maybe 

then begin a dialogue to cut a 

deal, make some arrangements.  

We will do this if you get out 

of the dog box.  But if we 

don't talk, we really won't get 

anywhere.  And I think we have 

to, at least, make the Russian 

government and potent feel that 

we consider him to be a world 

player and that we are willing 

to make Russia part of a 

solution, not may be part of 

the problem.  

Let's now get to some of 

the questions from the 

audience.  We have -- introduce 

yourselves please -- or against 

-- were you introduced -- I may 

have forgotten.

Anyways, introduce 

yourselves and that we have 

questions from the audience 

you've been picking through 

them.  So please, go ahead, ask 


I am Nathan.  I'm pursuing a 

graduate certificate.

Susan: I think you need to 

speak up.  I'm in MPP also 

pursuing a graduate certificate 

in Russian European studies.

How much do journalists on 

state run channels by into the 

news they provider do they 

understand that there 

effectively government 


I'm not sure.  

How much do journalists on 

state run channels like Russian 

today by into the news that 

they provide?  Do they 

understand that they are 

effectively government 


So the question is, 

Of course.

They know what the framework 


They feed you.

That's what I said.  The 

journalists went to work for 

the Russian news media outlets, 

they didn't mainly because they 

needed the salary they needed 

the money.  They were well paid 

and whether they believe 

everything or not, 

You have lots of friends 

among journalists I'm sure.  

Without naming names, what you 

think these journalists feel 

like when they're basically 

given a script?  

That they have to provide 

for their families.  That they 

have to pay mortgage.  Exactly 

the same with people in other 

countries trust me.  


I agree.

That they have to raise 

their kids what they think.  

It's very hard, you know.  

Thank God I'm speaking English 

I can write in English.  I can 

make money on the side.  But 

for many -- for many colleagues 

of mine, it's a huge problem, 

how to provide for their 


That's exactly what happened 

in Tajikistan.  That was the 

only way -- they made no money 

in the outlets that they could 

be real journalists.  And they 

got lured away by larger 

salaries and then they had to 

report what they had to report. 

Yevgenia: The salaries are 

huge.  People making $50,000 

per month.  Dollars.


I want to go there 



So it's not easy for some 

people it's not that easy to 

make a choice.  


But even the salaries, 10 

times what they had been 

making.  That's hard to pass up


Yevgenia: Right.

Good evening my name is 

Gordon.  It's a great 

opportunity to ask you these 

questions from the audience.  

So here is a question.  What 

barriers, if any do foreign 

journalists face in Russia?  

Mel: Foreign journalists.  

When I was in Moscow, this was 

in the mid-seventies.  We had a 

group of the best journalists 

that were sent.  They no longer 

send journalists.  I guess they 

can't afford to do it, but we 

had people from the New York 

Times and "Time Magazine" and 

from the Washington Post and 

they were -- they were 

scripters, they had to be 

careful, but they were able to 

talk to people even in that 

particular time which -- the 

KGB was a little more careful 

in the way they dealt with 

journalists.  They want to talk 

to people are not necessarily 

those that reported that were 

part of the regime.  And it was 

an amazing period.  If you read 

the stories back into the 70s, 

what I would call free 

journalism by foreign 

journalists.  I don't see as 

much reporting of rationale.

Is that because.

Yevgenia: It was a good book 

written by Herman Schmidt.  A 

wonderful book.  He was a Times 

reporter.  But he was one of 

the very few journalists who is 

able to get the inside 

information.  For foreign 

journalists, it's hard to get 

information from the 

decision-making sphere.  The 

Kremlin, when Putin is going to 

step down or not.  Why he fired 

-- why this person is been 

appointed as the new prime 

minister.  That's very 

difficult.  Very difficult to 

get this information.  However, 

as opposed to what was going on 

in the 1970's -- that I don't 

remember that will.

You're too young.

Of course (Laughing) I had 

to say it.  (Laughing).

I feel like your father, 

now.  (Laughing).

So anyway, people are no 

longer afraid to talk to 

foreigners.  In the Soviet 

Union, the minute you spoke to 

a foreigner, you were summoned 

up to the KGB.  And they 

created all kinds of problems.  

So in that respect it's easier 

for them to travel.  They can 

travel around.  Unfortunately, 

once again, many foreign 

journalists, they don't speak 

Russian and they have to.  

There's no way you can work in 

Russia without speaking -- 

otherwise you will have a 


Reporting what you said.

All of them reporting, 

Are not translating.

That also.  Exactly.  

We find that in China.

David spoke beautiful 

Russian.  To me he spoke 

beautiful Russian.  A lot of 

good reporters now, some of 

those who worked in the 90s, 

they also spoke very good 

Russian.  It was important.  

It's still important.  

Mel: And our media, 

unfortunately, just aren't -- I 

don't know -- I wouldn't say 

paying attention, I think it's 

part of the economic problem 

particularly with newspapers 

even if there online.  Having 

foreign correspondence.  In the 

over the world.  Reporting from 

all over the world.  First 

hand.  Talking to people.  It 

doesn't happen as much anymore.

Well I think that people are 

tired of Russia.


Yes.  Through a lot of 

expectations and we have a 

possibility to break.  And it 

was not because it was lack of 

money but because you know, it 

turned out to be extremely 

greedy because corruption is 

just beyond -- because instead 

of fighting -- people were 

fighting for how to steal 

another company from the 

states.  So that's the problem. 

I think much more interest in 

Ukraine.  That's where we will 

battle now.  It'll be really 


China's interesting.  Taiwan, 

they just reelected the 

incumbent and fought back.  

Chinese.  So Russia I think is 

a little bit less interesting.  

Mel: That's good from the 

Russian standpoint.  I'm not 

talk about the the government 

standpoint.  So much of the 

spotlight on what's going on.  

Or is that not right?  

I have no idea.  I cannot 

read their minds.  

Mel: Sort of came because it 

closed down a number of the 

outlets some of them that you 

-- that you worked for or 

restricted them, wanting to 

keep the monopoly on what news 

people are receiving, wanting 

to gauge the news to their own 


Yevgenia: The people intend 

to become control freaks.  

People around the country they 

are control freaks.  They want 

to control everything.  Like 

today, in Putin stated the 

Union, he announced that 

they're going to abandon the 

self governments.  (Laughing) 

It's a disaster.  Chernobyl 

would've paid attention to 

this.  But at least there was a 

possibility to do something on 

the grounds, down to the earth. 

And why they're going to do 

this?  Precisely because they 

are control freaks.  They do 

know that that will preclude 

from getting into -- whatever 

little information was 

available from the ground.  

They will be able.  Information 

all around it's a known problem 

especially in certain regions.  

But they do this, why?  Because 

they are control freaks.  They 

want to know everything.  They 

think that if they were going 

to have their people and their 

agents everywhere, they're 

going to prevent the collapse 

of Russia or whatever.  United 

States coming down to Moscow 

and grabbing -- grabbing 

Russian oil.  Whatever -- all 

this mindset.  It's still 


Next question.

This issue of control to 

what extent what role do see 

alternative mediums like 

graffiti, art, poetry and the 

demonstrations conducted by 

groups like Pusey riot play in 

providing access to narratives 

which might be censored and 

traditional media sources 

within Russia?  

Susan: I'm just trying to 

think about that.  People again 

are taking a stand in different 

judgment when you talk about 

Pusey riot -- I had forgot 

about them for a while.  But 

the role -- I think that this 

space to be able to do that in 

New Guinea as outlined that 

well has narrowed.  People 

don't feel comfortable being 

able to express an opposing 

opinion unless they want to go 

to jail or be run out of 

business.  So I would say there 

is not much space for even 

poetry or writing or other 

forms of expression.  I don't 

know.  I may be wrong.

Mel: Well poetry is in the 

Russian soul when I was there.

When I say writing something 

that might express a different 

point of view and do it as 

writing a book or writing 

something.  But not.

During the worst periods of 

Soviet oppression there were 

some people that did poetry 

probably thinking they're not 

going to understand what I'm 

really saying anyway.  But 

there were poets that 

challenged, in a certain way.  

And then they had to write 

other things for the regime.  

Mel: That's a question.

Yevgenia: There are people to 

write poetry, so, so far the 

regime was pretty much, you 

know, unconcerned about.

Mel: Is that because it does 

not go out to the public gets?  

It doesn't get into the public 


I think they realize that it 

doesn't have -- unlike -- 

unlike TV electronic media, 

very little distribution.  

Therefore little impact.  So 

they just left them.

Regimes tend not to be that 

-- that concerned about what 

people think.  That's the 

difference with terrorist 


Mel: I do a lot of comparison 

at the 70s period when I was 

there, and I remember that 

there was always -- there -- in 

this word to mouth area, 

musings that were coming out 

that she would not see 

advertised but word-of-mouth 

would have this new play or 

something that had a meeting 

that might reflect criticism of 

the regime, but it had to be 

done in a sophisticated way.  

Yevgenia: But they were is -- 

there was a special -- 

(Indiscernible) -- between the 

line.  There is censures it 

back in the theater.  So we'll 

see how it goes with respect to 


Mel: Okay.  Let's go to the 

next question.

Because younger and older 

generations in Russia get their 

news from different sources, 

how does it affect or change 

the generational divide or 

generational gap?  

Susan: I would say it's a 

similar US1.  People 50 watch 

the network or CNN or Fox news 

and people who are younger, 

fewer generation, some people 

get it from social media.  But 

they don't get it in the same 

way that people from my 

generation get the news.  So it 

appears to me -- at least -- I 

have not lived in Russia since 

is the way things were in 

countries before the Soviet 

Union in central Asia is that 

the older people would watch 

the news.  They had no 

alternative.  There was only 

the Russian language networks.  

There were some people that 

could speak English, but even 

CNN and BBC were harder to come 

by.  So, I guess it depends on 

-- it's an issue for our 

country.  What do you see on 

the news if you're my age and 

I'm watching the NBC nightly 

news, as opposed to what you 

see if you never watch the 

television but you get your 

news from reading online or 

othersources? .  

Comedy Stuart, people used to 

get their news when Jon Stewart 

was on there.  

I guess the thing that bothers 

me and this is a debate in our 

own country, is that -- and 

maybe it was propaganda when I 

was growing up, but you sort of 

felt like you could rely on, if 

you read something in the 

newspaper that it was probably 

true.  Maybe it had a slanted 

to it, but now you really don't 

know.  And especially with 

influence of other -- someone 

can put news on Facebook or on 

the Internet and you don't know 

if his -- is hard to sort out 

what is fact from fiction.  

And -- I think that that makes 

for a bigger, you know, divide.

Mel: What you think about 

this generational divide I mean 

are the young Russians now -- 

as they grow -- as they get 

older, will they carry those 

views or does the system that 

exists kind of leaven it down 

as they get older?  

What you mean.

Mel: Views about life in 

general, about the government, 

about freedom.  About music, 

you know, you said you two for 

example, that kind of thing.

This is interesting.  It's a 

good question because we see -- 

last summer a lot of the young 

people went out on the streets 

and some were arrested and many 

went to jail since summer 

serving time now.  So we see 

that these generational clue 

those that were born after the 

collapse, they are much less 

prone to be afraid.  There much 

more fearless.

They didn't experience the 

old system.

Yevgenia: Exactly.  They're 

now 22, 23, 24.  They're more 

interested in politics.  

Thursdaysick and tired of 

pollutant.  When you tell them 

that there were already four or 

five presidents and we still 

have -- put in game under 


Second Bush, Obama, Trump.  

So for.  Right?  Four.  So then 

you -- they definitely want to 

see -- they want to see -- many 

of them are naC/ve, but they are 

eager to take part in politics 

and to have a say in -- and the 

decisions that are made.

So is that.

I remember you said earlier 

-- but it will come.  In other 

words the change will come.


Are you betting that they 

will hold these attitudes to 

the point when they get to be 

able to influence politics or 

become elected, let's say, 

whatever, city Council member.

Yevgenia: I think it'll come 

soon.  I think that the 

stability in Russia is coming 

to an end.  Somebody -- the 

system was extremely shaky and 

is going to be even more shaky 

because of the changes that 

Putin just announced.  So -- 

and there will be a more 

popular organization.  It's 

extremely hard now -- no one 

knows who's going to end up in 

jail whether you are 

government, administer or an 

oligarch.  So yes back.  Yes, 

young people are going to 

change the system.  The 

question about it.

That's good.  

Mel: That's positive.

Yevgenia: Absolutely 


Susan: Very good.

It's an interesting thing 

because you know sometimes 

systems that are oligarchic or 

autocratic, pull those people 

that enthusiasm for having more 

control into that system 


Yevgenia: Of course.

And making it impossible to 

enjoy let's say -- a good life 

with lots of bells and whistles 

on edge.  Unless they join the 

system.  It'll be interesting 

to see what the response to 

this generation that you 

described coming up will be 

from those people who depend on 

keeping things the same because 

that's where their money is.  

So I think it's an interesting 

question.  We don't know.  At 

this point.  But do you think 

the demonstrations that have 

taken place most recently have 

affected the way the government 

itself, Putin and his 

colleagues operate?  

Yevgenia: Yes.

Mel: Do they have to worry 

about this?  

Yevgenia: Yes.  They have to 

worry and they're concerned 

because Putin's ratings 

returned back to pre-Crimea 

pre-Crimea levels.  In 2012, 

ratings are going down well.  

They're concerned about that.  

So yes.  Yes, they should 

become concerned.

Mel: Another question from 

the audience.

Over the past few years the 

LGBTQ plus community has gained 

a much greater deal of 

acceptance.  Do you up 

anticipate the change in 



Susan: I can give you some 

anecdotal evidence because I 

have gay friends who are 

Russian.  And who really took 

an opportunity -- again, this 

was in the 90s.  They switched 

their careers and started a 

business.  I will give you a 

lot of details and you'll know 

who they are.  But -- and they 

are gay.  And everything went 

along fine and all the sudden 

we talk about the KGB, KGB came 

and turned out that the guys 

whose driver was with KGB 

install the business and then 

he had to leave the country.  

One of the others who had 

gotten out of it has moved on 

outside of Moscow, but is very 

worried about revealing, he 

stays under the radar, that 

he's gay.  So for look at my 

experience just with my 

friends, it's -- there is still 

a lot of discrimination and of 

course this guy lost all his 

money and that his family now 

-- he got political asylum in 

Germany.  But they just came 

and took all his money and it 

was like well, it's almost like 

you're gay and you deserve to 

have this taken away from you.  

That was the feeling.  That's a 

personal experience that I had. 

I don't know if that's 

widespread.  But even these 

people that I met in the 97 

continue to be friends with 

them and it doesn't appear that 

some of them another one left 

and has left the country 

because they just didn't feel 

comfortable living in the in 

the U.S. 

One time when I was -- I was 

working for Condoleezza Rice.  

I had -- I was in Moscow.  I 

invited all my gay friends to 

come and have brunch with me at 

one of the Marriott hotels.  

You should have seen the looks 

at people because here is Susan 

Elliott with these 12 gay men.  

It was great for me, but again, 

it was something that I think 

that was really unusual for 

people to express themselves in 


Yevgenia: Is an interesting 

question because in the Soviet 

times, there was special.

It was an article in the 

Soviet criminal court -- 

(Indiscernible) Ãmy gaze.  

This was changed in 1992 or 

was the first magazine to 

publish gay -- we had gaze 

undercover and was huge scandal 

of course.  But still people 

accepted that.  

I had a reporter who married 

his gay husband.  They married 

in France.  But they lived in 

Moscow.  And he was writing and 

we published a lot of stories 

from inside the gay community.  

It's not exactly 

black-and-white.  On the one 

hand people are pretty much 

acceptable.  It becomes -- it 

becomes -- you know, people are 

getting accustomed to see 

same-sex couples.  

A lot of lesbian couples, they 

have children and they are 

pretty open about that.  

However, there are parts of 

Russia which are totally 

intolerant.  It's totally 

unacceptable.  For them any gay 

relationship is totally 

unacceptable.  And people are 

died there.  People experience 

a lot of -- a lot of, you know, 

hardships.  But Russians are 

getting much more okay with 

that, you know.  It's no longer 

something -- it's impossible.  

They're okay with that.

I was a rush is more.

Mel: In terms of that as 

well.  That's the outside media 

like YouTube and things that 

showed that that style of life 

in the West in particular that 

may be affecting attitudes but 

the big cities at least, do you 


I don't know.  It depends on 

how people read English and 

understand English.  So no.  I 

think it's people are becoming 

-- you know, there are a lot of 

open gaze.  And people look at 

them and they see that it's 


Susan: And rush is much more 

open even though my friends had 


Mel: Check used to -- it's 


That might be part of it 

well.  I've invited them to my 

home and had to be very -- they 

wanted everything under the 

radar, very discreet.  Because 

it was a lot of persecution.  

No one would admit they were 


In Georgia, they're pretty 

open.  In Ukraine pretty open.  

Mel: Another question.

Here's another question from 

the audience.  I read that the 

Prime Minister's cabinet 

resigned.  Did he resign?  Was 

he fired?  Is there any 

realistic possibility that Mr. 

Putin will not be able to stay 

in power indefinitely?  

Mel: Indefinitely means that 

he would never die.  So I guess 

that answers that one.  But 

when (Laughing).


Yevgenia: (Indiscernible) 

Unimportant -- today Putin 

basically dissolved the Russian 

Constitution.  He dissolved -- 

the Russian Constitution was 

pretty much dead before, but 

there were two chapters, 

chapter 1 and chapter 2. With 

respect to the basis and human 

rights.  Which no president 

could touch.  Today Putin 

announced that there be an 

amendment to the basic of the 

Russian Constitution.  In the 

Russian Constitution has 

priority over our old other 

laws in the land.  

Today Putin basically announced 

Russia's constitution Nolan 

Boyd.  He -- he announced that 

there will be -- so, there were 

changes to the institution of 

the presidency, to the 

institution of the government, 

to the lower chamber of the 

parliament and to the upper 

chamber the consideration 

counsel.  There will be changes 

with respect to several, most 

important laws like law on the 

president, law on the 

government, law on the 

distribution of policy between 

different so-called law 

enforcement agencies and etc. 

He, of course, he said he was 

fired basically but he does not 

have a say so.  Who cares?  

They -- Putin created a new 

position in the Security 


So now he's deputy in the 

Security Council.  Yes.  Putin 

today made it clear to the 

entire world that's what his 

message that is going to stay 

indefinitely.  He doesn't want 

to be a lame-duck anymore.  

Therefore everything is going 

to happen well before 2024.  I 

think that all the major 

changes will happen in the next 

year.  Because Russian law, if 

Putin decides to stay in the 

legal field -- and that's what 

he was before, Russian law 

wires will talk about whatever 

changes the constitution will a 

year prior to the parliamentary 

elections.  Parliamentary 

elections are in September 


Mel: Will this be subject to 

referendum?  In other words 

popular voting.

Yevgenia: Chapter 1 and 

chapter 2 can be changed only 

by referendum.

But they already said that 

it's unclear that probably -- 

but there will be all people 

can vote.  It's not sure what 

they're going to do.

It probably will be one of 

those up or down kind of things 

rather than an alternative, for 

one thing, right?  

In other words, the choice will 

not be there.  It may be.

I don't know.  

They took something that's 

called (Indiscernible) the 

constitutionalist Blake.  It's 

not clear, but you know already 

he proposed the former tax 

minister as the new prime 

minister.  So it means that -- 

I think -- my hypothesis is 

that basically Putin and his 

pals, they have a certain 

system of government.  That's 

all they've known basically.  

And in this system of 

government, Putin becomes 

unelected leader who is above 

any law any limit, any 

election.  You know, he's like 

General Secretary of the 

Communist Party.  So, he also 

said that the generation 

counsel is going to appoint -- 

approve -- (Indiscernible) -- 


Mel: The power elites.  

Susan: Controlled whole 


Yevgenia: Yes.  So it is to 

say that the Federation Council 

-- and it's an unelected body, 

which is appointed by the -- by 

the original government to say 

-- (Indiscernible) -- Communist 

Party, whereas, it is not clear 

whether Putin will become the 

head of some strange body or 

state counsel or he will stay 

as the head of the Security 

Council.  In this case, they're 

going to choose a model that is 

that the stand chose.

Susan: Have you gotten any 

sense -- I know it's early but 

public reaction?  

Who cares about public 

reaction?  (Laughing).

Susan: We do.  It may be 


Mel: It'll be interesting to 

see when this gets absorbed 

whether it stimulates more 

demonstrations in the streets.  

Willoughby understood for one 


Because, along with that, he 

gave some perks.  There will be 

some additional money to those 

who -- to those who have -- in 

the second child, that's 

important for the poorest part 

of the country.

Mel: The honor brother who 

had nine children.

Yevgenia: The popthe problem 

is the depopulation of the 


Mel: Depopulation of Russia's 


Yevgenia: 144 million and 

they add the population of 


Mel: Is going down?  

Yevgenia: The amount of those 

born is less than the amount of 

those who die.

Susan: Instead of looking 

like a paramedic like this.  

Which even in Asia.

Mel: This has tremendous 

applicant implications if you 

think about the economy, 

workers, how do you continue to 

run things when the population 

is going down and you don't 

have enough of a workforce, 

especially a trained workforce.

Yevgenia: That's why we write 

-- (Indiscernible).

Susan: One

Susan: 1.2 million college 

eggs work in Russia.

Mel: At lower levels.  So 

that the Russian population can 

consume the higher level; is 

that right?  

Yevgenia: More or less.

Mel: More than less?  

Yevgenia: You know, I think 

that in a way the Kremlin 

should be happy about that 

because the main source of rent 

is gas and oil.  So the amount 

of those who get grants and get 

out of the oil pipeline, get 

lower.  So though are -- those 

are the ones that get more.

Mel: I think we are near the 

end.  Well, the last word goes 

to John.  I want to thank you 

for this -- I hope this is a 

stimulating conversation.  

Susan: I want to thank you 

because I haven't seen New 

Guinea in 10 years when John 

said to me would you like to be 

on a panel.

Mel: I haven't seen you in 

about 30.

Susan: When I was at a low 

level he was ambassador to 

Brazil.  He treated us so well. 

And briefed us and invited he 

and his wife invited us into 

their home, had us for dinner.  

That's something that I would 

never forget.  When I heard Mel 

was here and Czechs was here I 

said I need to come.

Yevgenia: Thank you so much 

thank you.  (Applause).

The only thing for me is to 

invite everyone to step outside 

grab some hors d'oeuvres and 

take a look at the lovely 

paintings by the late Judy 

mentor.  Also a couple of brief 

words outside I want to invite 

Bill mail for up to do the 

same.  In the meantime, enjoy.  

Thank you.  

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