I will not mince words here: Russia doesn't need meeting with Biden (or whoever is running this POTUS avatar), US establishment (large portion of it), on the other hand, needs this meeting badly. Both sides know it, but Russians, who learned to calculate the US actions (not that difficult, actually) several steps ahead are perfectly fine with playing such a role. Russia does not need the US for a number of reasons, few main of which are:
1. Russia is largely secure economically from the US. De facto allied relations with China and friendly relations with with Asia more than compensate for whatever Russia may lose (or already lost) in her trade with combined West;
2. Militarily, Russia has the edge over the United States even the Soviet Union couldn't have dreamed about;
3. Russians know damn well that US crisis (I write about it for years) is systemic and even under the worst global circumstances short of all out thermonuclear war, Russia has all the time she needs and may even not strain herself doing much observing this train-wreck of a combined West exiting global stage as a decisive force.
4. Last, but not least... Russians know that the US needs this summit. Russians even know why the US needs this summit and Russia is content with playing the role of a hard to get maiden, who wouldn't? Especially knowing that whatever may be negotiated and settled with the US at this possible summit will not be worth the paper it will be written on. It never is, because the US is non-agreement capable.
But the US needs this summit to demonstrate own significance to her European vassals and maybe, just maybe, introduce a degree of strain into Russian-Chinese relations. After all, US political top and media are packed with pathological liars and it wouldn't take them any effort to spread and spin all kinds of BS about this possible summit. To a detriment of Russian-Chinese relations, of course. In the end, Biden's appearance next to Putin (for the photo-op mostly) increases Biden's mojo, not Putin's, whose scale as a statesman is long ago secured in Russia and globally.
So, today, in Iceland, about 35 years since the first meeting of Gorbachev and Reagan there, the dance starts:
Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned his Russian counterpart on Wednesday that the United States would respond to provocations from the Kremlin but that Washington seeks a “predictable” relationship with Moscow. Blinken met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland. The bilateral session is designed to set the stage for a potential summit between President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin in the coming weeks. The United States and Russia are at odds on multiple fronts, from the ongoing conflict in U.S.-backed Ukraine to concerns about Russian interference in American elections. Russia has denied any wrongdoing and accused the U.S. of hypocrisy and inappropriate interference in its domestic sphere.
The main question is, of course, what's in it for Russia? Putin is not going to attend possible summit for the photo-op only, which is absolutely the case for Biden. Putin's scale and position today is such that the only equal to him statesmanship-wise figure globally is Comrade Xi. Biden for Putin at this stage is a "marrying down" option. Not to mention the fact that Putin represents an ascending power, while Biden is an EPITOME and embodiment of the America's departure from largely self-proclaimed position of hegemon. Recall what I wrote four and a half years ago. I will remind you:
For some reason, many people in the US who offer this bizarre triangulation with using Russia as an ally for the US in her struggle against China, still reside in late 1980s-ealry 1990s thinking that Russia is simply still enamored with the US, her standard of living and culture. This simply has no bases in reality anymore. Russians, unlike it was in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, are simply not interested in US anymore. Other than Russian traditional fear (justified completely) that some nut-job in US will start a war with Russia, the appeals of US "democracy" and liberalism faded dramatically and overwhelming majority of Russians merely go about their daily business and live their lives. The US in Russia today are viewed mostly from the point of view of a threat--a dramatic departure from 25 years ago when United States were viewed as an ally and a friend, those sentiments disappeared pretty fast. Russians' "going about their daily business" involves a lot of bread and butter issues and here United States are not even in the first ten of Russia's main trading partners but, as you may have guessed it already, China, sure as hell, is. Thus the irresistible and highly warranted question arises: what's in it for Russia? What can possibly United States offer Russia economically, when economic dynamics in Eurasia offers Russia a host of incredible economic opportunities?
The Biden administration has waived sanctions on a company building a controversial gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. The US also lifted sanctions on a Russian President Vladimir Putin ally who leads the firm behind the Nord Stream 2 project. The move came in a report on Russian sanctions delivered to Congress on Wednesday by the Department of State. Critics say the pipeline is a major geopolitical prize for the Kremlin.This is not a charity move on Biden's side. Not at all, nor is it along the lines of reduction of tensions between the US and Russia Biden's people so love to talk about as of lately. Much of this decision is driven by Germany's sudden allocation of at least rudimentary spine and making sure that the US gets the message that it is risking a lot if it succeeds in sabotaging NS2 and that, as you may have guessed it already, plays into the Russian hands yet again because of major political repercussions in Germany even if the Bundestag gets to be much "greener", because at stake is an issue of Germany remaining the first world nation and EU's largest economy. Even utterly corrupt and stupid globalist shills such as German Greens are not ready to play with this. Not yet, anyway. Zugzwang, ladies and gentlemen. No matter what you do--you lose. And those damn Russians win one way or another. Don't tell me that I didn't warn you.
MOSCOW, May 18. /TASS/. The SWIFT international payment system has confirmed to the Central Bank that it will work in Russia as usual and there is no risk that the country will be disconnected from the system, First Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank Olga Skorobogatova, speaking in the State Duma, the lower house of the parliament."We are in constant and direct contact with SWIFT, both with the headquarters and the Moscow office. They confirmed it to us that SWIFT will work as usual, without any problems, and we do not see any risks at the moment," she said. Skorobogatova noted that even if Russia is disconnected from SWIFT, interbank transfers can be transferred to the Russian counterpart - the Financial Message Transfer System (FMS).
I know, I know, it is so fvcking frustrating to be an American diplomat nowadays, because you come to meet Russians and those SOBs stare at you with their smug faces (wink, wink) and already know what and how you will be saying and doing not only now but later. It is infuriating for American exceptionalists and neocons because they literally are impotent to do anything about it. Not only US "diplomats" are not real diplomats--they are merely conduits for Washington's diktat--and are outclassed by Russia's and China's real diplomats, but they don't have on their side what they thought they always had, when talking to third world shitholes and confused and weakened Russia of 1990s, who was suffering from a self-inflicted wound--a real military and economic power.
In some bizarre way, I think, the United States performed a great service to Russia and her people when, being driven by incompetence, myopia and thirst for instant gratification, unleashed a mayhem in Ukraine in 2014. They awoken in Russians this ever-present but unseen by strangers what Tolstoy described as a "warm light of patriotism" and that was it. Ukraine's bloody coup finally opened eyes of Russians on their own fate and attitudes to life and former "brotherly nations" and freed them from any illusions on this account. It also pushed long overdue economic transition into the overdrive and we see the results of that every day. As a Russian I say this with a great pride and a sense of achievement. As an American citizen I cannot deny also a sadness from seeing what has been done to the United States in the last 25 years and how Russian-American relations have been practically destroyed, being slaughtered as a sacrificial lamb at the altar of America's hubris, self-delusion and exceptionalism. Today the United States reached its absolute limits in power and influence and it is probing them, only to recognize that those limits are one massive concrete wall which cannot be breached, no matter the scale of an effort. This is the reality and it seems that someone in D.C. begins to recognize it.
In related news:
The Russian armed forces have recently accepted into service the Yenisei radar detector, which has exceptional tactical and technical capabilities and can be used as part of both the S-400 and S-500 air-defense missile systems. According to a high-ranking source in the Russian military-industrial service, the new radar was put into service in late April.
Here is S-500 getting on-line. This thing is, obviously, some very bad news for many. But about this later.