Interfax: Lifting of some restrictions from FSB confirms Trump’s intention to normalize relations with Russia – former FSB Director Kovalyov

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

MOSCOW. Feb 9 (Interfax) – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s decision to drop some restrictions imposed earlier on the issuance of licenses and permits to export computer technologies to Russia shows that the Donald Trump administration is consistent in its efforts to normalize cooperation with Russia, Nikolai Kovalyov, a State Duma deputy and former head of the Federal Security Service (FSB), said to Interfax on Thursday.

“Seeing new trends in the Trump administration’s policies and the desire to cooperate with Russia, various agencies, in this case the U.S. Department of the Treasury, are looking for ways to implement them – of course, in their country’s interests. This is what I attribute the [U.S.] Department of the Treasury’s decision to. And here we can talk about the softening of the sanctions,” Kovalyov told Interfax on Thursday.

Previously, “the administration fully avoided any contacts, even to its own detriment,” under pressure from Barack Obama, “including in the area of counterterrorism, for which it paid a very stiff price, I would say,” Kovalyov said.

However, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s decision “has another component: the opportunity of receiving information, the opportunity of control,” he said.

It should be born in mind that the U.S. National Security Agency used informational technologies to conduct surveillance on the leaders of some countries, including leading European countries, who are the Americans’ allies, Kovalyov said. “Thus, one cannot fully disregard the existing risks and turn a blind eye to the fact that in this case they do not want to lose one of the main sources of information and control,” he said.

At the same time, Kovalyov said he remained optimistic and believed that the main purpose of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s decision is that “this agency is really looking for ways of implementing a new political strategy for the U.S.: the strategy that has already been outlined, despite resistance from some political forces in the U.S., including the Congress.”

U.S. President Donald Trump appears to be consistent in his intention to establish normal relations with Russia, Kovalyov said. “Who in the world will get hurt if normal relations are established between Russia and the U.S.? It’s only those who play into the hands of ISIL [terrorist organization banned in Russia],” the parliamentarian said.

The combination of Russia’s and the U.S.’ efforts in the fight against terrorism based on normal and mutually profitable relations can tangibly and very seriously affect the war on terrorism, he said.

“Speaking about other aspects, for example, those related to the economy, there is no doubt that business is exerting pressure on politics because it is interested in restoring contacts and broadening opportunities for mutual cooperation,” Kovalyov said.