Comments on Vladimir Putin’s interview with Bloomberg TV.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was quite complimentary of US President Barack Obama’s first steps. “I’m not here to offer advise to the US President, but what we have heard in recent weeks or even months gives us cause for cautious optimism” because “we hear certain signals concerning ballistic missile defense systems,” Putin told Bloomberg TV.

According to Putin, Moscow noticed “certain signals concerning deployment of the ballistic missile defense system and Obama’s words on the necessity to analyze the situation rather than hurry up with decisions.” “We welcome that,” Putin announced.

Obama had informed the international community that he had “no commitment” to the missile shield in East Europe. President of Poland Lech Kaczynski said right after the presidential election in November that US President-elect supported development of the third position area. Obama’s foreign policy advisor Denis McDonough immediately announced that his patron would only support the ballistic missile defense system when it was technically ready.

Putin was similarly commending when speaking of the signals from Washington concerning another issue of importance to Russia, that of NATO’s expansion into Ukraine and Georgia.

“They are saying that it is possible to provide security for Ukraine and Georgia in various ways it and is not essential to accept them into NATO now,” he said. “We welcome that and are ready to take part in any discussion on working out the best options to ensure international security.”

The Russian premier commented on the adverse foreign political consequences of activities of Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush and made a direct reference to the gas conflict that had affected Europe. “What happened in recent years in Ukraine is the result, to a significant extent, of the activities of the previous US Administration and the European Union which supported it. Turbulent domestic political events in Ukraine prevented the gas agreements,” Putin announced.

President Dmitry Medvedev said while on a visit to Uzbekistan that “Cooperation with the United States should be fully-fledged and on equal footing.”

Yevgeny Minchenko, International Center for Political Expertise Director, admitted that he did not expect positive signals from both capitals to result in a dramatic change in US foreign policy. “Nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and eradication of the potential source of international terrorism in Afghanistan will be their (the Americans’ – Gazeta) first priorities now,” he said. “Russia and the United States do not have that many areas of common concern. With their interests being in different spheres, there will be fewer conflicts. On the other hand, it is necessary to admit that rhetorics of the new US Administration on the matters that concern Russia is considerably more amiable.”

Aleksei Malashenko of the Moscow Carnegie Center pointed that “… Obama all but offered Russia his hand when he spoke up on the two problems disturbing Moscow. Rhetoric of Russian TV networks during his inauguration remained, however, stern.”