Monday, April 16, 2018

Russian Americans Send Trump Open Letter in Support of New US Sanctions

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 16 – Two weeks ago, the Congress of Russian Americans sent an open letter to US President Donald Trump opposing sanctions on Moscow and saying that its members were experiencing discrimination in the United States because of their ethnic heritage (

            Not surprisingly, that letter received widespread coverage in the Moscow media and was cited by some Americans as evidence that the Trump Administration is opposed by ethnic Russians in the United States, a conclusion that many may have accepted because a large percentage of US-based Russian citizens voted for Vladimir Putin.

            But today, an initiative group consisting of some of the most prominent Russian dissidents who now live in the United States has countered with another open letter expressing their support for the US sanctions policy and denying that they have experienced any hostility or discrimination  (

                “We are turning to you because we consider it necessary to react to the letter which according to the media was sent to you by the president of the Congress of Russian Americans, a group which by all indications is a pro-Kremlin organization” and to assure you that the views in that letter are not shared by most ethnic Russians in the United States.

            “We do not support the actions of the Russian government and Presidenet Putin which threaten the world, stability and democratic values be they in Georgia, Ukraine, the Near East, Europe or the United States [and] we fully support the measures undertaken by Your administration against the Russian ruling elite, including the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats.”

            Leonid Aptekar, one of the authors of the letter, told Kseniya Kirillova, a US-based Russian journalist, that he and his colleagues wanted to expose the efforts of “’pro-Kremlin agents’ to speak on behalf of all Russian-speaking Americans” and “to attract attention to the anti-American propagandist organizations led from the Kremlin.”

            “Of course,” he said, “we cannot deny that besides members of pro-Kremlin organizations, part of the Russian-speaking diaspora supports Russian policy. However, this part does not reflect the opinion of all Russian-speaking Americans.” Most of them have fully integrated into American life and are happy to be in the US.

            According to Aptekar, the chief supporters within this community in the US are “mainly elderly people who have hot had the chance to completely integrate into American life.” Others like himself, he continued, “feel at home in America and are grateful for the freedom and broad opportunities which we enjoy in our new American motherland.”
Among the signatories are such prominent cultural figures as Natalya Arno, Professor Lev Deych, Aleksandr Genis, Aleksandr Goldfarb, Andrey Girgorenko, Pavel Litvinov, Boris Palan, Dmitry Shenker, Aleksandra Sviridova, Igor Tsesarsky of Kontinent, Tatyana Yankelevich, and Andrey Zagdansky.

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