aside President Plans To Return US Lands Back To Russia Which Were Part Of US Election Sanctions

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The following narrative is just another nail in the coffin of the republican President Donald Trump and of his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with regards to these men, allegedly acting on behalf the wishes of Russia, instead of  protecting US National Security issues.

What the following report depicts is unbelievable in that it shows the White House’s callous attitude towards the concept of optics, how certain actions when revealed, will be perceived by the public.

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Here is the rest of the story...

On 5/31/17, Karen DeYoung and Adam Entous of the Washington Post penned the following report, Trump administration moves to return Russian compounds in Maryland and New York.


“The Trump administration is moving toward handing back to Russia two diplomatic compounds, near New York City and on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, from which its officials were ejected in late December as punishment for Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.”

“Then-President Barack Obama said Dec. 29 that the compounds were being “used by Russian personnel for intelligence-related purposes,” and gave Russia 24 hours to vacate them. Separately, Obama expelled from the United States what he said were 35 Russian “intelligence operatives.”

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“Early last month, the Trump administration told the Russians it would consider turning the properties back over to them if Moscow would lift its freeze, imposed in 2014 in retaliation for U.S. sanctions related to Ukraine, on construction of a new U.S. consulate on a certain parcel of land in St. Petersburg.”

“Two days later, the U.S. position changed. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at a meeting in Washington, that the United States had dropped any linkage between the compounds and the consulate, according to several people with knowledge of the exchanges.”

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“In Moscow on Wednesday, Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said Russia was “taking into account the difficult internal political situation for the current administration,” but retained the option to reciprocate for what he called the “expropriation” of Russian property, “if these steps are not somehow adjusted by the U.S. side,” the news outlet Sputnik reported.”

“Senior Tillerson adviser R. C. Hammond said that “the U.S. and Russia have reached no agreements.” He said the next senior level meeting between the two governments, below the secretary of state level, will be in June in St. Petersburg.”


“Before making a final decision on allowing the Russians to reoccupy the compounds, the administration is examining possible restrictions on Russian activities there, including removing the diplomatic immunity the properties previously enjoyed. Without immunity, the facilities would be treated as any other buildings in the United States and would not be barred to entry by U.S. law enforcement, according to people who spoke on the condition anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic matters.” Any concessions to Moscow could prove controversial while administration and former Trump campaign officials are under congressional and special counsel investigation for alleged ties to Russia.”

“Changes in the administration’s official posture toward the compounds come as Russian media recently suggested that Kislyak, about to leave Washington after serving as ambassador since 2008, may be proposed by the Kremlin to head a new position as U.N. undersecretary general for counter-terrorism.”

Image result for photos of russians recent visit to the white house“Kislyak, who met and spoke during the campaign and transition with President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump’s White House adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others, is known to be interested in the post. His replacement as ambassador, current Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov, was confirmed last month by the Russian Duma, or parliament. Officials in Moscow said Russian President Vladi­mir Putin will officially inform Trump of the new ambassador when the two meet in July, at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg. It will be Trump’s first meeting with Putin as president.”

“The U.N. General Assembly must first approve establishment of the counter-terrorism slot, part of a larger U.N. reorganization and the first new post at that level for decades.”

“Secretary General António Guterres will decide who fills the new job, although both Russia and the United States are expected to make their views known.”

“Kislyak has repeatedly rejected descriptions of him in the U.S. media as a spy. Asked whether U.S. intelligence considered him to be one, James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence, told CNN Sunday that, “Given the fact that he oversees a very aggressive intelligence operation in this country — the Russians have more intelligence operatives than any other nation that is represented in this country, still even after we got rid of 35 of them — and so to suggest that he is somehow separate or oblivious to that is a bit much.”

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“The Russian compounds — a 14-acre estate on Long Island, and several buildings on secluded acreage along the Corsica River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore — have been in Russian possession since the days of the Soviet Union. According to a Maryland deed in 1995, the former USSR transferred ownership of the Maryland property to the Russian Federation in 1995, for a payment of one dollar.”

“Russia said it used the facilities, both of which had diplomatic immunity, for rest and recreation for embassy and U.N., employees, and to hold official events. But U.S. officials dating back to the Reagan administration, based on aerial and other surveillance, had long believed they were also being used for intelligence purposes.”

Image result for photo of russian compound in long island ny“Last year (2016), when Russian security services began harassing U.S. officials in Moscow — including slashed tires, home break-ins and, at one point tackling and throwing to the ground a U.S. embassy official entering through the front of the embassy — the Obama administration threatened to close the compounds, former Obama officials said.”

“In meetings to protest the treatment, the Obama administration said that it would do so unless the harassment stopped, and Moscow dropped its freeze on construction of a new consulate to replace the one in St. Petersburg, considered largely unusable because of Russian spying equipment installed there. Russia had earlier blocked U.S. use of a parcel of land and construction guarantees in the city when sanctions were imposed after its military intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.”Image result for photo of russian compound in long island ny“The threat of closing the compounds was not pursued. In late December (2016), after U.S. intelligence said there had been election meddling, and in response to the ongoing harassment in Moscow, Obama ordered the compounds closed and diplomats expelled. “We had no intention of ever giving them back,” a former senior Obama official said of the compounds.”

“It later emerged that Flynn, in a phone conversation with Kislyak, had advised against retaliation and indicated that U.S. policy would change under the Trump administration.”

“The Kremlin made clear that the compound issue was at the top of its bilateral agenda. Russia repeatedly denounced what it called the “seizure” of the properties as an illegal violation of diplomatic treaties.”

Image result for photos of russians recent visit to the white house“On May 8, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, Thomas Shannon, traveled to New York to meet with his Russian counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on what the State Department described as “a range of bilateral issues” and what Russia called “irritants” and “grievances.”

“Ryabkov brought up the compounds, while Shannon raised St. Petersburg and harassment, suggesting that they deal with the operation of their diplomats and facilities in each others’ countries separate from policy issues such as Syria, and proposing that they clear the decks with a compromise.”

“Russia refused, saying that the compound issue was a hostile act that deserved no reciprocal action to resolve, and had to be dealt with before other diplomatic problems could be addressed. In an interview with Tass, Ryabkov said Moscow was alarmed that Washington “carries on working out certain issues in its traditional manner, particularly concerning Russia’s diplomatic property in the states of Maryland and New York.”

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“Two days later in Washington, Tillerson told Lavrov that the United States would no longer link the compounds to the issue of St. Petersburg.”

“In a news conference at the Russian Embassy after his meetings with Tillerson and Trump, Lavrov said of the compound closures, “Everyone, in particular the Trump administration, is aware that those actions were illegal.”


  1. The sanctions were in connection with the expulsion of the Russian spies, not directly related to the election. The practice of having diplomats actually live in properties leased or provided by the host country is age-old. Are they spies? Yes, but also emissaries from more or less friendly nations. As long as there is no “hot war” between us and other countries these facilities exist. The proposed U.S. facilities for St. Petersburg will serve the same purpose as existing ones there…as a haven for embassy and other employees to retreat to periodically.

    Dual purpose here: diplomacy and strategy. As they say “…keep your friends close and enemies closer.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Gradmama2011,

      On this issue, we will just have to agree to disagree, respectfully.

      The confiscation of these US properties previously under Russian control was part of the payback for Russia’s meddling into the 2016 presidential elections ALONG with the expulsion of 35 known Russian spies, and as far as I’m concerned Russia is getting off WITH TOO LIGHT OF A PENALTY.

      Hugs, Gronda


      • what the Washington Post reporters said in the original article is something of a paraphrase…it did have to do with the election issues but that isn’t the whole reason. I always want to read the actual original source and not depend on excerpts somewhere else. I always include hyperlinks when quoting another source. US-Russian diplomatic (ie spying) relationship is very complicated, its not a good guy/bad guy thing. The Russians are bad…trump is bad…the whole thing is outrageous, but also a giant smoke screen, a red herring… read up on the Cold War.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dear Gradmama2011,
          There was also a 12/29/16 NY Times REPORT by David Sanger WHICH SPECIFICALLY linked the confiscation of the 2 properties in question as part of the sanctions enacted by President Obama in retaliation for the Russians meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.
          This same assertion was reported by the 12/29/16 WSJ ARTICLE BY Carol E. Lee and Paul Sonne. This was also affirmed by a law blog that I refer to on occasion.
          We are simply going have to respectfully disagree on this issue.

          But I genuinely admire the diligence you exert in doing your research.

          Hugs, Gronda.


        • of course it was about the meddling, but the specific issue was about spying from these “compounds” leased by the Russians. As for my “research” it is backed up by degrees in US and Latin American history, and the Cold War has always been a major ingredient.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Dear GRADMAMA2011,

          It is my contention that when the USA confiscated 2 Russian compounds located on Long Island, NY and Maryland, that this was one of the US sanctions imposed upon Russia in retaliation for their extreme meddling in the US 2016 residential election process. And while there may have been additional considerations, I am standing by my assertion.

          Hugs, Gronda


  2. It’s quid pro quo, Trump has a strong bargaining chip with the Russians, in exchange for the two diplomatic compounds, US will get a new consulate in St. Petersburg. Sounds like a fair deal, unless there are other contingencies which need to be worked out.


  3. Thanks for the Sanger ref, there is also an even older article, from last July that is very interesting and sheds some background light on the overall picture. Here’s a direct link to the NYT article:

    It would be a mistake to cherry-pick certain details and fail to explore the bigger picture. The relationship between the Russians (Soviets) and the United States has been and will be the main topic of graduate seminars all over the world.

    I do enjoy your frequent posts, and your ideas about the articles you post for us. I always believe that information needs to come from an original source, which is why I think hyperlinks are important. An added advantage to “going to the source” is that there are always good links included that lead to further information. Various points of view are what makes a difference in overall understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It would seem to be a great deal of space and accommodation for rest and recreation even for the staff of a large embassy and a UN delegation, even assuming they all wanted to stay there at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

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