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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Quayle Champions NATO, Democracy

Former U.S. vice president Dan Quayle, on his first visit to Russia, received a cool reception Tuesday as he elaborated on the rewards and difficulties of democracy to a group of academicians at Moscow's Academy of Sciences.

"Without freedom, there is no democracy. Without democracy, there will be little hope for the people. Positive results from democracy will not be realized overnight. It will require both persistence and patience and total commitment," he said.

Quayle, who arrived in Moscow on Monday at the invitation of the academy and the American University in Moscow, will have a crowded schedule throughout his four-day visit. He said the purpose of his trip is "to learn more about your wonderful country and the challenges ahead."

He met Monday with Vladimir Lukin, head of the Duma's foreign relations committee, and is slated to meet with a host of other political figures over the next few days. His list of interviews includes Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, presidential candidates Grigory Yavlinsky, Alexander Lebed and Mikhail Gorbachev, speakers of both houses of parliament, and Menatep Bank head Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

In Tuesday's speech, Quayle said one of his goals was to promote greater cooperation between the United States and Russia. Insisting that "NATO should not be feared," he proposed a strategic partnership of the United States, Russia, Europe, China, Japan and India.

"That would certainly not be excluding Russia but will be including Russia and as one of the six power centers in the world that should be involved in dealing with security issues around the world," he said.

Quayle had a clear -- if not necessarily popular -- message to his audience, made up largely of members of the Academy of Sciences.

"Let me leave you with three imperatives," Quayle said. "First, join with the United States and other major powers in a strategic partnership, actively managing security matters to attain peace for our children and for their children. Second, maintain your new-found political freedoms. Nothing is more precious and democracy cannot be suppressed. Third, stay the course on economic reform. "

Quayle's speech received only tepid applause, and was followed by speeches criticizing the United States for the planned expansion of NATO and for its opposition to the reintegration of former Soviet Republics.

"That was absolutely useless," cinema director Yury Golubitsky said after the lecture. "The kind of democracy he spoke of is completely unacceptable for Russia. This isn't Europe. We have a tradition of totalitarianism. The kind of democracy he was talking about is a fairy tale and it sounded like a big brother telling a little brother what to do."

Quayle's trip was financed by two independent, Washington-based institutions, the Russia House consulting firm and the Krieble Institute, said Eduard Lozansky, head of the American University in Moscow.

Quayle, who was vice president under George Bush from 1988 to 1992, dropped out of the 1996 U.S. presidential race last February. A press release distributed by the American University in Moscow stated that Quayle plans to run for president in 2000.