News / Europe

Putin Presidency Unlikely to Derail US-Russia Relations

Vladimir Putin (file photo)
Vladimir Putin (file photo)

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev will swap jobs next year with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Our correspondent looks at whether the change will affect U.S.-Russia relations.

Russia political analysts say it was no surprise that Vladimir Putin decided to run for president in next year’s Russian elections, replacing Dmitri Medvedev who is expected to become prime minister in a new government. The analysts say Putin is practically guaranteed a win because political opposition has been stifled and the Russian leadership controls most of the media.

Questions are being raised as to what affect a new Putin presidency will have on U.S.-Russia relations.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner recently gave this assessment.

"What’s ultimately important is that this is a matter, a decision - that is the question of who will be Russia’s next president - that’s a decision for the Russian people to determine," said Toner. "We, for our part, look forward to working with whoever is the next president, because we believe, clearly, that it’s in the mutual interest of the United States and Russia, and the world that we do work closely together."

Many analysts say relations between Washington and Moscow are good when compared with a low in 2008, when Russia fought a brief war with Georgia. Since then, under the Medvedev presidency, Washington and Moscow have signed a major arms control agreement, and there has been increased cooperation on such issues as Afghanistan, Iran and Libya.

Putin first won the presidency in 2000 and became prime minister after Medvedev became president in 2008. The announced job swap next year could mean Putin dominates the Russian government until 2024.

Robert Legvold, a Russia expert at Columbia University, describes the U.S.-Russia relationship as progressing slowly.

“But the other half of the story is that this is very vulnerable," said Levgold. "There is nothing guaranteed that the progress will continue. It can be upset by events that one or the other side, or both sides, react to awkwardly or in an exaggerated fashion, or maybe the events themselves will justify a harsh reaction.”

Legvold says the relationship could be affected by the outcome of the U.S. election.

“We know what the outcome will be in the Russian election," he said. "In Washington, in the Obama administration, the expectation is continuity in Russia policy, basic continuity coming out of the March elections. But I think it is very difficult to predict continuity coming out of the November 2012 U.S. election.”

Many experts agree with Legvold that there will not be any real change in U.S.-Russia relations with Vladimir Putin back as president.

Matthew Rojansky at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says Putin, as prime minister, if not calling all the shots, at least approved the key decisions related to U.S. relations.

“So for example, I don’t see New START [strategic arms agreement] being rolled back," said Rojansky. "I don’t see cooperation on Afghanistan being rolled back. The Libya [U.N.] resolution [imposing a no-fly zone] which Russia didn’t block was a difficult call and Putin certainly had reservations and you heard him expressing those reservations. But did he ultimately come to some kind of consensus with Medvedev? Clearly he did. I think the two of them operate as a unit.”

Rojansky believes that while the substance of the U.S.-Russia relationship may not change, the tone might.

“Obama has invested very heavily in his relationship with Medvedev," he said. "It made sense. It was relatively easy for him because he and Medvedev come from a similar kind of origin in the sense of both being lawyers, both being technology oriented, both being kind of globalists in their outlook. Putin just doesn’t have that. And I don’t see Putin and Obama pushing the relationship to be very active by sheer force of personality and interest in one another. I just don’t think that’s going to happen.”

The analysts believe one thing is for sure: the U.S.-Russia relationship has grown over the years to such an extent that they say a return to the tension-filled Cold War days is virtually impossible.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs