News / Europe

    Analysts: Relations Between Russia, US Deteriorating

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, Feb. 4, 2013Russian President Vladimir Putin, Feb. 4, 2013
    x
    Russian President Vladimir Putin, Feb. 4, 2013
    Russian President Vladimir Putin, Feb. 4, 2013
    Foreign policy in President Barack Obama’s first administration was dominated by the so-called ‘reset’ - a policy aimed at improving ties between Washington and Moscow that reached a low point during the last few years of the George W. Bush administration.

    The ‘reset’ did bring concrete results, such as a major strategic arms control treaty reducing the number of long-range nuclear weapons on both sides. Moscow also allowed American forces to transit through Russia in and out of Afghanistan. And Russia voted at the United Nations to impose stricter sanctions on Tehran over its alleged nuclear weapons program.

    But now, analysts say relations between the two countries are deteriorating again.

    U.S.-Russia Relations Deteriorating

    Stephen Jones, a Russia expert at Mount Holyoke College said: “It’s clear that relations are pretty sour at the moment and I think this has clearly something to do with Putin’s accession for a third term as president.”

    Vladimir Putin was elected president last May, replacing Dmitri Medvedev who did not run. Medvedev is currently Russia’s prime minister.

    Rachel Denber, with Human Rights Watch, said: “In my whole 21 years of monitoring human rights in Russia, I have never seen such a concerted crackdown on the whole of civil society.”

    Russian Laws Curtail Civil Society

    The Russian parliament, dominated by a pro-Putin political party [United Russia], passed a series of laws curtailing human rights. Denber said these include a limit on demonstrations, an expanded definition of treason, increased restrictions on internet content and legislation tightening controls on non-governmental organizations.

    The Russian government also expelled the U.S. Agency for International Development - an organization that has helped fund some of the most well-known Russian civil society organizations - such as Golos, Moscow’s only independent vote counting group, and Memorial, one of the country’s leading human rights groups.

    Moscow Retaliates for Magnitsky Bill

    In the United States, the Congress passed the so-called “Magnitsky Bill” named after Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in jail in 2009 after allegedly being tortured for blowing the whistle on the largest tax fraud in Russian history. The congressional legislation places restrictions on the financial activities and denies U.S. visas to Russians implicated in human rights abuses.

    Robert Legvold, with Columbia University, said Moscow then retaliated.

    “The Russians saw that as a kind of foreign interference in the form of trying Russian citizens, or accusing and then convicting Russian citizens without a trial, arguing that it is for them to decide how to handle the case,” he said. “And the legislators on the Russian side then retaliated, in very large numbers - a high percentage vote - passing legislation saying that Americans could not adopt Russian children.”

    In another sign of worsening ties, analysts said the Russians abandoned a 10-year agreement with the U.S. on fighting crime and the drug trade, while Washington pulled out of a joint working group on civil society.

    “Reset” Policy in Jeopardy

    Many experts, including Robert Legvold, said Putin’s crackdown on civil society is having a negative effect on U.S.-Russia relations.

    “So you’ve had a whole series of these steps that really appear to go contrary to the central issues that we should be dealing with: nuclear weapons, proliferation, Iran, the Arab Spring, Afghanistan - the war in Afghanistan - and the like.”

    Legvold described U.S.-Russia relations in the next few months as “unpredictable.” He said it will depend on whether the two countries can move away from what he called “the backbiting” and focus on resetting the relationship on the right track.

    Andre de Nesnera

    Andre de Nesnera is senior analyst at the Voice of America, where he has reported on international affairs for more than three decades. Now serving in Washington D.C., he was previously senior European correspondent based in London, established VOA’s Geneva bureau in 1984 and in 1989 was the first VOA correspondent permanently accredited in the Soviet Union.

    You May Like

    Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora