News

Will Putin Victory Affect US-Russia Relations?

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Feb. 27, 2012.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Feb. 27, 2012.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is expected to win the upcoming presidential elections.  We examine whether his return to the presidency will affect U.S.-Russia relations.

President Barack Obama has made better relations with Russia a cornerstone of his foreign policy . The so-called “reset” in relations with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev brought about a major arms-control agreement and increased cooperation on such issues as Afghanistan, Iran and Libya.

Analysts say there is currently a chill in relations between Washington and Moscow, due to Russia joining China in vetoing a U.N. resolution calling for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step aside.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the vote “a travesty.”

Russians go to the polls Sunday to elect a new president.  Current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is expected to win.  He is no stranger to the post, having been president from 2000 to 2008.

The presidential elections follow allegations of widespread fraud during December elections for parliament - the Duma.  Those charges sparked huge demonstrations in major Russian cities and have evolved into a direct challenge to Mr. Putin’s authority.

Georgetown University Russia expert Angela Stent says Vladimir Putin is employing a familiar tool during his campaign.

“He has really resorted to a tactic that, of course, has been used since he became president in 2000 - and that is to invoke the United States [as the] enemy, to blame the United States for a lot of Russian problems," said Stent. "And as you saw, in the Duma elections, he then blamed Hillary Clinton, Secretary Clinton for supporting the opposition and for trying to undermine Russian stability.”

Russia expert Robert Legvold cites another example.

“When the new [U.S.] ambassador, Michael McFaul, hosted opposition figures, even though it was a quiet meeting, the authorities knew about it, had camera people there to film it," said Legvold. "And then that led the media, certainly at Putin’s behest, or media knowing what Putin would want, to sharply attack McFaul for doing this kind of thing, interfering and then accusing the opposition party of, through that channel, receiving funding from the United States.”

U.S. government officials have denied those allegations.

Given this anti-American rhetoric, questions are being raised as to what impact a Putin presidency will have on U.S.-Russia relations.

Russia expert Sergei Glebov, of Smith College in Massachusetts, says Mr. Putin has a history of inflammatory, anti-American rhetoric.

“In many cases, this was probably rhetoric designed for domestic consumption, more than international politics," said Glebov. "But in any case, Putin appears as a politician who, at least in part, is driven by the desire to limit the power and the influence of the United States and appears as the obstacle on the path of American imaginary or real expansion, influence and power.”

Glebov believes, despite Putin’s views, relations between Washington and Moscow will not get worse.

Robert Legvold expects continuity in U.S.-Russia relations.

“It is not to say that Putin does not have a grimmer view, a more suspicious view of the U.S. then Medvedev did," he said. "But on most of the key issues - cooperation on Afghanistan, whatever kind of arms control we did or did not achieve with [the] New START [treaty], whatever progress we may or may not achieve on missile defense - I do not think that Putin is out of step with Medvedev.”

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.

Vladimir Putin's Public Image:

 

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mikhail Zubkov
March 24, 2012 10:19 AM
Vincent, do you know that more than 1/3 of the USA electorate has no right to vote because of your voter registration rules, but more than 2 mln. have the registrations and do vote in two or even more states - and often are payed for their votes? Consult your elections experts, please, it's their judgment.

by: andrewborovskikh@gmail.com
March 06, 2012 8:28 AM
Putin is obviously a good person. Why isn’t he doing anything to change the situation in Russia? Impunity, corruption are the consequences of his domestic policy of drift. He does nothing and sees what happens. He lets out undercover agents at gambling machines when heroin flows like water and traffic police is corrupted th and th. Maybe, he is spending all his energy for the ambitious foreign policy? Tidy home, national economy, that’s what made great powers, not the ridiculous presence in G8

by: michael
March 05, 2012 4:21 AM
There seems to be a current of justice in these remarks about other nations in that he seems to strongly believe in fair and independent exchange for each faction with whatever problem is being dealt with

by: Igor
March 04, 2012 6:29 PM
I am not sure how much all of you know about Putin. But to me Putin is a kind of person who has the capability of turning chaostic Russia into a democratic, orderly Russia. Let's see what he has done to Russia after the breaking of Soviet Union.

by: NVOd
March 04, 2012 3:10 PM
The fraudulent sham election will more so effect Israel as the Gog of Magog (more than likely Putin) will attack Israel 1/2 way through the tribulation. The king of the North will come against Israel as a cloud that covers the land. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem=Psalm 122.6

by: Jonathan Huang
March 03, 2012 8:32 PM
@Vincent, I doubt your vote can change anything in US, because all candidates are puppets and service only 1%. 99% just vote for the game called democracy, and surprisingly, you still feel good about that. Are you ignorant?

by: Sasha
March 01, 2012 9:24 PM
The Russian friends I have that were at the protest said no mention of Putin was ever made. They were protesting the current President for lack of action not Putin. He is against all the wars in the Middle East like many Americans here and the corrupt American government and media here. Putin is popular with Russians for a good reason.

by: Gennady
March 01, 2012 2:50 PM
The doubt expressed in the article looks rhetoric. Certainly the relations won’t be affected. The Russians never had any serious conflict with the USA and admire your great country. We are doomed to cooperation. Putin resided in anti-American rhetoric as long as he felt a threat to his Putin 3.0 ambition. In XXI century Russia isn’t that advanced & powerful to ignore & disrespect the USA in rough seas of the world politics under any president.

by: Vincent
March 01, 2012 10:54 AM
Putin is simply an ego maniac cast in the mode of former Russian rulers who doles out the rubles to the people that support his dictatorship, Russia will never know real freedom of choice till the people wisen up, I thank god we have the right to vote out our bums here in the US.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Scouts' Decision on Gays Meets Acceptance in Founder's Hometown

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs