The recent parliamentary elections in Russia offer evidence of the corruption afflicting the country’s political system, as officials manipulated the system to guarantee that the ruling United Russia party would remain in power.
While Putin may have a guaranteed victory in the upcoming presidential election, it is increasingly clear that Russia’s once-passive electorate is willing to show its discontent, making it potentially more difficult to promote necessary economic reforms.
The recent parliamentary elections saw the ruling United Russia party fare worse than expected, as Russian citizens expressed their frustration with perceived lawlessness and corruption in the country’s political system.
Greater understanding and cooperation with China is crucial to Russia’s future as a Euro-Pacific nation-state.
The situation in Syria is unlikely to improve in the near future. It is increasingly likely that the violent domestic unrest can only be resolved through a regime change.
Bolstered by the high price of oil, Moscow is likely to take the opportunity to contribute to Europe’s rescue fund in return for more influence on the International Monetary Fund.
The balance in Sino-Russian economic relations has shifted heavily in favor of the Chinese, and Moscow’s long-term strategy toward China will likely seek to make their relationship more equal.
If Putin is re-elected president, he is likely to seek to maintain continuity and stability in a time of economic uncertainty and his return will not significantly alter Russian domestic politics or the U.S.-Russia reset.
If Russian Prime Minister Putin is elected Russia’s next president, it will likely not have a significant impact on the success of the reset in U.S.-Russian bilateral relations.
Given that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has probably been involved in the U.S.-Russian reset in bilateral relations, a high degree of continuity in Russian policy toward the United States is likely when he becomes president.
Putin’s expected return to the Kremlin comes as little surprise, but it raises questions about President Medvedev’s future, the role of the Russian prime minister, and the nature of the U.S.-Russia relationship.
Although Washington invested in Dmitry Medvedev as Russian president, they also kept in mind the power of Vladimir Putin. With Putin’s decision to return to the presidency in 2012, communication between the two capitals is likely to become more streamlined and straightforward.
Given the current domestic political situations in Israel and Turkey, improving relations between the two nations will likely require external intervention.
During a visit to Russia, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il said he would be ready to discuss Pyongyang's nuclear production if international six-party talks, which ended in 2008, resume.
The United States needs regional assistance, particular from Pakistan, to resolve the problems and challenges facing Afghanistan.
The realization that both the United States and the Soviet Union shared an interest in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons led to a 1968 agreement that existing nuclear weapons states would work toward nuclear zero if other states agreed not to develop nuclear weapons.
Without a continued NATO presence in Afghanistan to facilitate a regional approach to resolving the problems facing the country, the creation of a stable security situation in Afghanistan is impossible.
The Arab Spring has more in common with events in Sub-Saharan Africa in the 1990s than Central and Eastern Europe in 1989. The impact of events in the Middle East for states outside the region will depend on the legitimacy and adaptability of their regimes.
The Arab Spring is likely to have little to no impact on the political situation in the countries of Central Asia and may even serve the governments there as a cautionary warning to their citizens against social upheaval and turmoil.
While Azerbaijan is unlikely to ever recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh or sign a treaty with Armenia concerning the contested territory, it is also unlikely that a war will break out over the territory’s status.