Twenty years after the end of the Soviet Union, Moscow should drop the notion of creating an exclusive power center in the post-Soviet space.
Putin’s return to the Russian presidency will not undo the U.S.-Russia reset, but it will change the dynamics of the relationship between Moscow and Washington.
Putin’s new term will largely bring a continuation of the status quo and while his grip on power will arouse anxieties in the West, he will not undo 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.
In Russia, an increasing number of personnel changes are taking place in anticipation of the upcoming presidential election in March.
The political logic behind the decision to replace St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko with Georgy Poltavchenko, the non-charismatic presidential envoy to the Central Federal District, remains unclear.
Russian liberals, like many of their counterparts across Russian society, need to set aside their patronizing attitude toward Ukraine and their longing for the historical might of the Soviet Union.