What does Putin’s re-election mean for international relations?

Regardless of whether the international community views the recent elections in Russia as fair and free, Vladimir Putin will be inaugurated on May 7. What Putin’s return to power means for the global community is uncertain, but it will shake up relations in several areas.

Steven Pifer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, says that relations with the US will become more complicated, but it “should not mean a different strategic approach toward the United States.”

“The upshot is that Putin’s return could and probably will mean more bumpiness in the U.S.-Russia relationship. He will pursue his view of Russian interests. On certain issues, those will conflict with U.S. interests, and Washington and Moscow will disagree, perhaps heatedly,” he writes.

A more immediate impact will surely be seen with regard to international efforts to end the bloodshed in Syria.

Telegraph columnist Michael Weiss considers what the election means for efforts to find a resolution to the crisis in Syria. Pointing to Putin’s approach to uprisings in Chechnya, which he dealt with similar violent crackdowns.

“Since Bashar’s [al-Assad] hold on power has become increasingly tenuous, some of the Syrian elite have also relocated their families to the steppes. Maher al-Assad’s wife is now rumoured to be residing in Moscow.

“This is why any Russian solution to the Syrian crisis is bound to disappoint. In a stunning show of cynicism, Putin told The [London] Times last week that he has no special regard for Assad personally, and that he’s finally become concerned about the butcher’s bill in Syria. What this actually means is that Putin wants the so-called international community to come begging at his doorstep for a brokered peace deal, but one which he will ensure amounts to Assadism without Assad,” Weiss contends.

 

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