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People Talking More About Russia Being a Nuclear Power – Author

© Russian Defence Ministry / Go to the photo bankThe crew of the Russian Aerospace Forces MiG-31 have conducted simulated firing of Kinzhal hypersonic aeroballistic missile with a small radar signature and high maneuverability. File photo
The crew of the Russian Aerospace Forces MiG-31 have conducted simulated firing of Kinzhal hypersonic aeroballistic missile with a small radar signature and high maneuverability. File photo - Sputnik International
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Commenting on the March 18 Russian presidential elections in which incumbent Vladimir Putin gained over 76 percent of votes, Roslyn Fuller, Director of the Dublin-based Solonian Democracy Institute and the author of the book Beasts and Gods: How Democracy Changed Its Meaning and Lost Its Purpose, warned of "exciting" times ahead.

Sputnik: How do you see the international community reacting to the elections amid recent geopolitical events, firstly with President Putin's statement a couple of weeks ago about the enhanced capability of ballistic nuclear weapons and the poison attack in Salisbury. Do you think we will hear a lot of allegations from the mainstream Western media that the elections were unfair?

Roslyn Fuller: That angle has been very muted actually, in this election compared to previous Russian elections over the last ten-fifteen years. Most of the focus has been on the turnout, with people claiming that you know a low turnout would signify rough legitimacy for Putin. That itself however has been relatively muted compared to the past. So I think there has been a certain acceptant that Putin would win another term and that he will be a person, you know, leading Russian foreign policy over the next six years.

READ MORE: Russians Agree With Putin Foreign Policy, Question Domestic Policy — Professor

That being said, I think one thing that has struck me as quite strange over the last several years has been a kind of lack of focus on the nuclear capabilities as most of the parties involved: Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

That is something that given Putin's statements over the last few weeks has suddenly changed as people are talking more now about Russia being a nuclear power, about the necessity for de-escalation and so on. That's something that’s come back on the agenda very recently, in the aftermath of the Skripal affair.

Sputnik: What is your prognosis regarding the development of Russia and its relations with other countries during the next presidential term, the next five years, especially with the UK? And how does the Skripal case complicate things?

Roslyn Fuller: I think the world is in a state of real flux at this point, there are a lot of uncertainties. I think when we look at the relationship between Russia and Western countries, we have to keep in mind other factors on the world stage.

READ MORE: Here is What is Known About Russia's Sarmat ICBM, Mentioned by Putin

China and the relationships that both the West and Russia have with China over the course of the next 10 or 15 years will also be decisive for geopolitical developments. I think when it comes to Russia and the West, Russia has a relatively defensive policy. So I think there could be flashpoints – there's definitely scope for flashpoints – for example, Iran, for example, the Arctic, for example, outer space.

[…]The question is what kind of relations the Europeans want to have with Russia, China and the United States. […]So there are actually a lot of factors to operate right now and we don't know which way those will go. People are anxious to avoid such a [Cold War] stalemate that really was very weary and led nowhere for the people who were involved at the time. So I think we have exciting time in the sense that a lot could change very quickly but I would not be totally carried away by political and media retort at this point.

The views and opinions expressed by Roslyn Fuller are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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