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    What's Next? Expert Explains What to Expect After Russian Presidential Election

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    Sputnik discussed the Russian presidential election with Dr. Binoy Kampmark, Senior Lecturer from RMIT University in Melbourne.

    Dr. Binoy Kampmark: It’s to do with the nature of the beleaguered world; it's essentially the fact that there is a state of crisis. You have to remember the nature of politics now, in terms of its populism, in terms of the messages [which are] attractive in electoral matters, are demonstrated very well by Mr. Putin. I think you just have to look across at the United States' example with the message coming across with Mr. Trump then, how he won in 2016 and also the matters of  crisis associated [with that]. Be it, for example, with nuclear matters with North Korea, be it example with security matters, and be it of course in Russia’s own sense that Russia is designated as the villain, if you like, in any political instances, be it by the EU, be it by the US, be it by other powers. So it’s not surprising that in this particular case, Mr. Putin has done rather well, because in a sense it's been cultivated to suit him too, even by other powers.

    Sputnik: Now the international community and the Western media were quick to denounce the vote, well I suppose that's been predictable in terms of the reaction; do you think there would be attempts to undermine the results of the election?

    Dr. Binoy Kampmark: Well, there’ve always been and there is always going to be, of course, criticism about the nature of the results. I don’t think, I think we just have to face the facts that in order to have brought the result into doubt, you would have to have had, a closer race where candidates had actually have actually gotten a certain share, and that simply was not going to happen.  And yes, of course, there were irregularities and I think virtually even certain individuals in the Russian context will admit that, independent election monitoring group Gollus, for example, has noted various irregularities. These are the sorts of things that count in close elections but in the scheme of things it would  have been hard to have envisaged something more significant in terms of those irregularities.

    Sputnik: What are your thoughts about how this relationship between these super powers can come to any sort of harmony? It's a very-very big question and it doesn’t seem there is a possible way forward at the moment, is there?

    Dr. Binoy Kampmark: We have to look at the perspective of the United States, that you have a president who is actually more sympathetic to Mr. Putin than is comforting, even, for many of his inner circle, and certainly for some of the members of cabinet.  That when it comes to the agenda, in terms of how it going to be set, it's going to be at loggerheads, whether it be, for example, the latest Skripal case, or about how it plays out with relations. But the fact that Putin is there, the fact that he is a strong man, as it were, means that people have to deal with him whether they like him or not, and the fact that he’s made such an impression; the Russian influence in Syria, the fact that he is going to be a very important figure in the Northern Korean, South Korean and US discussion as well, not to mention China’s role. Many things are set to happen in which he has to play a role; that's undeniable whether people like him or not, its undeniable that he is going to be a crucial figure in the negotiations.

    Sputnik: Trump, as you alluded to, is possibly pro-Putin, but he's surrounded by anti-Russian executives within his administration now. It all sounds very-very negative in terms of the way things are going forward. We’ve also got Mr. Trump boxed in by this Mueller investigation continuing to move forward or it doesn’t seem to be an ounce of that evidence. How it that going to further exacerbate the situation? It’s fascinating in many ways but it’s very-very concerning in the other direction, isn’t it?

    Dr. Binoy Kampmark: I think the issue is simply how these particular individuals politically will survive, and I suppose Mr. Putin has demonstrated very clearly that he is an individual who is a survivor. He has worked and has an intimate knowledge of politics to the point of admiration, even by his detractors. The reality of it is that even in the context of the US there is instability; that’s the contrast, if you like, that Putin can demonstrate that he is very much in control of the reins and power whereas of course in the context of the White House it's a more complicated, tumultuous road ahead. So at a certain juncture, Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin will probably see eye-to-eye and do something on certain points. But the problem is the internal dynamics of US politics; [according to] the executives within and also within congress and within generally the US political scene Putin is anathema. He simply does not, you know, fit in the mold of a figure that they feel they can get on with, and, of course, he plays on this very well. His demonstration there, his discussion about indestructible nuclear weapons that could penetrate any missile shield, is a demonstration of that very point.

    Sputnik: Now that Russia’s new military advances have been disclosed by Mr. Putin, will that change the landscape from your point of view, especially when it comes to the relationship that Moscow has with the United States? Are we taking about the beginning of a new arms race?

    Dr. Binoy Kampmark: What’s happening now is, of course, Mr. Putin aimed very cleverly into this model of a more militarist world and making Russian security more apt with these weapons. But they were in the pipeline for a long time, and anyone who’s a watcher of this sort of thing would be aware that Russia is [doing this alongside] some other states: China and the United States. They are all involved in a modernizing drive that is making them more sophisticated weapons and placing less of an emphasis on the reduction of warheads and more on the modernization of forces. This is a theme that you’ll see not just from Russia but also from the United States and other powers that have nuclear weapons.


    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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    2018 Russian presidential election, Vladimir Putin, United Kingdom, United States, Russia
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