The incumbent won his largest-ever supermajority of votes with 76% of the electorate rallying behind him amidst an outbreak of Russophobia across the world. President Putin was expected to coast to victory regardless of whatever the international situation was like, but it can't be overlooked that the Skripal scandal in the UK and the US' "deep state" pressure on Moscow may have played a decisive role in galvanizing voters around their leader.
President Putin is therefore entering into his fourth and last term in office during a difficult period in International Relations as America's fading unipolarity gives way to an emerging Multipolar World Order, though one that's being challenged every step of the way by Washington. The US recently decided to send lethal weapons to Ukraine, and the War on Syria is entering a new and more complicated phase, both events of which are coming on the heels of the EU renewing its anti-Russian sanctions as well. Altogether, no matter Russia's peaceful intentions in wanting to cooperate with its "Western partners", it looks more and more like the US wants nothing more than to formalize a New Cold War.
The international environment is surely challenging, but so too is the domestic one, seeing as President Putin's landmark speech earlier this month focused on his ambitious comprehensive reform agenda for the country and his far-reaching vision for where he wants to take Russia by the end of his last term in 2024. These details were largely neglected by the global media in favor of over-hyping Russia's hypersonic missile announcement that was revealed in the last part of his address, but they nevertheless indicate that President Putin intends to spend just as much time on internal matters as international ones.
It's always hard to predict the future, and no one could have known exactly what the world would be like in 2018 six years ago in 2012, but that doesn't meant that there aren't any clues that could be used in helping to forecast what comes next. President Putin is a much more predictable man than his American counterpart, and he's been consistent in his policies since he first entered into office. This makes it relatively easier to get an idea of what the Russian leader might do throughout his final term in ensuring that his legacy is a lasting one.
Andrew Korybko is joined by Padraig Joseph McGrath, Irish journalist who has been living and working in Crimea for the past 4 years and witnessed the Crimean unification-process in February-March 2014. On the line with us as well is Zoya Conover, Political commentator from the US state of Georgia.
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