Russia-US relations after elections: prospects and challenges
On the eve of the upcoming presidential relations in Russia the US-Russia relations take center stage at the 31st World Russian Forum in Washington, which has gathered prominent political analysts and public activists.
The presidential election in Russia will be held on March 4, while US citizens will be voting for a new leader on November 4. Many participants and guests of the forum in Washington note that after the political power in both countries is “renewed” bilateral relations between the two countries may be revised.
At least for now, before the elections the presidential candidates both in Russia and the US are coming up with rather tough foreign policies. The US Democratic party has already nominated Barack Obama whose policies tend to be Russia-friendly. The Republicans are now holding primaries and as of now their most likely candidate is Mitt Romney, who has a rather strange view of Russia, the president of the American University in Moscow Eduard Lozansky says: "Romney went too far when he said that the level of democracy in Russia is so low that the US should start paying more attention to Central Asian countries which could help it extent influence on Russia. It is common knowledge that in Central Asia the level of democracy is much lower than in Russia. In comparison with Central Asia Russia is like a shining beacon of democracy. When someone says, on the one hand that, he cherishes democratic values and on the other hand, that he plans to use authoritarian regimes to put pressure on Russia, which is more democratic country, that simply characterizes him as a cynical person".
As part of their electoral campaigns Russia’s presidential candidates are also making tough statements with regard to the US, promising to revise Russia’s foreign policy. However one shouldn’t expect any drastic changes here. Just like any other state, Russia has its basic foreign policy platform which does not change with the change of power, political analyst Sergey Markedonov says: "It is not quite correct to link changes in foreign policies with the elections. There are many issues which do not directly concern Putin, or a President as such. For example, the situation on the territories of the post-Soviet states and in the Middle East. Will the new president go to Tbilisi immediately after the election and withdraw Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s recognition? Of course he won’t. There is a certain objective factor in a country’s foreign policy and in this case the name of the president is not that important".
Most of the US political analysts who were interviewed by the “Voice of Russia” at the forum said that Russia and the US need one another. For example, both countries are concerned about the situation in the East particularly in China. That is why they should stay together at least on this issue to try to counterbalance the East’s growing might. According to the experts, in Russia the candidates’ views of foreign policy are unlikely to seriously influence the outcome of the elections. However for the US this issue could become a decisive factor. Even today many Republicans are ready to vote for Obama only because they do not want to lose a partner like Russia.