Vladimir Putin, Russia’s longest-serving leader since Joseph Stalin, will run the country until 2024. On May 7, he was inaugurated amid an economic slowdown and a strained relationship with Europe and the US.
In this edition, CGTN’s The Heat discusses Putin’s new term and the challenges, with our guests Pavel Felgenhauer, a defense analyst and columnist for the Novaya Gazeta, Aurel Braun, a professor of International Relations and Political Science at the University of Toronto, Harlan Ullman, a senior adviser for the Atlantic Council, and Alexander Nekrassov, a former adviser to the Kremlin and Russian analyst.
“Fantasy is not policy and Russian foreign policy has been driven by a kind of cleverness, but cleverness is not a strategy,” Aurel Braun expressed his concerns for Putin’s presidency.
“Look around the world. It’s not that countries are not buying Russian cars because they are prejudiced against Russia. It’s because Russia is not able to manufacture goods that the world wants. Russia relies 60 percent of its exports on energy that tells you something about the massive failure of the economic system that is currently in place in Russia.”
Harlan Ullman spoke about the possibility for the US to reset relations with Russia. “This is a tragedy of extraordinary portions. The only thing the US Congress will agree upon is that Russia is an enemy. This is not healthy. You have an American administration that quite frankly has not been able to sort out any kind of a policy, and you have Mr. Putin, a person who has been very, very clever in being able to divide the West and he’s done very well with that.”
He went on to comment, “I think the notion of reform is essential, but history suggests that this is going to be more than a rough road.” Harlan Ullman therefore suggested the US and Russia to engage in a lengthy summit.
In order for Russia to reform, Aurel Braun thought that the reform has to be fundamental and needs to come primarily from domestic sources.
“All of these people who have come in, who may be well intentioned, will not be able to succeed unless the reforms are fundamental, unless they deal with corruption – which is so corrosive in Russia that vast sums of money are going out of Russia and are wasted of.”
Aurel Braun believed that in order for the Russian economy to strive, Putin has to let go some of the power and focus on building proper business law and increasing the reliability of an independent judiciary.
Harlan Ullman said, in his view, the most profound problem that faces society is failing government. “We see it in Europe. We see this happening in the United States. And it’s happening in Russia. If Mr. Putin cannot reform, he may not be President for the full term that he’s been elected.”
Aurel Braun added that we are not in the new Cold War and it’s important for the reassurance to come from both sides.
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