Putin's Choice: The Russian President and the Reset
There has been much speculation as to the extent of the reset of Russia-US relations, and whether it can withstand Vladimir Putin's return to the Russian presidency. This paper considers the motivations for the reset, some critical challenges to it, and ultimately confirms concerns that Putin's return could negatively influence the reset's chances for lasting success. In doing so, the paper examines the importance of both agency and structure as influences on Russian foreign policy making; a strong Russian president can personally influence foreign policy in ways his American counterpart does not similarly enjoy. Russia's strong executive enables Putin to have a personal impact upon foreign policy generally, and on Russia-US relations specifically, thereby rendering any assessment of the reset's staying power heavily dependent upon the commitment of the Russian president himself. Previously, Putin has influenced —and set back—relations with the US, and the question now is whether this is likely to happen again. If the reset is to succeed, it will ultimately be Putin's choice.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 February 2013
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