Putin’s Russia: From basket case to resurgent superpower

In this photo taken on Friday, March 2, 2018 and released Saturday, March 10, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an interview with NBC News’ Megyn Kelly in Kaliningrad, Russia. In the some times combative interview Putin denied the charge by U.S. intelligence services that he ordered meddling in the November 2016 vote, claiming any interference was not connected to the Kremlin. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

 

MOSCOW (AP) — Vladimir Putin and his Russia look more invincible today than at any other time in his 18 years in power.

Since Putin last faced an election in 2012, Russians have invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, blanket-bombed Syria, been accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election and claimed to have a scary new nuclear arsenal.

“No one listened to us. You listen to us now,” he said earlier this month, boasting about those weapons. Continue reading

Russia Making Major Push Into Mideast Market

DUBAI — Following a decade of “near-absence” in the Middle East, Russia is once again asserting itself as it looks to sell arms to former Soviet-era clients while breaking into the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) market.

“Moscow’s policies again have become markedly more active,” said Dimitry Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. “During his presidency, Vladimir Putin made trips to the region and paid a visit to Tehran, the first one since Stalin’s wartime allied conference journey.

“However, Russia’s policies are not yet embedded within some overall strategy and are largely driven by a set of pragmatic considerations. Russia’s principal objectives are to advance its economic interests and to counter threats to Russia’s national security,” Trenin wrote in a paper for the Washington-based Century Foundation.

Yuri Baramin, a UAE-based Russian political and military analyst, said the Russian approach to the Middle East can be described as a “wait and see approach.”

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