Speaking on The Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU, Carnegie’s James Collins stated that Putin’s return to the Russian presidency does not come as a major surprise to policy experts on Russia. In Ambassador Collins’s view, the larger question is not necessarily how Putin’s return will affect Russian foreign policy, but rather what role current President Medvedev will play and what will happen to the position of prime minister. Under another Putin administration, Collins argued that “we are going to see a great deal of continuity” as Russia continues to struggle with issues such as economic diversification, a declining population, and poor infrastructure.
Collins also suggested that Putin’s return to the Kremlin will not necessarily jeopardize the U.S.-Russia reset. However, Collins concluded that “there is a question about what comes next. How are we going to continue to build some momentum on the positive side and not let just the things that divide us end up occupying the space for the agenda.”