The Russian government's support for the Assad regime and refusal to endorse UN sanctions against Syria has earned Moscow condemnation from Arab citizens and diplomats alike.
The chilling of the Arab Spring, Iran's nuclear program, Iraq after the U.S withdrawal, and the continuing European financial crisis are just some of the key issues facing the international community in 2012.
Russian protesters hail from a new generation who are tired of Vladimir Putin’s regime. Given Putin’s refusal to give up power and the impending presidential elections, further unrest is likely.
Fed up with a closed political system dominated by one man, Russia’s privileged class has taken to the streets to protest against Putin’s regime.
Although many Russians are upset with government corruption and the outcome of the recent parliamentary elections, the majority of middle class Russians are unlikely to mobilize and take to the streets.
With the March 2012 presidential elections just around the corner, Putin is likely to try to distance himself from an increasingly unpopular United Russia party.
Given that Vladimir Putin retained a great deal of power during the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev, there are unlikely to be any major changes in Russian strategy toward the United States.
If Putin is re-elected president, he is likely to seek to maintain continuity and stability in a time of economic uncertainty and his return will not significantly alter Russian domestic politics or the U.S.-Russia reset.
If Russian Prime Minister Putin is elected Russia’s next president, it will likely not have a significant impact on the success of the reset in U.S.-Russian bilateral relations.
Given that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has probably been involved in the U.S.-Russian reset in bilateral relations, a high degree of continuity in Russian policy toward the United States is likely when he becomes president.