For an independent political analyst’s view on what lies in store for Russia under this well-known head of state, who has been at the levers of power for many years, euronews Moscow correspondent Alexander Shashkov spoke with Vyacheslav Nikonov.
Alexander Shashkov, euronews: Vladimir Putin has again been elected President of Russia, this time for six years. What are his main challenges?
Vyacheslav Nikonov: Russia’s ambition now is to join the world’s top five economies and achieve full democratic status. For this, the country needs to modernise further, in particular with serious structural reforms aimed at reducing Russia’s economic reliance on energy export revenue.
It wants to develop high technology more. Yet reform of its political system is also very important. This includes making it easier for political parties to register for elections, and returning to the choosing of governors by direct ballot. [Under today’s framework the Kremlin appoints them.] The goal is to bring more pluralism to political and legislative processes.
euronews: And how will relations with the US and the EU evolve?
Nikonov: In relations with the US, I think, Russia will manifest an interest in continuing the “reset” policy, which now sadly encompasses only the military and political spheres. Russia of course is very keen on also developing economic ties with the US, but a lot will depend on the result of the elections there.
The Obama administration is one thing; we started the reset policy with them, but Mitt Romney, who recently said that Russia is the number one enemy for the US, would be a more complicated partner.
The EU is now more taken up by its own problems, so Russia is on the periphery of Brussels’ attention. But I think Europe should create closer relations with Russia, because Russia is the fastest growing European economy, and it has ambitions to become the biggest European economy within the next 10 years.