Analysis

Putin to Build on Diplomatic Successes as Domestic Tests Await
Russian President Vladimir Putin enters St. George Hall in the Kremlin on Dec. 12 to deliver his annual state of the nation address. (MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
December 19, 2013
| Security
| Russia and Central Asia
Summary
Russia scored several major foreign policy successes this year and will seek to carry its momentum into 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin makes no secret of his desire to increase Russia’s global influence and standing. He is succeeding, including by shaping the direction of several Middle East hot spots. As a result, Russia’s international stature may be at its highest since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.
Putin’s often clever touch on the diplomatic front is absent in his handling of domestic issues. He continues to tighten his grip on domestic affairs, showing little tolerance for real and imagined opponents, another sign that Russian politics remains mired in the whims of the latest in a long line of autocrats. Putin will continue to dominate Russian politics in 2014; the upcoming Sochi Olympic Games will be another public relations bonanza if they can avoid becoming bogged down in controversy over Russia’s anti-homosexual initiatives.
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