The Kremlin’s strategy of isolating Russia’s allies and strengthening its regional power is unlikely to change anytime soon, according to an analyst.
“The Russians’ goal remains the same, namely the strengthening of Russia’s position in the region and in the world, but we are not sure whether they will be able to achieve this goal in a reasonable period of time,” said Nikolai Sutyagin, director of the Centre for Political Technologies and International Relations at the University of Toronto.
The Russian strategy of “sending a strong message” and “building up Russia’s military might” is aimed at building a military presence and influence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia that will “be able to provide Russia with a buffer against NATO and its Western allies, such as the US, France and the UK, as well as the West,” Sutyagan said.
While the West’s response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Syria has been mixed, Western countries have increasingly become wary of Russia and have moved towards more “constructive” cooperation with Moscow, according a recent report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
The US and EU have already cut off more than $1 billion in aid to Russia, while France, Britain, and Germany have imposed sanctions.
Russia is now the only major ally in the Middle East that is openly critical of the US-led war on Syria.
Its influence in the country has increased as it has been able to buy and sell weapons and military equipment, Sutyagen said.
“Russia has become a regional player in the regional chessboard.
Its presence is growing, but it’s very difficult to say how strong its position will be in the near term.”
Sutyagin said Russia will continue to be the dominant player in Russia’s strategic space in the short term, but that the US and other Western countries are increasingly wary of its actions.
“For a long time, the US had a very good relationship with Russia, but now it’s in the process of a pivot to China and to India.
This will not be the case in the long run,” Sutegin said.
The US and Europe have become more reluctant to work with Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin hold a joint news conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 4, 2020.
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