Russia and Eurasia Program Update (December 2012)
December 31, 2012
2012 has been an eventful year for Russia and the Eurasia region as well as for U.S.-Russia relations. To nobody’s surprise, Vladimir Putin was elected president of Russia for the third time in March with a commanding majority of 64% of the votes. Also not entirely surprising was the continuation of a powerful anti-American campaign from the Parliamentary election in the fall of 2011 through the Presidential campaign in the winter. U.S.-Russian differences were most public over Syria, but the missile defense conflict also escalated in tone. Despite the downward trend in U.S.-Russia relations and the virtual end of the “Reset”, the Russian elite clearly expressed a preference for President Obama to be re-elected over Governor Romney who had notoriously and curiously described Russia on the campaign as America’s “number one geopolitical foe.” The year ended on a positive note with the U.S. Congress finally granting Russia permanent normal trade relations status (PNTR) and revoking the anachronistic Jackson-Vanik Ammendment, and CSIS was very active publicly as well as behind the scenes on this issue. For Moscow, at least, some of the satisfaction of finally achieving this was soured by the concurrent passing of the Magnitsky Rule of Law and Accountability legislation.