Kremlin reads U.S. presidential tea leaves

Sept. 7, 2012 at 1:37 PM   |   Comments

MOSCOW, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- While a second term for U.S. President Barack Obama means a steady course for Russian diplomacy, the geopolitical arena may prompt change, analysts said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin weighed in on the U.S. presidential contest during a recent interview. The Kremlin has expressed concerns about the Obama administration's plans for a missile defense shield in Europe. Putin said that although he could work with Republican challenger Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor's rhetoric on Russia made him wary.

Alexei Pushkov, the head of the international affairs committee in Russia's lower house of Parliament, told state-run news agency RIA Novosti that bilateral relations "will be more complicated and not nearly as warm" as they were when Obama took office nearly four years.

Angela Stent, policy director for the Russian studies center at Georgetown University, said that while differences remain, "the U.S. needs Russian cooperation more than vice versa."

"For Putin, it's not so much the White House he's targeting but rather the boardrooms of the major companies," adds Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center.

Russia last month joined the World Trade Organization following nearly 20 years of work.

William Burns, deputy U.S. secretary of State, said potential benefits to opening the Russian market to U.S. goods were "considerable."

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