Putin-Bush partnership durable

A smashing victory for Vladimir Putin's party in Russia's parliamentary elections this Sunday over a suppressed opposition might embarrass President Bush a bit, considering their advertised closeness and mutual trust.

And if there is an overwhelming landslide for Putin's United Russia party, it could pave the way for the Russian president, whose second consecutive term ends in May, to try to control his succession.

But on some important fronts, like promoting Arab-Israeli peacemaking and trying to deter Iran from making nuclear weapons, U.S. and Russian interests appear to coincide, however heavy-handed Putin and a hand-picked successor might rule.

"The United States has an interest in the health of democracy, and unfortunately it is not developing as we would like in Russia," said former U.S. diplomat James Dobbins, who is with the Rand Corp., a think tank. "However, we have many interests in our relationship which we will pursue after this election, in many instances quite successfully."

"I don't expect a significant change in Russian foreign policy," said Andrew Kuchins, head of the Russia and Eurasian program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "Their interests can coincide with ours."

Citing Iran, the Middle East and North Korea, Kuchins said in an interview, " Russia makes decisions on national interests, which is not necessarily correlated with whether it is a democracy or an authoritarian state."

Bush has pursued friendship with Putin as an ally against terrorism from the outset. "Sometimes he says things I don't want to hear, but I know he's always telling me the truth," Bush said last July at summit meeting in Maine.

The president has been slow to criticize Putin publicly, but the White House this week released a statement in Bush's name expressing deep concern about the detention of numerous human rights activists and political leaders who participated in peaceful rallies.

"The freedom of expression, assembly and press, as well as due process, are fundamental to any democratic society," the statement said. "I am hopeful that the government of Russia will honor its international obligations in these areas ...."

At a conference Thursday in Madrid, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns accused Russia of working to weaken the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and its election-monitoring mission.

"We fear that the fundamental understanding of how to achieve democratic peace in Europe has been under assault from within this organization," Burns said as the OSCE accused Russia of delay in issuing visas for election monitors and sending out too few invitations.

The outcome of Sunday's elections are already clear, said Peter Rodman, who was a senior Pentagon official in the Bush administration. "It is going to strengthen Putin and the present government," Rodman said in an interview. "And we already have problems with them."

Now a senior foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution, Rodman said Putin's government has been bullying Ukraine and Georgia, pressuring Estonia, arming the Chinese and trying to squeeze the United States out of central Asia.

He also cited Russia's objection to an administration plan to install an anti-missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland.

And yet, he said, "the only reasonable American policy is to see if we can try to do business on some of these issues."

Ariel Cohen, the senior Russia expert at the Heritage Foundation, said that Russia is retreating from democratic values that many thought Russia had embraced after the collapse of communism.

Because the election is being conducted, he said, "in the atmosphere of searching for enemies at home and abroad, questions then arise regarding Russia's reliability as a foreign policy partner of the United States."

And, Cohen said in an interview, "this is especially crucial as the Iranian nuclear issue dominates the international agenda."

"On the one hand you have retreat from democracy," he said, "but you still have Russia as an indispensable partner of the U.S., no matter what." ( AP )

Iran's parliament discuses idea of withdrawal from Non-Proliferation Treaty
Iran's parliament discuses idea of withdrawal from Non-Proliferation Treaty
Iranian gov't has one-month deadline to suspend implementation of NPT Additional Protocol
Iranian gov't has one-month deadline to suspend implementation of NPT Additional Protocol
Iran hopes for economic revival of Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh - Vice President Jahangiri
Iran hopes for economic revival of Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh - Vice President Jahangiri
Loading Bars
Turkey reports over 32,736 new COVID-19 cases
Azerbaijan unveils funds value received by Armed Forces Relief Fund as of December 1
Kazakhstan, Russia agree on measure to restore ecosystem of transboundary rivers
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for December 4
Kazakhstan's coal extracting venture to buy spares via tender
French activists protest against Amazon's expansion
Azerbaijani, Bulgarian FMs discuss bilateral cooperation
Azerbaijani public reveres memory of martyrs of Karabakh conflict (PHOTO)
Electricity Market Concept Design defines gradual retail market opening in Georgia
Import of rice by Azerbaijan up
Baku Metro opens tender to buy tire connections
French parliament loses ability to be serious partner – Turkish Grand National Assembly
Investments in Georgian Poti Free Industrial Zone diversified by regional countries
Iran's next years budget unlikely to improve economy - Head of Parliament Plan and Budget Commission
Azerbaijan raises value of imports from Lithuania in 10M2020
Big foreign IT companies entering Georgia's market
Azerbaijan's Compulsory Insurance Bureau compensating bankrupted insurer's creditors
Georgia sees increase in tangerines export
Azerbaijan shows video footage from Yanshag village of Kalbajar district (VIDEO)
EDB, KazakhExport to jointly insure exports of insulated cars from Kazakhstan
Georgian Chamber of Commerce working on several projects to help SMEs
Azerbaijan's irrigation company to finance power supply of crop areas
Turkmenistan builts new mosque in Afghanistan's Akina town (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani, Latvian FMs exchange views on current situation in region
International organizations aim to finance road construction and repair in Georgia
Georgia sees increase in imports of dairy products
Azerbaijan unveils 10M2020 railway export operations
EDB to fund investment projects in priority sectors of Kazakhstan Development Bank
Azerbaijani FM receives Belarusian ambassador amid completion of his diplomatic mission (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry delivers diplomatic note to French ambassador
Global debt to hit $200 trillion - S&P Global
Turkmengas opens tender for purchase of general equipment
Ankara honors memory of Azerbaijan's martyrs (PHOTO)
First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva: We will never forget Patriotic War martyrs (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan applies Lithuanian company's hotel management system project
“Ural Airlines” to take citizens of the Russian Federation out of Azerbaijan
Serbia to pay off loan received from Azerbaijan for road construction
Turkish export cargo to China to pass through Port of Baku
Uzbekistan Airways resumes flights to Kazakhstan’s Nur-Sultan
SOCAR Ukraine's aviation fuel imports for November
Surge in COVID-19 cases reported at Kazakhstan's Tengiz oil field
Turkish president supports Azerbaijani counterpart’s recommendation to France
SOCAR expands its activities in Ukraine
Iran – UK trade could improve by money transfer facilities
Turkey records more Uzbek companies in 10M2020
Budget of Georgia Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure to be highest
Rostelecom increases capacity of Uzbektelecom's access to Russian segment of Internet
Central Bank of Azerbaijan eyes to raise funds on Bloomberg trading platform
Azerbaijan was rooting for us – National gymnastics team member (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan ramps up goods exports via stationary transport
UAE’s activity on Turkmenistan’s exchange in November
Azerbaijan confirms 4,267 new COVID-19 cases, 2,566 recoveries
Kazakhstan Development Bank to co-op to promote EAEU integration
Karabakh to become ecotourism center of regional importance - Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Azerbaijan
Oil moves up towards $50/bbl after OPEC+ supply compromise
Number of COVID-19 infections in Russia increases by 27,403 in 24 hours
Turkish minister to get acquainted with construction progress of Kars logistics center
International law firms enter Georgian market
EU urges countries to keep COVID in check over festive season
Baku cathedral parishioners honor memory of martyrs of Azerbaijan's Patriotic War (PHOTO)
Bank of Israel intervenes in foreign exchange market
Turkey, Iran commemorating Azerbaijani martyrs of Patriotic War
Uzbekistan’s volume of media market up in 2021
Kazakhstan, Russia agree on steps to expand co-op in geology
Iran-Iraq Joint Trade Commission to be established soon
Karabakh can become leading IT Hub in South Caucasus, says Azerbaijani analyst
Kazakhstan to launch manufacturing of Russian anti-COVID vaccine before year-end
Ganja honors memory of martyrs of Azerbaijan's Patriotic War (PHOTO)
Substantial NATO-Georgia Package updated at meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs
Belonging of Nagorno-Karabakh region determined upon relevant UN Security Council’s resolutions - press secretary of Russian president
UNHCR reveals details of joint meeting with Turkmenistan to end statelessness
Kazakhstan ups trade with Turkey for 10M2020
EBRD reduces its equity stake in Georgian TBC Bank
TAP to hold market test to double capacity
Second Karabakh war - brightest page in national memory of Azerbaijan, says Russian cleric
Azerbaijan presents musical composition commemorating martyrs of Patriotic War (VIDEO)
Amnesty International unveils photo proof of Armenian-inflicted damage in liberated Kalbajar (PHOTO)
Iran to increase revenue by development of gas transmission
Energy Commission of Iranian Chamber of Commerce discusses oil revenue forecast
9 Azerbaijani gymnasts return from European Championships with medals - head coach
Ukraine to continue supporting Azerbaijan's territorial integrity
Mountain Jewish Community honors memory of martyrs of Azerbaijan’s Patriotic War (PHOTO)
UNHCR talks cooperation with Turkmenistan on fight against statelessness
ENI to support activities of center to develop oil&gas engineering in Kazakhstan
Beeline mobile operator working in Khankendi city - fake news, Russian web portal says
Azerbaijan Banks Association to develop digital payment ecosystem
Trade takes up largest share in total turnover of Georgian business sector
Uzbekistan considers production of Bentley electric vehicles
Iran's Minister of Petroleum discusses OPEC+ meetings
Kazakhstan more than doubles petroleum oil exports to Croatia
Caspian Drilling Company updates on Satti rig upgrade
Gold price in Azerbaijan up
Kazakhstan, Austria trade turnover down year-on-year
Turkmenistan exploring possibility of producing cement from local raw materials
Turkmenistan working to maintain technical condition of gas pipelines
OPEC+ decision: Oil glut could be hitting the market soon
Georgia hits record high COVID-19 daily cases
Azerbaijan Banks Association implementing new banking services project
Georgia plans to subsidize the interest on leasing for event companies
Georgian business sector shows downward trend in production
All news