Foreign policy qualms

Soviets and Communists are two terms that have been used to classify Russians.

Today, common stereotypes of Russia have been retained; however, no stereotype can be applied to the country’s rapid economic growth over the past decade. At the forefront of this huge movement is current Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin.

Since taking office in 1999, Putin has established a strong, united front on which Russia can prosper. The Russian economy was bolstered by further oil explorations and the booming oil industry.

Oil primarily established Russia as part of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) nation group created by Goldman Sachs in 2001 to classify the fast growing, developing economies.

The Russian economy seems to be the only prosperity under the reign of Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s fragile democracy has been trampled by strong, state yearning powers developed in the past decade. Some extreme signs direct Russia to an authoritarian rule.

Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky once proclaimed, “The Russian people believe so fervently in an all-powerful czar that this ideal is bound to influence the whole future course of our [Russian] history.”

Despite cultural tendencies, Russia operated under a relative democracy until the Putin presidency; now we must examine the implications of Putin’s presidency on Russian democracy.

During the Cold War, the famed KGB acted as the Soviet intelligence powerhouse.  Its powerful, comprehensive service became very effective in training both officers and politicians. Vladimir Putin was one of these trainees, along with four out of five political leaders and state administrators, according to the BBC.

Following the collapse of the Cold War, the U.S. mandated the closing of the KGB.  Under orders, the KGB fused into the KGB-FSB, Russia’s current intelligence service.

An infusion of past Soviet-era practices has been introduced into the government.  Politics and business interests have become one and the same, reflected in Russia’s rapid economic growth, the BBC further reports.

Throughout the past decade, censorship of the media has dramatically increased.

One famed example, which occurred in 2006, was the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya. It immediately preceded the release of a report condemning government corruption.

Russian presidential elections in 2008 offered another authoritative example. The election was minimally competitive, with Putin’s preferred predecessor, Dmitry Medvedev, easily declaring victory.

Following his victory, Medvedev named Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister, where he has dominated Russian politics and foreign policy since, reported by the New York Times.

The ramifications of an authoritative Russia endanger the West.

Russia plays a pivotal role in world politics, holding a permanent chair on the United Nations Security Council (which contains “veto” power).

The “new Russia” offers more frequent disagreements on world politics and “potential damage to the U.S. and allies from new global threats,” according to the Washington Post.

While the Russian government continues to drift away from democracy, the Russian people have begun to demand change.

The crumbling Russian infrastructure ignited the problems facing Russian citizens –– police corruption and treacherous highways to name a couple.

According to National Public Radio, Russian citizens recently erupted in protest, demanding that Vladimir Putin forfeit any intention for the 2014 presidency (after former President Putin extended the presidential term to six years). These protests were met with fierce police brutality.

Russia is a country with mixed intentions.

On one hand, it strives to maintain a makeshift democracy for economic prosperity. Otherwise, Russian politicians have changed little since the collapse of the Cold War, which establishes an authoritative trend.

The United States is a crucial key in the U.S.–Russian future relationship. The U.S. cannot operate effectively in the U.N. without Russia’s support.

However, to garner that support, President Obama must take a firm stance on U.S.–Russian foreign policy.