Russia not Obama's 'No. 1 foe,' but Moscow doubts a fresh 'reset'
Obama promised 'more flexibility' with Russia after his reelection. But President Putin is pursuing a foreign policy agenda that is increasingly critical of the US.
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But years of dialogue over missile defense appear to have ended in bitter stalemate earlier this year, as NATO went ahead with plans for its own version of a European antimissile shield over Russian objections. Meanwhile, disputes grew over issues like what to do about Syria's civil war and how to handle Iran's alleged nuclear weapons drive.Skip to next paragraph
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As anti-Kremlin protests grew in Moscow, authorities blamed the US for encouraging Russia's opposition, and Vladimir Putin, returning to Russia's presidency for a third term, identified a foreign policy agenda that was far more critical of the US than his predecessor, Dmitry Medvedev, had attempted to pursue.
Though Mr. Putin publicly praised Obama as "a good man" whose intentions are in the right place, and slammed Mr. Romney for his "cold war" mentality, he told an interviewer in September that he doubted the US "military lobby" and conservative government institutions would permit Obama to make any significant changes.
Under Putin's new Kremlin tenure, Moscow has kicked the US Agency for International Development out of Russia for allegedly interfering in the country's domestic affairs, and ended a two-decade-old agreement to cooperate in dismantling former Soviet weapons of mass destruction.
The Kremlin's new approach is to respond to US criticism of Russia's human rights and democracy record by issuing similarly scathing reports on US practice.
In that spirit, Russia's Central Electoral Commission – which has been stung by accusations of mass fraud in Russian polls – on Wednesday demonstratively refused to certify the US presidential election as free or fair.
"The campaign leading up to the election of the US president on Nov. 6, 2012, did not correspond with international standards of electoral processes," the Russian statement reads. "Regarding the principles of universal and equal suffrage, the authenticity and fairness of the voting and the transparency of the election, the process provided by the US authorities was not satisfactory."