Home / Forum / World affairs

Putin's fifth term in office: A new era of de-Westernization of Russia?



May 11, 2024, 10:58

Vladimir Putin has taken the oath of office as president of the Russian Federation for another term. Most Western nations, expectedly, boycotted the ceremony on May 7, refusing to send diplomats to the inauguration. But does their action really worry Russia?

According to Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Moscow does not conduct elections or inaugurations "in order to be appreciated, loved or hated by the West."Indeed, the process of "decoupling" between Russia and the West seems to be unstoppable. For the Kremlin, creating a "positive image" of Russia in the Western world is no longer a top priority.

Putin, however, hinted in his short inauguration speech that Russia is ready for dialogue with the West on security and strategic stability, "but only on equal terms." But from the Western powers' perspective, treating Moscow as an equal partner would represent a demonstration of weakness.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States has treated the Kremlin as a junior partner, in the best case. Putin is attempting to improve Russia's position in the global order, quite aware that the existing system of international relations is heading toward a radical transformation.

The West, led by the United States, seeks to preserve the dominant role in a new international order. That is why the Kremlin can unlikely count on equal treatment in any arrangements with Western powers. As a result, a new cold war will continue, and Russia will undoubtedly aim to develop relations with various non-Western actors.

One month before the Russian presidential election, held on March 17, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Russian leader is expected to visit Türkiye – Moscow's "strategic frenemy" – after the vote. To this day, however, it remains highly uncertain when, and if at all, Putin will travel to Türkiye, which is a NATO member, to meet with his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Although such a move could strengthen pragmatic relations between Moscow and Ankara, the Kremlin seems to be more interested in deepening ties with non-NATO nations. China is undoubtedly one of them.

According to Peskov, preparations for Putin's visit to China have entered their "final stage." Given Chinese President Xi Jinping's ongoing European tour, as well as the upcoming Victory Day celebration in Moscow, it is not very probable that the Russian and Chinese leaders will meet in the first half of May. But if Putin visits China before Türkiye, it will be a clear message to the West that, for the foreseeable future, Russia’s foreign policy vector will go eastward.

The fact that leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan will attend the Victory Day celebration on May 9, perfectly illustrates that one of the Kremlin's goals during Putin's fifth term will be to preserve good ties with what it sees as "Russia's near abroad," especially with countries that are members of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

Putin's inauguration rhetoric also indicates that, for the new Russian government, preserving stability at home will possibly be its most important task. Preventing potential divisions within Russia's multinational society will almost certainly play a very important part in the country's domestic politics.

"We are a united and great people and together we will overcome all obstacles, realize all our plans, and together we will win," Putin said after being sworn in.

His statement should be interpreted not only in the context of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, but also in connection with the March 22 Crocus City Hall terror attack – a tragic event that threatened to destabilize the country. Putin will, therefore, insist on unity in Russia, although he is expected to make some changes to the makeup of the new Russian government.

If Putin serves the full six years of his new term, he will become one of the the longest serving Russian leaders since Empress Catherine the Great in the 18th century. He has held continuous positions as president or prime minister since 1999. Over the years, he has attempted to improve Moscow's relations with the West but, as he repeatedly stated, Western leaders have "led Russia by the nose and deceived the Kremlin."

As a result, Russia now seeks to strengthen political, economic, and military relations with the Global South. Unlike Peter the Great, the Russian Tsar who ruled the country in the late 17th and early 18th centuries aiming to Westernize it, Putin promises to take a different approach and is paying more attention to developing Russian traditional values.

But in the next six years, Putin will face many challenges. Although the West, at least according to French President Emmanuel Macron, "has no desire for a regime change in Russia," it will be very difficult for the Kremlin to find a common ground with nations it sees as unfriendly. 

Even if the conflict in Ukraine ends tomorrow, relations between Russia and the West are unlikely to "get back to normal" anytime soon. That is why Putin's fifth term in office, at least when it comes to Russian foreign policy, is expected to lead to additional de-Westernization of Russia.

The author Nikola Mikovic is a special commentator on current affairs for CGTN, and a freelance journalist in Serbia. (Source: CGTN)

4 688
victor_j post time: 2024-05-11 13:17

re: "Russia will always be thinking on how to maximaze its own interest while leveraging minimum resources to contain enemies or potential rivals".

 Indeed, however, the Middle Kingdom and Russia will not permit any foreign Colour Revolution's within their borders.

  The West is fully aware that they're surrounded by quicksand...



''Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991...'' Well as the Soviet Union lost so much of its territory then, 'it's little wonder that  Russia is seen as a reduced and weaker power now.


They tried to control Russia, including her in the G8. But, of course, these useless genocidal parasites made demands on Russia and Russia wasn't prepared to become a vassal.

Now Russia says she will never trust the West again.


Rather than the point view of "de-westernization", I prefer the view of "standing on two boats". It is based on the fact that a mature politician- he has already underwent 5 presidential tenures and stands for his national interest. Its true that Russia cooperates with China in many terms and such a relationship is deepening and betterring.
But it's wrong for us to interpret that Russia is on the way to "de-westernization". As an important player in the game among big countries, Russia will always be thinking on how to maximaze its own interest while leveraging minimum resources to contain enemies or potential rivals.
If the west can bring in bigger interest than the one that China can offer, Russia will not hesitate to embrace the west. Let alone say, Moscow is closer to the west in the view of terrain.