Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s edict on September 23, formalizing sanctions against Iran following the UN Security Council resolution passed on June 9, has rekindled domestic interest in the “reset” policy in US-Russian bilateral relations. In addition to withdrawing from its earlier deal to supply the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran, Moscow has also banned other military sales to Tehran, and triggered speculation among some Russian analysts that as a quid pro quo the US may smooth the path to Russian accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Similarly, Russia appears to be expanding the agenda of its bilateral cooperation with the US, prompting additional discussion of the future of the reset. Tatyana Stanovaya, writing in Politikom.ru characterized the edict on Iran as Moscow pursuing the “reset” as a “strategic choice,” yet in the same article the enduring nature of the reset was questioned (www.politikom.ru, September 28).
Suspicion among a significant part of the Russian elite, according to Stanovaya, renders them skeptical about the reality of the reset. Indeed, Stanovaya cited an interview to Kommersant by Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, saying that he wanted to “believe” in the sincerity of US President, Barack Obama, concerning the reset, “I do not know what he can and what he cannot do; I want to see whether he is successful or not. But he wants to. I actually have the sense that this is his sincere position,” Putin explained. Putin also raised concern about the US rearming Georgia, which it is not, and alluded to “promises” in the past that NATO would not expand eastward as a “swindle” (www.politikom.ru, September 28) More at: .http://www.jamestown.org/programs/edm/single/?tx_ttnews[tt_news]=37041&tx_ttnews[backPid]=27&cHash=9347278520