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U.S. intelligence services explain what they expect from Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin

February 02, 2012, 12:38 UTC+3

U.S. intelligence services say not worth to expect reforms and liberalisation from President Putin

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For the first time Intelligence services of the United States clearly expressed what they expect from Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin. James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and David Petraeus, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, presented  a report to the Sentate outlining the threats to the U.S. security, where the biggest part is devoted to Russia. The U.S. intelligence services claim it is not worth to expect reforms and liberalisation from President Putin, and though there will not be an immediate kickback in foreign policy, it would be more complicated for the U.S. to develop relations with Moscow. Experts say that the report may be a confirmation of the Congress’ tougher relations with Russia.

The report on the world threats is a result of many months of work carried out by 16 intelligence services, Kommersant writes. A major part of the report is devoted to Russia. General Clapper told the Senate that in October 2011, the U.S. National Intelligence came to a conclusion that most cyber attacks against the U.S. networks come from Russia and China. Though most attacks were organised by so-called independent hackers, the U.S. intelligence reports that the computer war involves intelligence and official structures of those countries. Additionally Russia and China are involved in aggressive and successful economic espionage against the United States – they managed to damage American interests by means of theft and illegal publishing of secret, economic and industrial information, he said.

At the same time, the newspaper continues, the Russian part of the report is devoted mostly to the return of Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin after the election on March 4. Domestically Putin is most likely to retain the existing political and economic system, and will not initiate reforms and liberalisation despite the growing problems, which may pose serious challenges for the system of managed democracy and corrupted capitalism, the report reads.

The U.S. intelligence services do not expect major changes in Russia’s foreign policy. They forecast that Putin’s return is not likely to cause immediate and major kickback in Russia’s relations with the Untied States, but it would be more and more complicated to develop the bilateral relations. Experts fear that Putin’s instinctive mistrust of the U.S. may complicate the situation. The report says that development of genuine  partner relations between Moscow and Washington is impossible as Russia continues to consider the reset politics to be the U.S.’ own initiative and expects Washington to be more flexible and ready for compromises for the sake of continued cooperation.

The major problem in the bilateral relations is anti-missile defence, the U.S. intelligence service reports. General Clapper warned the senators that Moscow’s concern about the American plans to deploy the anti-missile systems may make Russia refrain from further negotiations about reduction of nuclear weapons.

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, forecasted Vladimir Putin’s initiatives at home and abroad after winning presidential elections, the Trud daily reports. Clapper claims that Putin’s victory will mean continuation of the former economic trend, keeping the old foreign policy and insignificant strengthening of Russia’s Armed Forces. However, generally, Russia will remain as weak as it is now, and will not be able to compete seriously with NATO and the U.S., Clapper said.

The newspaper writes, that Clapper paid special attention to the modernisation of Russia’s Armed Forces. He stressed that Moscow is aspiring to build a modern and well equipped army, but the bureaucratic barriers and corruption would not allow it to reach the objective.

Rossiiskaya Gazeta reports that from the speeches made at the Senate’s committee it is clear that Moscow and Beijing do not worry Washington from the military point of view. The United States is rather concerned with Russia’s and China’s spies. Especially the industrial espionage.


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