In May 2013 Putin will complete the first year of his third presidential mandate. Although the main focus of political analysts in the last months has been mainly on domestic developments, it is important to assess the foreign policy domain as well as a vehicle to strengthen further the domestic power grip. This need is dictated on the one hand by the issue of a new Foreign Policy Concept in early 2013 and on the other by the rapidly shifting power configurations on international arena where the Kremlin is still struggling to find an appropriate role and status. Particularly important are Russia's relations with the US declining economic influence and changing political and military choices as well as with Africa following the Arab Spring uprising. Russo-Chinese relations are another essential vector which will determine in the next few years Russia's international stance and ability to deal with rising powers. Finally, the Balkans are emerging as a region of competing economic and energy interests between Moscow and Brussels and the former will have to exploit the current Euro-crisis in order not to lose its influence over that strategic area.
Read the ISPI Studies - Russia's foreign policy under Putin's third presidency