Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (2nd L) walks with Russia's presidential candidate and incumbent Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (1st L) as they attend a gathering in Moscow, March 4, 2012. [Xinhua/RIA Novosti]
On March 5, incumbent Prime Minister Vladimir Putin won the Russian presidential election by receiving 63.6 percent of the vote. In an exclusive interview with China.org.cn, China's former ambassador to Russia and member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Liu Guchang said Putin's win is in line with the wishes of Russian people and the Russian reality.
It is a tradition in Russia to worship the "strong man." Putin's tough attitude towards western countries has won him broad support and love from the people. "His image as the national leader cannot be shaken," Liu told the China.org.cn reporter. This result also shows Russian citizens' hopes for stability and development.
According to Liu, Putin's election will bring development and modernization to Russia. In his first two terms as the Russian president, Putin focused on social management and stability. Now Russia's economy has been revitalized. The heart of Putin's political agenda for the next six to twelve years will be development.
Putin will implement political decentralization, giving Dmitry Medvedev and local governments more power; lower the threshold of entering the parliament and let various political forces to participate in state management. Addressing political stability, the administration will enhance investments in development and economic restructuring to gradually reduce its dependence on energy and military industries. Russia will further diversify its industrial structure, develop its manufacturing capacity and cultivate an innovative economy.
On foreign policies, Liu highlighted three trends: First is to accelerate the integration with members of the Commonwealth of Independent States to form a Eurasian Union. Second, Russia will serve as a "no-man" to the United States and other Western countries. Putin has a clear perception that Russia's strategic contradictions with the West have not changed. And the Western strategy of weakening and westernizing Russia has never changed. Russia can only develop in her own way, become strong and never succumb to the pressure from the U.S. and other Western countries. Putin's return will increase Russia's friction with the West. Third is to strengthen Russian involvement in the Asia-Pacific region. Russia will participate more actively in regional affairs to expand its influence.
In his seventh campaign article issued on February 27, Putin gave high praise to Sino-Russian relations, and put China on the top list of Russia's international cooperation partners. His re-election is a good opportunity for both sides to bring ties to a new high.
Liu observed that China's external environment has complicated with its economic growth. He said: "We have faced more challenges and troubles from the outside world. Deepening the China-Russia strategic partnership is one of China's important counter-methods. Any thought discounting Russia's power or being over-cautious on developing bilateral ties is totally wrong."
The ruling United Russia Party's position had declined in previous Duma elections. Russian media have reported that the All-Russia People's Front, a pro-Putin movement, will be gradually changed into a party and co-rule Russia with the United Russia Party. However, further development of Russia's party system remains to be seen.
Staff reporter Li Tao contributed to this story.