Today’s Russia wants its voice to be heard, not to mention decisively, in most acute regional issues, be it the Iranian nuclear issue or the Syrian crisis. Although President Barack Obama considers Russia a “regional power” — an assertion that upset many Russians, including decision-makers, which is telling — whenever a grave challenge emerges in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world, Washington can expect little progress if it fails to enlist Moscow’s support, as recently concerning Afghanistan and Iran.
Afghanistan faces numerous other problems. While the country focused on pre-election issues, the amount of opium poppy crops in the country grew by 36 percent and estimated opium production jumped by 49 percent. The drug trade is a central financial pillar of regional terrorism, and the new president, whoever it turns out to be, will need to look for ways to combat narcotics trafficking.
Russian official documents emphasize that the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) is one side of the conflict, and not just a territory or “separatist enclave” whose interests must be respected and taken into account when finalizing a peace formula. The Ukrainian political crisis, as well as the change in the status of Crimea and Sevastopol, has reanimated the question of Transnistria. It is not hard to see why.
In his speech, Putin made it clear that this new foreign policy paradigm doesn't need to be confrontational. He's not going to transform Russia into a center of anti-Americanism or a destabilizing force in the world.