Which direction will Russia-West ties take?
OnMonday, a Turkish policeman shot dead Russia’s ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov. BothMoscow and Ankara condemned Karlov’s assassination, saying the act was an attempt to thwart efforts to repair bilateral ties, which had been strained because of the two countries’ support for opposing sides in the Syrian civil war.
Despite being condemned by theUnited States and the UnitedNations, the assassination partly reflects the tense relations between Russia and theWest. That Turkey being aNATOmember and part of theUnited States-led campaign against the Islamic State group have further complicated the Russia-West ties.
This year has been bumpy for Russia-West relations. In his televised state-of-the-nation address earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin saidMoscow hopes to normalize ties with Washington and is ready to jointly tackle global challenges such as terrorism if its interests are respected. But relations between Russia and theWest have remained tense since the Crimea crisis in 2014.
There is good news, though, asRussia-Japan relations are beginning to thaw even though no major breakthroughs have been achieved. Besides, some EuropeanUnion member states have hinted at improving relations with Russia after having followed theUS to impose harsh economic sanctions onMoscow. And with Donald Trump being sworn in as theUS president next month, one can expect US-Russia relations, if not West-Russia relations, to improve, even if partly, as Trump has said he wants better ties withMoscow.
This is not the first time Putin has said he hopes to improve relations with the US, and by default with the West. Putin’s diplomatic gesture has a lot to do with the newgeopolitical landscape following theUnited Kingdom’s vote to break away from the EU, Trump’s victory in theUS presidential election