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Putin's decision not to attend Olympics sign of downgraded view of UK, suggests Russian politics expert
Professor Richard Sakwa, an expert in Russian politics at the University, has suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision not to attend the London 2012 Olympics reflects a perception that the UK is no longer a serious independent international player.
Professor Sakwa comments: 'Since his inauguration in May, President Vladimir Putin has kept a remarkably low international profile, apart from meeting with leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
'Rather surprisingly, the tandem form of rule that dominated between 2008 and 2012 is continuing in new forms. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was able to shape a cabinet to suit his preferences, and his attendance at the London Olympics is in keeping with the new balance of power in Moscow.
'Too much should not be read into Putins decision not to attend. It is not so much that he wishes to snub London for its policies; it could be even worse than that – he no longer considers the UK a serious independent player in international politics, and therefore it is hardly worth his while coming over to London for the games. This is part of a broader reorientation of Russian priorities to the East and a downgrading of European concerns.'
Professor Sakwa is Head of the University's School of Politics and International Relations and the author of a number of books on Russian politics, including this year's The Crisis of Russian Democracy: The Dual State, Factionalism and the Medvedev Succession.
Story published at 12:19pm 31 May 2012
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