Russia Recalls Ambassador

Vladimir Putin, photo by

Upset by new sanctions imposed over the use of chemical weapons on dissidents (most notably, the poisoning of political opposition leader Alexei Navalny) and an interview of President Biden during which he agreed that Putin was “a killer” and stated that “He will pay a price” for 2020 election interference efforts, Vladimir Putin has recalled ambassador Anatoly Antonov from the United States to Russia.

The move signals degrading US-Russia ties. Putin consolidated his power during recent years, pushing through amendments to the Russian Constitution last year which will enable him to legally remain the head of the country for at least another five years and possibly longer. He has complete control of Russia, and relations with him determine the status of relations with the country.

President Trump actively sought to succor Putin, refusing to criticize him publicly, denying Russia’s attempts to exert influence over foreign elections and pressing for his reinstatement to the G8. This followed eight years of the Obama administration which had initially sought friendly relations with Putin and had offered a “reset” from the combativeness of Bush, to the point of mocking then-candidate Romney’s description of Russia as a threat in the 2012 election. Over the first two months of his Presidency, Biden has set a different tone from his two predecessors.

To an extent, this might be explained simply by the efforts put forth by Putin to elevate Biden’s political opposition. A better opponent could hardly be found for Biden. Putin is notorious for flouting international conventions, violating borders, killing dissidents and ignoring human rights. Unlike some other adversarial countries, there is no huge manufacturing base in Russia to generate internal economic pressures. Outside of energy concerns (which are unfortunately considerable) there are few strong ties between key American allies and Russia.

The rhetoric and sanctions of Biden and the ambassador recall point to a radical shift in policy, something potentially closer to the final six years of the George W. Bush administration than to the initial two years where he tried to welcome “Putie-poot” into the West. Putin is a dangerous, criminal actor who has achieved control over his country. Biden is signaling that he recognizes this fact; hopefully he will remember it in the future.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.