Two approaches to Russia’s withdrawal from Syria





Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to withdraw most part of forces from Syria is assessed from two different perspectives, Alexander Markedonov, Director of the Armenian branch of the CIS Institute, told reporters today.

“The dominant view is that Russia has completed its tasks and met its goals by overcoming the existing threat. According to the other approach, Russia is unable to solve its tasks, and the further military existence in Syria actually envisages additional expenses, which could, in turn, form a second ‘Afghan syndrome’ among the society,” the political scientist said. He added that Russian does not need negative sentiments in the lead up to the elections. Markedonov said, however, that the truth is between the two contradicting approaches.

“With its actions in Syria Russia has undoubtedly helped Assad by bringing the latter back to politics. It goes without saying that Russia has strengthened the positions of both government forces and officials ahead of the possible future talks set to start in Geneva today. Russia has also solved issues of its own image by demonstrating that Russia remains a power to be reckoned with. Russia has established itself as a role-player that can be negotiated with and has not acted as a party trying to play alone, let’s say in Syria,” Markedonov said.

The political scientist considers that Russia will now try to engage in the negotiation process to see what agreements the Syrian parties will reach and help Assad strengthen his position.

He noted that “Russia is not withdrawing all forces from Syria, which means it can resume activity if necessary to regain the past influence.” “Taking note of all this, Russia’s decision seems quite understandable,” Markedonov concluded.

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