Does the West understand Russia? Perhaps the better question is: has it ever understood Russia? At the moment of the Soviet Union’s collapse, the policy consensus was that the USSR was solid as a rock. Yet while the West was praising Russia’s transition to democracy and the market, Boris Yeltsin was restoring personalized power and building institutions of oligarchic capitalism. As Russia experts in the US searched for a ‘common strategic purpose’ and European colleagues pursued a ‘partnership for modernization’ with Moscow, officials in the Kremlin were treating the West as an opponent and accusing it of humiliating Russia.
The West was then serially shocked by the Kremlin’s gambits in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria, and tried to conceal its embarrassment by intoning the mantra that Russia is inherently unpredictable.… Seguir leyendo »
Russia’s return to the global scene, not only as an opponent of the West but also as a state that aims to influence internal developments in Western societies, has created a new intellectual and geopolitical challenge. Allegations of Moscow’s meddling in the US presidential election suggest vulnerability in the face of Russian power — real or imagined. Despite being much weaker than the Soviet Union, Russia today nevertheless has a greater ability to provoke mischief than the communist empire ever did, while Western debates on how to contain (or engage) Russia have an air of helplessness.
This situation is without historical precedent.… Seguir leyendo »
Un frenesí de los medios de comunicación a escala mundial ha convertido el aprieto del truhán analista de los servicios de inteligencia americano Edward Snowden en algo parecido a una novela de John le Carré, llena de suspense y de intriga. ¿Para quién espía? ¿Quién le concederá asilo? ¿Podrá superar a la Agencia Nacional de Seguridad en sus intentos de obligarlo a regresar a los Estados Unidos para ser sometido a juicio con las acusaciones de robo y espionaje? ¿Y qué dirá el Presidente de los Estados Unidos, Barack Obama, a su homólogo ruso, Vladimir Putin, en su reunión prevista para el próximo mes de septiembre en Moscú, en cuyo aeropuerto de Sheremetyevo está refugiado actualmente Snowden?… Seguir leyendo »
Observers are busy guessing who will come out on top in the battle to be Russia’s next president. The rift between Vladimir Putin and incumbent Dmitry Medvedev is growing, says a well-known pundit. Medvedev has become a symbol of change, an influential journalist assures us. Quite a few are betting on Medvedev as a pro-Western reformer. This is just what Putin, now prime minister, needs as he prepares for the March 2012 election: Let the world think that a competition is underway in Moscow. Let the world believe that Medvedev has a chance. Let the world hope that Medvedev is a liberal.… Seguir leyendo »
As intellectuals and liberal Russians, we have read with great interest many recommendations American experts have compiled for President Obama regarding the U.S.-Russian relationship. While there are several constructive ideas, many of these reports reflect a serious misunderstanding of the situation in Russia and the course it is following.
We object, for example, to the basic proposition of calling for a return to realpolitik because some believe that the worsening of Russian-American relations was mainly caused by Washington’s insistence on «tying policies to values.» The result, some American «realists» argue, is that the United States needs to build a new relationship with Russia based on «common interests and common threats.»… Seguir leyendo »