“It is Putin the conservative and not Putin the realist who decided to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty.”
Oxford historian, Mark Almond, recalls the lessons from history once taught by Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in his study of Pitt the Younger’s mishandling of what he called the “Ochakov fiasco” in 1791.
In the absence of a diplomatic settlement between the West and Russia over Ukraine, Moscow may seek to capitalize on recent gains in the Middle East at US expense.
Vladimir Putin's policies in Ukraine are not part of an attempt to expand Russia's empire westwards. He is simply trying to reduce the chaos caused by the massive incompetence of Ukraine's ruling elite
In the past few years, many in Russia have realized that the rise of Asia is serious and for the long haul.
As in Soviet Russia, a reunification can be achieved by changing the incentives for all North Koreans, and by offering its leaders a safe, honorable and beneficial way out of the deteriorating situation. The Moscow model for Korean unification is a detailed proposal to secure this result.
Some political scientists believe there is no common nation in Russia, precisely because of ethnic and cultural diversity. Those who deny the existence of identity in Russia point to the absence of civil society and democratic institutions and, consequently, of a civic nation.
Russia is in a precarious position: although formally enshrined in legislation, quite legal private property very often is not considered to be legitimate. The “unfair” procedures that brought about the emergence of mammoth private wealth during the privatization period breeds distrust in the authorities, the laws it adopts, and the measures it takes.
Economic history provides many examples that undermine Weber’s postulate that economies based on the Protestant ethic are more productive. And the lessons of the global financial crisis of 1997-1998 refute the view that economies based on Confucian values (above all, the moral need for a high degree of family and personal savings) are more successful and stable.
In ten to fifteen years from now the generation of the elites that grew in the Soviet Union and that shares the same culture codes and the ability to communicate with each other like people of one country, and not like foreigners, will begin to leave the stage.
Globalization in the 21st century is no longer a trend solely promoted by the “Washington consensus,” it is now driven more by various concepts, including the “Chinese dream” and Russia’s great power ambitions. It is not only inspired by private sectors and market mechanisms, it involves by far more diverse participants, especially big corporations supported by their governments.
An ability to quickly mobilize one’s allies (not only in the military sense) and to deliver a most resolute and prompt strike at one’s enemies or even undesirable countries is becoming an increasingly important requirement for a state’s survival and competitiveness. This is why NATO, the last peacetime military alliance, has very promising prospects.
Russian diplomats, who had learned from a long history of conflict with European powers and Britain, personally saw the distinctions between Russia and the West in terms of cultural and religious self-identity, as well as foreign policy interests.
Proceeding from their current interests, more powerful countries often ignore the fact that, as a rule, there is no right or wrong party in domestic conflicts and civil wars; indeed, the responsibility often lies with both sides.
While the American elites take time to debate and prioritize their national interests, there is no similar dialogue going on within Russian elites. As society at large did not form an appreciation of what Russia’s true interests are, we can’t see whether we are failing or succeeding.
If the Arab Spring were to bring about meaningful changes to Arab societies, what is needed is a political order that is not only democratic but also inclusive. To be credible, the Arab world, including its Islamists, will have to tread the long and painful path of consensus building. This method is inclusive and hence more enduring than electoral democracy.
It would be more logical to recognize only settler colonies as colonies per se and refer to all other results of expansion as dependencies. The loss of colonies is incomparably more dangerous for empires than the loss of dependencies. Trying to hold on to dependencies is meaningless, but to neglect the colonies is reckless.
We do not live in an abstract civil society, but in specific economic, legal, cultural, and ideological conditions, with the state as the foundation. When the state falls apart, chaos follows, however briefly. Any chaos is worse than state order, except for rare cases when the government carries out genocide against its own people.
Since the events of 1933 and 1963, Europe has travelled a long road, filled with tragedy and hope.
Political references to the past in the context of symbolic politics are aimed at (re)constructing the national idea of ‘We’ in Russian society. A reconsideration of the major narratives of the collective past is an important element in nation-building and it suggests a choice between different options for interpretation and evaluation.
Post-Soviet Russia largely emerged as a separatist project, although it had not used this kind of rhetoric for its legitimization. Separatism was, in fact, embedded in the foundation of the post-Soviet Russian statehood.
Putin introduced the new notion of “geopolitical demand for Russia,” which “should be multiplied rather than simply preserved.”
Nearly every detail of the Cuban missile crisis has been exhaustively studied and analyzed in the past 50 years.
The Cuban Missile Crisis marked a turning point in the debate in the U.S. policy-making community over whether the nuclear war was winnable.
Russia can be deservedly proud that it achieved its main goals in 1992-1994. The methods employed were almost exclusively peaceful, despite attempts by both parties to drag Russia into the confrontation. By all standards, national reconciliation in Tajikistan remains a landmark event in the modern history of Russian diplomacy.
The gravitation towards the Soviet past has not only psychological but also social causes, linked with the interests of a considerable part of the ruling elite. In actual fact, there is the same Soviet elite of the Brezhnev time, which has rid itself of the party and ideological control that restrained their desire for unbridled wealth.
Russia and the United States often criticize each other for manipulating their national history by purveying excessively positive images of the past and by ignoring disreputable behavior. Although such charges contain some truth, they are highly simplified and exaggerated, on both sides.
The Ribbon of St. George, which was re-invented in 2005, modernized the symbolism of Victory Day and focused attention on the heroism of soldiers, an indisputable part of the military myth more acceptable by Russians than the traditional VD symbols tied to the Soviet past.
Five years have passed since the death of the first Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, and twelve years have passed since he quit politics.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
The April 16 referendum will focus on power distribution rather than institution building. In other words, the organizers saw it as an opportunity to expand the President’s powers and allow him to rule longer. In their turn, Turks perceived it as an institutional choice to contribute to the development of the state.
If the larger picture defies prediction, the immediate future is scarcely more transparent. In the U.S. case, the known unknowns are numerous. They begin with the question of how much deck furniture Trump is willing to overturn in order to pursue an “America First” strategy.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.