skidelsky128_addams_25.06.2018 Project Syndicate

Putin Family Values

Was the hope that post-Soviet Russia would “join the West” always a delusion? A quarter-century later, with the Kremlin and Western populists identifying a common enemy in the global order headed by the United States and abetted by the European Union, convergence might finally be occurring, though in the opposite direction.

LONDON – The fixation on the ongoing World Cup, during which an estimated one million foreign football fans, many from Europe and the United States, are expected to converge on Moscow and other Russian cities, risks masking the extent to which Russia and the West have drifted apart. In fact, relations between the two sides nowadays are purely functional; a new Cold War has started.

Was the hope that post-Soviet Russia would “join the West” always a delusion? Some dig deep into Russian history to find support for this conclusion, invoking the Tartar yoke and the absence of an “enlightenment.” Others view the estrangement more contingently.

For example, in his recent book China and Russia: The New Rapprochement, Russian political scientist Alexander Lukin argues that, even though China has more territorial grievances with Russia than with any other country, the Kremlin’s turn toward it was a “natural outcome.” As a vanquished superpower, Russia sought to create a counterweight to the victor.

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