lundi 24 mai 2010

Russia -- less USSR and more Russian Empire

Our image of Russia is heavily influenced by the recent past, we see Russia as an extension, alter ego of the USSR. In fact, we should see Russia in a longer historical perspective. The USSR is a relatively short-lived phenomenon in Russian history, and its behaviour and ideology are somewhat atypical. The Russian Empire has never wanted confrontation with the West (in the past this meant Britain, France, Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire) as a whole. It tried always to find allies in the West, and often succeeded in finding them. Russia has had a special relationship both with France and Germany, and it seems that these special relationships are now firmly reestablished. In relations with Russia it is useful to learn from its imperial history. The USSR of Stalin didn't have any allies, the Russian Empire had. It is a fact of particular importance.

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