January 8, 2010

Russia and the West: Playing by the Rules?

Ever since Mikhail Gorbachev made it to the top of the Soviet hierarchy in 1985, every change in leadership in Moscow has brought about an improvement in relations with the West. The presidency of Vladimir Putin was no exception: in spite of the negative impact of the recent Kosovo war and the conflict in Chechnya, Russia was able to achieve significant progress in its relations with the European Union, the United States, and even NATO. It is therefore understandable that the election of Dmitry Medvedev, regardless of how it was handled domestically, raised cautious hopes in the West about a possible fresh start after the ‘new Cold War’ of the previous months.

Ever since Mikhail Gorbachev made it to the top of the Soviet hierarchy in 1985, every change in leadership in Moscow has brought about an improvement in relations with the West. The presidency of Vladimir Putin was no exception: in spite of the negative impact of the recent Kosovo war and the conflict in Chechnya, Russia was able to achieve significant progress in its relations with the European Union, the United States, and even NATO. It is therefore understandable that the election of Dmitry Medvedev, regardless of how it was handled domestically, raised cautious hopes in the West about a possible fresh start after the ‘new Cold War’ of the previous months.


www.un.int/russia/new/MainRoot/koncept.html. Official translation slightly amended with reference to the Russian original.
2 Zakaria, Fareed, “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy,” Foreign Affairs, 76(6), 1997, pp. 22–43.
3 For a more detailed discussion on the significance of history, see Kurilla, Ivan, “Memory Wars in the Post-Soviet Space,” PONARS-Eurasia Policy Memo no. 63, September 2009, ceres.georgetown.edu/esp/ponarsmemos/page/78355.ht…; Morozov, Viatcheslav, “Protecting ‘Our’ History: Politics, Memory, and the Russian State,” PONARS-Eurasia Policy Memo no. 64, September 2009, ceres.georgetown.edu/esp/ponarsmemos/page/78356.ht….
4 See Schmitt, Carl, The Concept of the Political, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

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