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New Article: “Who Lost Russia?” at The Chicago Progressive

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“]

I have a new piece up at The Chicago Progressive:

Who Lost Russia?

If you are old enough to remember the iconic moment when Boris Yeltsin climbed on a tank on CNN and defied leaders of a KGB coup and then watched seventy years of Soviet communism swiftly collapse, you are old enough to know that Russia did not ever need to become our enemy again. And Russia, whose siloviki regime of President Vladimir Putin is absurdly threatening Denmark with nuclear war, sponsoring insurgents in Ukraine and flirting with fascism at home, officially regards the United States as the main enemy. It did not have to be this way. A question that should be asked, not by historians but by American citizens of their leaders, a question that is not being asked by our media:

“Who lost Russia?”

There is plenty of blame to go around – and we should not be shy about admitting our share….


….The Russian state, moreover, is hollow. Were Putin to die tomorrow or become seriously ill, there’s no assurance of an orderly transition of power to a legitimate successor. Or even that Russia would, in the medium term, not begin to disintegrate as did the Soviet Union before it. The world can ill-afford the emergence of a Weimar Russia, isolated, deeply hostile but politically unstable and bristling with the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear weapons….

Read the rest here, at The Chicago Progressive.

5 Responses to “New Article: “Who Lost Russia?” at The Chicago Progressive”

  1. Dave Schuler Says:

    As you say, there are a lot of candidates to blame. We could blame the Clinton Administration who consistently dismissed Russia as a spent force. You could blame the Germans. NATO expansion into Russia’s “near abroad” was originally devised as a method of securing Germany’s eastern border after reunification and was urged on the Clinton Administration by Helmut Kohl.
    General Western impatience could also be blamed. When the Soviet Union collapsed after 70 years, there were only three institutions left standing in the country: the military/KGB, the Orthodox church, and organized crime. Why did we expect to happen? Basically, I think we got what we should have expected.

  2. Dave Schuler Says:

    That should be “What did we expect to happen?”

  3. Zen Says:

    Dave, I did lay some blame at Clinton’s door but not enough, which is to say Al Gore’s, Strobe Talbott’s and Larry Summer’s door ( and Alan Greenspan too) as they had the Russia portfolio and preferred Yeltsin choose the oligarchs to help him defeat the revived Communists rather than outlawing them and seizing the party’s remaining assets. BUT your point about the Germans is an important part of the story I left out of the article,
    Come to think of it, the Germans were not unified for all of five minutes before they helped instigate Yugoslavia’s break up and began pushing for NATO expansion. The old Reich had the Wehrmacht. The new Germany doesn’t need one as they have the US State Department.
    I think Pundita has written at sone length at the ability of the Euros to bamboozle State into adopting policies that create friction for America while advancing German-EU interests

  4. Grurray Says:

    They just did it again in Ukraine. Germany needed more inter-union export markets to keep their interest rates low. They tried to get Ukraine into the EU, and all hell broke loose.
    Inexplicably, USAID then got blamed for a coup.

  5. Alberto Says:

    “Were Putin to die tomorrow” the guy with popular support (this means Shoigu) would carry on. Some faces would change, but mostly things would go on as usual.

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