How to explain the metamorphosis of Russian politics and can the country change after the departure of Vladimir Putin?
Tony Wood’s new book, Russia Without Putin: Money, Power and the Myths of the New Cold War, describes the system of power in modern Russia, its relations with its neighbors. states, stages of formation and coming to power of Vladimir Putin, history of the Russian opposition, Euromaidan and other events of recent history.
This is the second book by American author Tony Wood, a member of the editorial board of the New Left Review magazine – the first was devoted to the theme of Chechnya’s independence. According to Wood, the reason for the intensification of confrontation in relations between Russia and the West is the imbalance of power. Another reason for the confrontation, he believes, is the deep-rooted rejection of Western values and institutions by the Kremlin elites..
“Studies of Russian foreign policy after the collapse of the Soviet Union painted us a different picture. Most of the Russian elites, including Putin himself, supported the idea of cooperation and even integration with the West. However, after a short time it became clear that these were only illusions. After the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia put an end to the idea of an alliance with the West, “the author emphasizes..
Prominent British researcher Edward Lucas, senior vice president of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington, criticized Wood’s book: “Tony Wood is not interested in seeing Russia as an actor seeking to restore its hegemony in the region and influence affairs “Old Europe” “.
According to Lucas, the author of the book mistakenly underestimates any ideological components in the conflict between Russia and the West. Russia has become a more orthodox country, which openly criticizes Western liberalism and is more inclined to the position “we are a special country, which has a special path, and normal rules do not apply to us.”.
Lucas stresses that these views cannot be considered an ideological platform of Marxist proportions, but its anti-Western potential should not be ignored..
Lucas draws attention to the fact that Tony Wood does not want to recognize the USSR as an empire, and Russia’s policy towards its neighbors is an imperial policy, caused by a corresponding way of thinking. Lucas recalls that in the book NATO enlargement is presented as the result of an ill-conceived strategy of the West, and not as a reaction to quite realistic threats to the security of neighboring countries..
Wood puts forward the version that the post-Soviet system, which was built before the arrival of Putin, is capable of outliving the President of the Russian Federation – Lucas argues that the current Cold War is much more dangerous and can hardly be called a “myth”.
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“The phrase“ Russia without Putin ”has become the slogan of the Russian opposition. At the same time, the problems of Russians will not go anywhere, even if Putin leaves his post, says Lucas. – Putin may be at the center of the political and economic systems of the Russian Federation, but he is not their embodiment. Corruption, political persecution and electoral fraud took place in Russia long before he came to power. “.