Russia: The State Beyond States
Russia is no longer a post-imperial state. Today it seems to resemble a conserved trans-state, which is neither democratic and modernized nor fully authoritarian and backward. What Moscow considers indisputable from its point of view is the special status it should enjoy globally.
In the 1990s, Russia entered the post-imperial phase. It was a period of chaos and social disappointment. Once a mighty nation, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russians suffered from a rapid reduction of international influence. It was something the Kremlin was not prepared for. The fall of communism along with the centrally planned economy hit both the society and the country’s elite badly.
After over 400 years of calling the shots in global politics, Moscow had to revamp itself nearly from scratch. There was no appetite among those in power for a new version of the empire, only nostalgia left after the old one. Historically, the apparent rapprochement with the West came when the Kremlin was as vulnerable as never before.
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Michał Romanowski is a program coordinator with the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Warsaw.