I tend to the view that Russia represents a sort of unmentionable scar – particularly for the neoliberal consensus which is currently coughing up its grip on the developed world – and a vague sense of regret, that, but for a host of decisions which seemed plausible enough at the time, the world may have a completely different Russia to engage with currently. I would also add that if you stripped that sentiment back you would come awfully close to the possibility that the Western world (and mainly the US – UK nexus) has completely fucked its handling of Russia, and the former Soviet Union, and that the chickens of that mishandling are still coming home to roost.
On the day Mikhail Gorbachev meandered off into history to leave the stage to Boris Yeltsin, the United States and the Western world had an opportunity. They could invest in ensuring that the dismantling of the Soviet Union was orderly and delivered benefits to the people of the former Soviet Union, or they could pocket the windfall of a reduced geopolitical spending requirement, and leave the peoples of the former Soviet Union to sink or swim of their own accord as they addressed the immense challenges of the end of the centrally planned era. Continue reading