Understanding Russia Today: Russia’s Many Revisions

Russia is on a collision course with the West.  War is not inevitable.  Confrontation and conflict are.  The sources of hostility are primarily within Russia.  They transcend the aims of Vladimir Putin, but spring rather from fundamental problems created during the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Any Russian leader following Boris Yeltsin would have had to cope with them.  Others would have handled them differently, but not necessarily better from the West’s perspective or from Russia’s.  These problems form inherent and irreducible contradictions in Russia’s relationship with the West.  Western policy toward Russia must recognize them and accept the reality that Russia will remain hostile to and resentful of the West for some time to come, regardless of Western attempts at conciliation.  This conflict is a crypto-war, characterized by deception and self-deception, grey-zone and hybrid war, and masking Russian crypto-imperialism.  We must bring its sources out from the shadows and into the light before we can hope to meet its challenges.

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