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Dr Sergei Karaganov3. Dr Sergei Karaganov
Russia's Uneasy Dance with the West
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Dr Sergei Karaganov, Deputy Director, Institute of Europe Academy of Sciences, Russia.

Dr Karaganov argues that the collapse of Russian communism challenged the west, and the west failed the challenge. With the end of the Cold War, most Russians would have liked to become more European, and for Russia to have joined Nato, for example. But the West rejected Russia, perhaps because embracing multi-cultural and multi-ethnic Russia would have meant the West would have to change deeply as well. Now the world has to live with the consequences of that rejection.

The main consequence is instability. Russia itself is unstable, and it is simply too big a country for this to be irrelevant to the world. The west's bad advice and misplaced aid undermined western moral authority for Russians, and sowed the seeds for the corruption and criminality that are now current. Worse, the west's intervention in the Balkans, particularly in Kosovo, was seen as a betrayal and a threat by Russia and other non-western states. Most likely this has re-energized the global arms race: within a few years we could see nuclear tension developing between countries like Iran and Israel, or China and Japan.

Yet Dr Karaganov argues that Russia does not challenge the global order. Changes in global economics and information flows are doing the real challenging, and undermining the ability of governments to govern. In Russia there is a reaction to this, a shift back towards authoritarian government. But this may only be a detour on the road to democracy. If the West can stop expanding militarily, return to the global consensus that it broke when it intervened in the Balkans, and forge a new relationship with Russia, then in twenty years time the world could settle into a new stability.


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