Editorial | Russia makes itself heard

Thirty years after the demise of the Soviet Union The old familiar demons of the rivalry on European soil between East and West, between the United States and Russia, have returned to the scene, becoming the heir to one of the two great superpowers of the cold war. The repeated public laments regarding the disaster that the end of the USSR, the support given by the oligarchs to the Kremlin’s speech and the demand of President Vladimir Putin that NATO give guarantees that in no case Ukraine and Georgia will join the organization has led to a escalation of reproaches that, with all the differences that you want, partly revives the heated climate of the cold War. With the no less variant that the United States-USSR rivalry came to conform to a series of codes of conduct that barely left room for improvisation and surprise, but today, on the contrary, it runs through an unpredictable logic not without risks.

In the reappearance of Russia as a global political actor looming nostalgia for a golden age that presumably will not return, the vulnerability of a very poorly diversified economy and the attitude of the United States since the days of President Bill Clinton, the first who believed he saw in Boris Yeltsin’s Russia an adversary that was almost extinct. The truth is the rise of the Chinese model, become the new great superpower of the 21st century, and the misjudgments made by NATO and the European Union have given rise to a kind of triangle competition in which Russia has been reborn on the back of the dynamism of the fossil fuel markets, even if it is to limit the expansion of its European opponents.

From there the complicity of Russia and China to face a common front against the United States and its allies, and hence also the manifest degradation of Russia’s relations with the United States. While an imperfect multilateralism, damaged by the diplomacy practiced by President Donald Trump, hardly yields tangible results, the feeling grows that the Kremlin’s relationship with the White House and with Brussels is getting worse every day What’s happened since Joe Biden sat in the Oval Office. At the same time that the situation in Ukraine is entrenched of neither peace nor war – with an uninterrupted share of casualties – and the annexation of Crimea is an irreversible fact, the sanctions regime contributes to thinning the atmosphere in a very volatile environment as has been demonstrated by the refugee crisis on the border of Belarus with Poland and Lithuania, induced by Russia.

For the United States, rather than a dispute for hegemony on a European scale, the configuration of two crisis scenarios as distant as the Western Pacific and Europe heralds difficult times. How many in the 1990s saw the United States as the long-haul hyperpower for a unipolar world now admit that their forecasts were in place for just over a decade and were, to say the least, hasty. Vladimir Putin has built an autocracy to his measure, has known how to exploit the frustrations of Russian nationalism and has silenced with an iron fist an opposition with more echo outside than inside the federation. And with all of it has managed to make the most of frankly diminished resources Except for one detail no less: the nuclear arsenal is still there with its deterrent power so that no one tightens the screws more than it should.


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