(Riddle) Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has been traversing its own, often difficult, path towards independent development. Over the past thirty years, Russian society and the country’s elites have performed many tests, making many mistakes along the way. From today’s vantage point, the results of this process of evolution do not seem final, nor satisfactory. The trajectory of the country’s development was mostly determined by internal factors, particularly concerning the balance of power between various sections of the Russian elite. It is they who bear the brunt of the responsibility for this dismal outcome.
At the same time, external players have a stake in Russian politics and continue to do so today. The consequences of their decisions ripple far and wide, sometimes becoming the foundation of serious arguments in Russian political discourse, the prevalence of which strengthens or weakens various domestic forces. Western partners often take political decisions on the basis of their own domestic considerations, alongside the rich tradition of “using Russia” in political discourse. The changes sparked by these external challenges then return, like a boomerang, to influence the foreign policy of Russia itself. [...]
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