Policy Memos

Walking on Thin Ice: Putin's Rapprochement with the United States on the Background of the Latent Anti-Americanism in Russia

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The United States—although it attracts many immigrants and students from all over the world and its lifestyle is widely emulated—is also an object of intense and widespread hatred. The apparent paradox, however, is hardly unique and is explainable according to some theories of nationalism. Similar hatreds of various model societies have existed in many countries and historical periods. Resentment of the United States will continue as long as the United States remains a model society for much of the world, and the comparison of the U.S. model with those societies who are emulating it will not be in favor of the emulators. As a result, some societies will undertake a search for an alternative model, which is usually found in local histories. This sentiment is also related to cultural distance between the model society and the emulating society. For instance, countries such as Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand do not register significant bursts of anti-Americanism, whereas those countries that are more culturally distant do, especially if they had historical ambitions to be world or regional leaders. France, for example, although it has long been an ally of the United States, is still struggling with what it perceives as the undue global dominance of the Anglo-Saxon culture. [...]

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About the author

Professor, Department of Sociology
Higher School of Economics, Moscow