Putin will never restore Russia’s greatness


Originally published in CapX

Twenty five years ago, on 8 December 1991, the leaders of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine signed the Belavezha Accords, an agreement that dissolved the Soviet Union.

Fewer than two weeks afterwards, leaders from all but one of the other Soviet states joined the Accords. Thus, the Cold War ended without so much as a shot being fired.

A quarter of a century on and the West and Russia are again locked in a seemingly intractable conflict. It is a conflict of Vladimir Putin’s creation. He believes the fall of the Soviet Union to be “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century.

His reckless behaviour since becoming Russia’s president, in 2000, has led us into what some have called a “new cold war”.

Mr Putin longs for a return to the Cold War. Not in the sense of the Soviet Union’s zastoi (or economic stagnation) in the 1970s or its disastrous decade-long war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He would rather forget about these; so too the misery and poverty suffered by many Soviet citizens.

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