September 01, 2010

The Kremlinologist Catechism



there is a catechism that dominates American discourse on Russia today. Just flip through The Washington Post’s editorials, peruse American political science journals* or listen (cringe) to a Joe Biden interview. It goes something like this:

 

In the past decade, Putin’s Russia has forsaken Western values and returned to its authoritarian past. Ordinary Russians, bribed by the Kremlin’s oil largesse and misled by its controlled media, expressed only apathy at this development. Granted, the regime may enjoy superficial support (given Putin’s strangely stratospheric approval ratings), but the accelerating population decline proves that Russians are discounting the nation’s future with their loins. And so should we, for what’s the point of taking a “Potemkin country” ruled by a “kleptocratic thugocracy” seriously?


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