Publication: Prism Volume: 6 Issue: 4

By Volodymyr Zviglyanich

The rise to power in Russia of Vladimir Putin, a former lieutenant-colonel in the KGB who never gave up his party card, has raised more questions than it has provided answers among Russian and western analysts. There are endless discussions surrounding the personality and character of Russia’s second president, his possible policies and his world view in general.

If one could find a reasonably perceptive answer to these questions it would help forecast the shape of western policy with regard to Russia in the light of imminent changes in the US political establishment and the probable replacement of those who are currently responsible for determining the US administration’s policies towards this country.

What will the new administration in the White House choose this time? A continuation of the obviously bankrupt strategy of backing individuals, as favored by the current administration’s Russophiles, or a pragmatic policy based on principles and values which is more in keeping with the national interests of the USA? What will prevail–the romantic faith that lovers of Russian poetry have in the Russian soul, or the rational principles of adherents of realpolitik? Myth or figure?


The myth of Russia’s historic mission and her opportunity to make the leap from communism and a centralized economy to a liberal market model of democracy, supported by liberals on both sides of the Atlantic, has merely engendered in Russia a catastrophic fall in production, anti-Western feeling, the impoverishment of the population and total corruption which eclipses even the Latin American drug cartels in the scale of its profits.

The transition from myth to figure is a very painful one, but it is essential.