coatofarms1.gifThe UK press have a reputation for baiting Russia somewhat – perhaps a reflection of less-than-healthy diplomatic relations in recent years.  Today, the Telegraph has published a bizarre article by one James Corum, a specialist in military history, who apparently sees Russia as a threat to the West and warns that it could turn to ‘open confrontation’ in the near future.  The suggestion seems pretty farfetched, especially given the recent news that the Bush administration had considered launching a strike on Russia to halt the Georgian war in 2008.  All the same, Corum’s Tsarist metaphor for the mindset of the current Russian government and commentary on use of the phrase ‘sphere of influence’ is interesting…

Russian foreign policy is based on a truly weird combination of nostalgia for the old Soviet Union and the imperialism of the Tsarist Empire. Russian politicians and academics use the term “sphere of influence” in the late 19th-century sense of the ruler’s right to control the external and domestic policies of neighbouring states. One of the strangest aspects of the new Russian ideology is the revival of the old Tsarist symbols to include the double-headed Romanov Eagle – complete with crown– displayed on official buildings and in the Russian parliament.

Read the piece here.