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Russia Yearning for Acceptance in the Global Community

If you are like me, you have probably read about two dozen op/eds in the past year by highly respected thought leaders about how the West should “handle” a “resurgent” Russia. Here is one more from the FT:

“How should the rest of the world deal with this resurgent Russia? First, it should acknowledge that in many ways Russia is reasserting its “natural” national interests. For most of the 20th century, Russia pursued an abnormal foreign policy shaped by the dictates of Marxism-Leninism or – after the collapse of the Soviet Union – financial dependence on the west. Russia now has an important, independent voice in the world. The country is clearly still yearning for acceptance in the global community. As Mikhail Gorbachev, the last general secretary of the Soviet Communist party, recently told an audience at Harvard University, Russia wants to be treated as a respected partner in the international community. “It will not accept the position of a kid brother, the position of a person who does what someone tells it to do,” he said. “We need equal co-operation. We need equitable co-operation.” That argues for a policy of patient – but firm – engagement.”

For all this talk about Russia’s newfound power, few seem to be confidently able to talk about what they want to do with it, least of all those inside the Kremlin.