The Assumptions of 1991

If you are like us, you’ve probably already read your fair share of thoughtful articles considering the 20th anniversary of the 1991 Soviet coup against Mikhail Gorbachev and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union. (If you are looking for a few more, this will do it)

Writing in the Financial Times, former bureau chief John Thornhill advises patience in looking at Russia’s post-Soviet political transformation.

Our consistent failure to predict events in Russia should teach us more humility when it comes to imagining the country’s future. It is wildly dangerous to assume that Russia’s future will simply be an extrapolation of its present.

In the early 1990s it was common to hear Russians lament that their country would need 40 years in the wilderness before it shed its Soviet slave mentality. We are only half way through that journey. Who knows how the country will evolve?

Not only the past is unpredictable.

Oddly, that’s the same underlying message to sovereign democracy, isn’t it?  Authoritarian control now, more freedom later.