Before watching this speech, I recommend reading the Richard Pipes piece from over the weekend (which may merit a second posting and commentary as it features great lines such as “One unfortunate consequence of the obsession with “great power” status is that it leads Russians to neglect the internal conditions in their country.“), and LeVine’s reaction over at his blog Oil and the Glory. It was the thesis of LeVine’s last book that the current political murders and impunity (Klebnikov, Politkovskaya, Estemirova, etc.) connect to a larger historical trend, arching over centuries of events in Russia. It’s a controversial theory, and not without its problems, but both Pipes and LeVine are certainly hitting the right issues. More to come from us on all this later on.