walter russell mead peter berger lilia shevtsova adam garfinkle andrew a. michta
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Published on: February 14, 2014
After Sochi
Russia’s Political Magical Realism

The glitter of the Sochi spectacle hides the reality of an empire in decline. Is Putin’s profligacy hastening Russia’s nosedive?

Aurel Braun is visiting professor in the Department of Government at Harvard University. He is also Professor of International Relations and Political Science at the University of Toronto. His latest book is NATO-Russia Relations in the Twenty-First Century.
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  • Chris Zarwinski

    A few articles below is an article titled “Russia Kicks More Sand in Kerry’s Face at Syria Talks”. So my question is: If Russia is an “empire in decline”, what does that make The United States?

    • rheddles

      Led by incompetents but not in decline.

      • John Stephens

        Leadership in a Republic is reflection of it’s people.

        • rheddles

          Yup, they made the same mistake twice. But they have the capacity to learn.

  • Atanu Maulik

    Russian leaders are the ultimate masters of “self-containment.” For the past 1000 yrs, their cannibalistic policies have ensured that the nation with the largest resources on the planet always remain a B-grade nation.

  • Dave R

    Doesn’t take much talent to outmaneuver Obama. Obama is intellectually incurious, work shy, and primarily interested in avoiding personal or political responsibility.

  • Boritz

    This would have been a good brief for Bob Costas and NBC. They are not aware of this Russia and this Putin.

  • aseuss

    The author says Russia is like Italy “but without the diversity or international competitiveness.” Huh? Russia, with large groups that display central Asian origin–and with many people who display considerable Mongoloid admixture (and not just those in Russia’s Far East)–is ethnically diverse. A small but significant portion of the population are practicing Muslims (a larger portion than in the U.S.) As for competitiveness, Italy typically posts close to zero or negative quarterly growth, and only in the last quarter did it manage to push above zero. The author quotes the exodus of talented Russians, and here it shares a lot in common with Italy. I recently watched a documentary on science in Europe where an Italian molecular biologist, working in Stockholm, lamented the dearth of research opportunities in Italy and southern Europe (lack of funding, organization, etc.) Not to knock on Italy, but it’s not reasonable to highlight Russia’s problems by contrasting it with a country that actually shares many of those same issues.

    • Orson OLSON

      WRONG-“Russia is like Italy ‘but without the [ECONOMIC] diversity or international competitiveness.’ Huh?” I’d request a rewrite, but that means a re-read of the piece to actually comprehend it. Pass.

  • yesIDeeClaire

    Putin seems to have 10x the intelligence of our resident marxist agitator.

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