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Between Ambition and Despair
Medvedev to Struggling Teachers: Get a Job
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  • Andrew Allison

    “typical representatives of the brazen government official class of modern Russia—a set of public servants who in no way feel bound by any obligations before the people they supposedly serve” is a problem by no means restricted to Russia.

  • FriendlyGoat

    When the Berlin wall came down, we all had higher hopes for Russia than what we now see with Putin. When we saw the raised purple fingers waiving on TV from nations in the Middle East, we had hope for several countries there too. What we can do, if anything, to help troubled places go forward on a real basis seems to be a mystery.

    • Kev

      I think we can all agree that ‘Hope’ is not a policy. A Marshall plan for Russia in early 1990s would go a long way towards setting this country on a pro-Western path. Instead, US exploited Russia’s moment of weakness to expand NATO up to Russia’s border. That’s why US now has to deal with Putin government in Russia – it wasn’t an accident.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Well, if not an accident, perhaps we could call it an error of some sort. While I like the tone of your idea of a Marshall Plan for Russia, we later tried nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan with disappointing results and it’s doubtful that Americans wanted to send massive aid to Russia in its transition anyway.
        Personally, I think what went wrong in Russia, in part, was that the march to capitalism in the Yeltsen period was left to be out of control profiteering by a few with the people not sharing sufficiently in the benefits of market-economy effects. If the people were prospering, neither they nor their leaders would care much about NATO.
        Who from their side would want a war in “good times” or even worry about one? But they never really got the good times at the citizen level. They have been suffering from a “Make Russia Great Again” mentality for 25 years and applying the wrong tools with the wrong leaders, IMHO anyway.

        • Kev

          Russians tend to associate economic system that emerged in the 1990s with Western influence and with good reason. Many of the oligarchs, who plundered Russia in the 1990s later found asylum in the West, and some of the most notorious ones, like Khodorkovsky are given hero treatment in US media.

          This is not to say that US is primarily responsible for Russian corruption and economic problems, but Western policy has not been helpful to put it mildly.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, I have sensed that is the case, that America in some ways has bungled relations with an important country which should be a friend an ally. I wish it all was better.

  • Kev

    Medvedev sounds like a Republican politician.

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