Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Russia: “European But Not Western?”

Russia: “European But Not Western?”


The question whether Russia is part of the Western world has plagued Russian intellectuals and Western observers alike for the past two centuries. The question matters because where Russia “belongs” is part of a larger debate about how one differentiates between “the West” and “the Rest” given changes in the Western family of nations, and because of larger questions of geopolitical alignment. The Slavophile vs. Westernizer paradigm, which suggests that throughout Russia there are two opposing camps engaged in a struggle to determine the course of the country is too simple to reflect the true complexity of post-Soviet Russia. Moreover, an equilibrium may have been reached where not answering the question of Russia’s relationship to the West is desirable for all parties concerned.

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