Neither expansionism, nor détente with Europe is the answer for the future of the Russian Federation after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Instead, says historian Igor Torbakov, there is a remarkable revival among the political elite of an idea from the 1990s: Russia as a lonely great power.

Ukraine is on the brink of war. Russia has deployed and is still keeping an unprecedented number of troops in the annexed Crimea and near Russian-Ukrainian border. Kremlin’s tone of voice is more assertive than ever before since 2014. In the meantime the EU is traditionally betting on a dual policy of carrots and sticks. Why Europe still holds the notion that a dialogue with Russia could lead to the desired outcome, which is having peaceful democratic Russia inside the European family? In truth, Russia is not and never was a part of Europe, states the Ukrainian philosopher Oleksiy Panych.

Is Russia a superpower or a house of cards? This was the subject of a debate organised by RaamopRusland in De Balie in Amsterdam. According to one of the speakers, security expert Mark Galeotti, it is neither. In his opinion Putin is just 'agressively offensively defensive', trying to protect a weak state by using the flaws of the West. Even before Trump he was trying 'to make Russia great again'. Russians see the West as an 'attention deficit disorder society' and capitalise on it. High time to get our act together.

The West is inclined to interpret and explain national politics by referring to Russia or Putin. However, the recent electoral misfortunes of mainstream liberalism and the rise of Euroscepticism have little to nothing to do with Putin, says international relations lecturer Camille Merlen. A direct effect of the West’s Russian obsession may paradoxically be an increase in Russian power. After all, power more often than not consists in the perception of power.

Premier Mark Rutte zoekt een compromis inzake het 'nee' uit het Oekraïnereferendum. Rutte wil dat de EU in een apart document vastlegt dat Oekraïne geen lid kan worden van de Unie. In ruil daarvoor zou het Nederlandse parlement het associatieverdrag ratificeren. Volgens journalist Vitali Portnikov uit Kiev laat het gedraai zien dat het referendum ingegeven was door angst voor Rusland. De nieuwe hymne van de Europese Unie is de Ode aan de lafheid.

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