Sunday, 8. January 2017

The Soviet Union Is Gone, But It’s Still Collapsing

And 5 other unlearned lessons from leading experts about modern Russia and the death of an empire.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of 15 new countries in December 1991 remade the world overnight. The Cold War and the threat of nuclear annihilation disappeared, and democracy and free-markets spread across the now defeated Soviet empire. Of course, 25 years later, events didn’t exactly unfold as initially predicted. The forces of globalization have mutated former Soviet countries in unseen ways, emboldening autocrats and entrenching corruption across the region. Meanwhile, the geopolitical animosities of the Cold War are resurgent, with relations between Moscow and Washington at their lowest point since the Soviet-era arms race. The creation of new countries, meanwhile, has given rise to nationalism and autocracies that are shaping foreign-policy decisions and altering societies in unforeseen ways.
Yet, the significance of this quarter-century of change is still not fully understood. Why did the Soviet Union really collapse and what lessons have policymakers missed? How is history repeating itself across the lands of the former superpower? In search of answers, Foreign Policy asked six experts with intimate knowledge of the region from their time in finance, academia, journalism, and policymaking. Here are the unlearned lessons from the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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