¹ 3 - 2014
Lukin A.V.

Chauvinism or Chaos: Russia’s Unpalatable Choice

The author’s perspective is that the return of the Crimea to Russia and other events revolving around the political situation in Ukraine, have combined to create a new reality for Russian society. The author believes that it’s totally possible that the entire system of Russian international relations, as well as the internal state ofaffairs in Russia, will never be the same again.Domestically, the Crimean situation has created an unsavory set of options for many Russians. This Catch-22 is based on the fact that the majority of people who want to liberalize Russian society completely lack an understanding of Russia’s national security concerns. Many liberals believe that the decline of Russia’s external influence is necessity for internal liberalization and therefore these two developments are intrinsically linked to each other. Meanwhile, those who support Russia playing its own role in global politics – enhancing Russia’s external influence – are often the proponents of a severely strict domestic political regime, authoritarianism, and even the rebirth of Stalinism. As a result, Russians seem to have an unpalatable choice ahead of them: either support democracy, but be against the augmentation of Russian power on the world stage, thereby calling for Russia’s transformation into a subservient partner of the West, or support the strengthening of Russia, but only under the conditions of dictatorship, nationalism, and threat to all of her neighbors. In the author’s opinion, people should consider a third option that would adequately address the concerns of the majority. This third way is a unification of normal, moderate patriotism with equally moderate liberalism.