Russia’s anti-West isolationism

Maxim Trudolyubov writes: Russia’s quasiwar in eastern Ukraine is in no small measure a product of long-felt anti-Western tensions within Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin that are rapidly spiraling out of control.

With the downing of the Malaysian airliner over territory controlled by pro-Russian insurgents, the rift between Russia and Ukraine has become an international conflict. Citizens of the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, Britain, Belgium and other countries have been killed in a war that many people in the West might have thought had little to do with them.

We do not know who pulled the trigger, but we know that the armed rebels operating in the east of Ukraine have always had the vocal support of high-ranking Kremlin officials. Since late February, when Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, fled Kiev, Russia’s official media has been bending over backward to present the new Ukrainian government as a fascist junta manipulated by the West while the Kremlin pursues its twin goals — keeping NATO and Western economic influence in check.

The virulent, anti-American, anti-Western rhetoric emanating from the Kremlin has been one of the main drivers of Moscow’s support for the Ukrainian conflict. This antipathy has its roots in the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the dashed hopes and disillusion that fueled an unprincipled scramble for wealth and power in the anarchy that followed. [Continue reading…]

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