Thursday, August 31, 2023

Moscow is Fighting a War Against Modernity and Russia’s Demise Won’t Lead to Anything Worse than the Situation Now, Etkind Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 29 – Vladimir Putin and his regime are fighting not only against Ukraine but against modernity itself, against a world that will turn away from a dependence on hydrocarbons to a self-renewing energy system, and the approaching end of the Russian Federation won’t lead to anything worse than what we have now, Aleksandr Etkind says

            Etkind, currently a professor of Russian studies at the European University Institute in Florence, made those arguments in Riga where he presented his new book, Russia Against Modernity (New York, 2023) (

            Russia and its elites are “opposed to modernity,” the scholar says, because that country “is completely dependent on the expert of its hydrocarbon raw materials. Any energy transition programs deprive the Russian Federation of its usual sources of income. This is the essence of this confrontation: everything else is its various consequences.”

            Etkind argues that “the desire of the West for Russia to remain united is a consequence of the inertia of the thinking of political scientists in the early 1990s. The collapse of the Soviet Union has not been properly investigated. But the future disintegration of the Russian Federation or its ‘de-federalization’ should be discussed now.”

            If that happens, then the West will be able to overcome its false assumption that “the collapse of empires … is necessarily accompanied by wars and cataclysms.” There will be conflicts and violence, but – and this is the most important thing – they will not lead to a situation as bad as the one the world faces now in Ukraine.

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