Sunday, March 10, 2024

Russia’s Cargo Cult Approach to the West in 1990s Behind Kremlin Paranoia Now, ‘To Be Continued’ Portal Says

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 7 – Russia has a long history of blaming others for its problems, but the current obsessiveness in doing so has its roots in the 1990s when the Kremlin adopted a cargo cult approach to change coming from the West and then was disappointed that such a superficial adaption did not work, the To Be Continued portal argues.

            Many in the Russian elites assumed that if they copied the West in superficial ways, they would magically become as rich as Western democracies were, the portal continues; and when that did not happen, they decided that the West was engaged in a conspiracy against Russia (

            While these elites were prepared to copy the external formalities of Western organizations, they did not understand how things in the West really worked. Indeed, they assumed that Western elites were as unconstrained by institutions like law, parliaments, and public opinion.

            And when they discovered that Western leaders could not act as they did, Russian leaders increasingly assumed that the West was seeking to deceive them. Such attitudes not only precluded the kind of economic success Moscow assumed was its due but ensured that the West would not allow Russia to join “any club of civilized countries.”

            That rejection “drove the ruling class of the Russian Federation into a frenzy and manic searches for conspiracies.”  

            In general, the portal concludes, a fascination with such conspiracy thinking becomes especially powerful when individuals or entire countries “lack rational mechanisms to deal” with the crises such attitudes inevitably lead to. The real question now is this: “how long will this paranoid power mechanism continue until it begins to devour” those who practice it?


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