Ukrainian army helicopter during a combat mission in in the Donetsk region (Credit: palinchak/Bigstock)
Ukrainian army helicopter during a combat mission in in the Donetsk region (Credit: palinchak/Bigstock) (via: bit.ly)

On the one side, the institutions that had maintained the Soviet bloc were dismantled, whereas on the other side, the Atlantic security system was maintained and in the end, enlarged to encompass much of the territory of its former adversary. The European post-Cold War order assumed monist forms. Instead of the geopolitical and ideological diversity sought by Mikhail Gorbachev as he brought the Cold War to an end in the late 1980s, a type of monist cold peace was imposed in which Atlantic security institutions and ideas were consolidated.

The monism was both institutional and ideational, and the two reinforced each other in a hermetic order that sought to insulate itself from critique and transformation. Russia was excluded as anything but subaltern. The post-Cold War European peace order was thus built on weak foundations, provoking a cycle of mimetic rivalry. In Russia, the fateful dialectic of external challenge and domestic stultification once again operated, heightening the Kremlin’s threat perceptions. Russia’s relations with the European Union (EU) and Washington veered between the cooperative and the confrontational, until settling into a conflictual mode in 2014.

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Richard Sakwa

Professor, University of Kent in Canterbury, GB

Richard Sakwa is Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent at Canterbury and an Associate Fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House. After graduating in History from the London School of Economics, he took a PhD from the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Birmingham. He held lectureships at the Universities of Essex and California, Santa Cruz, before joining the University of Kent in 1987. Professor Sakwa has published widely on Soviet, Russian and post-communist affairs. Books include Communism in Russia: An Interpretative Essay, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2010 (with a Russian version published by Rosspen in 2011), The Crisis of Russian Democracy: The Dual State, Factionalism and the Medvedev Succession (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Putin and the Oligarch: The Khodorkovsky - Yukos Affair (London and New York, I. B. Tauris, 2014) and Putin Redux: Power and Contradiction in Contemporary Russia (London and New York, Routledge, 2014). His latest book is Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands, an extended paperback version of which was published by I. B. Tauris in 2016. He is currently working on Russia against the Rest: Problematising the New Cold War (contracted for Cambridge University Press).