Will Russian Nationalism Ultimately Strangle Russian Imperialism?
Russia is undoubtedly a former empire. The most important question today is whether it remains a post-imperium or becomes a neo-imperium. The post-imperial states, like Turkey, France, or Great Britain, gradually give up their imperial aspirations, although they retain the memory of their past for a long time and occasionally turn to old rhetoric. Neo-imperial states, on the other hand, return to imperial ideology and renew their imperial power structures, threatening not only their former territories but also further neighbors. The process of empire decay can be very long and painful.
Turkey committed the Armenian genocide in a post-imperial spasm, France had a terrorist organization defending its imperial status, and Britain was still waging war in the 1980s to defend the remnants of its overseas possessions. All of these countries ultimately gave up their imperial legacy, although they still play a significant role in world politics. Former empires can also return to their previous form after a period of weakness and disintegration. The best example of this is Tsarist Russia, which reemerged as a Soviet empire after several years of decline. But what is happening to contemporary Russia? Are we witnessing its transition to a post-imperial phase, or perhaps the beginning of another revival of a dangerous empire?
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September 11, 2022