Country Reports

Russians agree that this is a period of transformation, but there are differences regarding the nature of the changes. Essentially, three schools of thought can be discerned in recent articles. The variables differentiating them are not always fully apparent, but we can assume that three matter most: 1) attitudes toward the authoritarian and censorship drift inside Russia, as Putin has the Constitution amended to allow himself two more terms as president; 2) attitudes on the US and the West, whether regarding economics, politics, or civilizations; and 3) attitudes toward China and Sino-Russian relations at a time of economic slowdown and human rights violations on an unprecedented scale since the 1970s. Into the mix the COVID-19 pandemic is lately impacting perceptions along with its economic reverberations and the collapse in oil prices. We begin below with the least visible school, the advocates of an abrupt change of course. We turn next to the most prevalent school, insistent that Russia’s time has come as one of three great powers able to exert power quite autonomously of China. Finally, we focus on a lively school calling from doubling down on Sino-Russian relations in pursuit of an alliance.

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