How Did We Get Russia So Wrong?


How Did We Get Russia So Wrong?

America's Russia policy since the end of the Cold War has assumed too much ability to radically transform Russian politics, economy, and society.

As a self-described realist, I believe supporting Ukraine to contest the Russian invasion is absolutely the right policy. But from the outset, and to this day, I do not see either side having the will or capability to defeat the other on terms that Kyiv or Moscow would consider a victory. There will have to be negotiations in which each side will need to make concessions, and the sooner, the better that this senseless destruction stops before something truly terrible and devastating happens.

Finally, I completely agree with Graham that whatever happens, Russia will remain a great power, or perhaps more importantly, Russians will view Russia as a great power. Historically, Russia has shown tremendous resilience in enduring and recovering from far greater catastrophes than this. Those hoping for a collapse of the Russian state are very foolish indeed. As the historian Stephen Kotkin wrote more than twenty years ago in his classic Armageddon Averted, we were all lucky to survive the collapse of the Soviet Union. I do not advise pressing our luck.

About the Author

Andrew C. Kuchins is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the National Interest. Kuchins is an internationally acclaimed expert on the international relations of Russia, Central Asia, and Eurasia. Most recently, he served as the President of the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He was Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2007-2015) and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (2000-2003, 2006), where he also directed their Carnegie Moscow Center (2003-2005). He has held research and teaching positions at the University of California Berkeley, Stanford University, Georgetown University, and currently is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.