Phantom pains: the West is scared of the Soviet Union

Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to revive the USSR and renew the Cold War. This was stated not by the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Senator John McCain, or any other U.S. official or politician for that matter.  

The British newspaper The Financial Times published an article by an expert of the Moscow Carnegie Center Lilia Shevtsova about the integration of the former Soviet Union.

According to the author, the attempts to recreate the Soviet Union are beyond doubt. However, they will fail. First of all, the countries included in the Customs Union (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) have different views on the future role of interstate structure to be established by 2015. Moscow and Minsk allegedly give priority to the development of political institutions, while Astana prefers to manage economic integration.    

Lilia Shevtsova believes that it was Moscow that prevented Kiev from signing an association agreement with the EU. The Carnegie Center expert believes that there are historical justifications to it. She believes that Russian Eurasianism has always been hostile to Europe and the West. She noted that today the Russian elites see the Eurasian idea as an excuse to recreate Soviet universe under the auspices of Russia, albeit in an abbreviated format and without the Communist doctrine.

She calculated the cost of these initiatives - 7-12 billion annually to Belarus. This is quite a range, isn't it? The numbers for Ukraine are more accurate, simply because the sum of the Russian loan to this country is public knowledge ($15 billion), as well as the discounts for gas. The author noted that the Russian budget was limited.

In addition, Lilia Shevtsova believes that nationalist sentiment is strong in Ukraine and Belarus. She is hopeful that Russians may get sick of paying for the imperial complexes of their elites.

Shevtsova concluded that the Eurasian project was a mirage of post-Soviet archipelago where authoritarian leaders used each other to stay in power longer. This will continue for some time, but soon there will be the end to Putin's imperial ambitions.

She wrote about the integration mantra in her article. Yet, so far the predictions of the imminent collapse of the integration processes in the post-Soviet space look more like a mantra.
The CEO of the Center for Political Information Alexei Mukhin believes that the Moscow Carnegie Center expert voiced the phantom pains of the West.

"Unfortunately, many representatives of the Western expert community do not want to hear the message periodically articulated by Vladimir Putin. He is saying essentially the same thing they are saying - it is impossible to recreate the Soviet Union. And the Russian leadership does not have this goal," he told

Alexei Mukhin said that "the Russian government initiated the recovery and creation of new mechanisms of interaction in the former Soviet Union in order to modernize primarily economic infrastructure that can work effectively only if it is connected to different republics of the former USSR." According to him there is no such thing as recreating the USSR.

"The concerns of Western politicians and experts are understandable because the reconstruction of the Soviet Union would have meant not only the review of the results of the Cold War, but could have been interpreted as a victory of the USSR in the Cold War. If they want to consolidate the victory of the West over the Soviet ideology, there is no need to do it. This victory has already taken place and belongs to history, it happened 20 years ago," said the analyst.

"Reinvigoration of old ideological dogmas and paradigms, something that the Russian leadership is being accused of, is precisely what Western experts are doing, habitually attributing their sins to the opponent. This is also understandable. The principle "it's you who is an idiot" works at the simplest level of political perception," said Alexey Mukhin.

Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey