It was under Clinton that the Harvard Institute for International Development let professor Jeffrey Sachs propose the economic “shock therapy” for Russia. This directly lead to hyperinflation and the give away of major industries to the lucky few who became Russia’s oligarchs. This was a f**k up on a historical scale. This chaos became associated with Westernization leading to the rise of strong man Putin to restore stability:
in 1991 there was a sense among many Russians that the USSR was not so much defeated as it folded under its own weight. Too many refused to accept that the Soviet collapse was the outcome of years of economic mismanagement and imperial hubris – and so they looked for traitors instead
Ukraine has punctured a big, gaping hole in the narrative of Russia’s ‘greatness’. Russia is poor, corrupt and authoritarian, and now we also know that it is weak and pathetic. Russia’s ‘greatness’ has crumbled in an orgy of murder and rape inflicted by brutal occupiers in Ukraine. Tainted by the blood of the innocents, and beaten in honest combat, the bully has been reduced to size. It’s about time. Thank you, Ukraine, for serving this bitter medicine. Russia needed it badly.
Russia needs proper humiliation. It needs a humble recognition of its diminished status, an acceptance of guilt, and a slow, painstaking effort to rebuild the trust of those it has wronged. Russia did not learn this lesson in the 1990s. It must learn it now.