Russia’s Revenge

TEL AVIV – Empires never fall quietly, and defeated great powers always develop revanchist aspirations. This was the case for Germany after World War I: a humiliating peace agreement and the offer of former German territories to the country’s weaker neighbors helped to lay the groundwork for the awful revisionist adventures of World War II. And it is the case for Russia today.

In 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Soviet Union’s collapse “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century.” So, under the pretext of protecting ethnic Russian minorities outside Russia’s borders, he is attempting to reverse it.

Ultimately, Putin seeks a return to the post-WWII order, with a new Yalta-style agreement enshrining Russia’s recovery of the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence. In his view, this approach is essential to “peaceful development.” Through its heroic victory over fascism – which the West seeks to diminish with its “historical revisionism” – Russia earned its place in the top echelon of the global power hierarchy.

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