Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Who Lost Russia?
How the World Entered a New Cold War
When the Soviet Union collapsed on December 26, 1991, it looked like the start of a remarkable new era of peace and co-operation. Some even dared to declare the end of history, assuming all countries would converge on enlightenment values and liberal democracy.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Russia emerged from the 1990s battered and humiliated; the parallels with Weimar Germany are striking. Goaded on by a triumphalist West, a new Russia has emerged, with a large arsenal of upgraded weapons, conventional and nuclear, determined to reassert its national interests in the 'near abroad' - Chechnya, Georgia and Ukraine - as well as fighting a proxy war in the Middle East. Meanwhile, NATO is executing large-scale maneuvers and stockpiling weaponry close to Russia's border.
In this provocative new work, Peter Conradi argues that we have consistently failed to understand Russia and its motives and, in doing so, have made a powerful enemy.
In this balanced and timely work, Sunday Times foreign editor Conradi (The Great Survivors) charts the complex and turbulent course of U.S.-Russia relations since the collapse of the U.S.S.R., and investigates how the end of the Cold War failed to result in either conciliation or superpower cooperation. Working from exclusive interviews with principal players and assorted other sources, Conradi details how occasional moments of tentative cooperation - arms control deals, post-9/11 collaboration, the Iran nuclear deal - have masked a relationship fraught with tension, fundamentallydifferent perspectives, and mutual misunderstandings. Russia's primary sources of concern include NATO's "relentless march eastward," the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, perceived American political malfeasance in former Soviet territories, and Washington's insistence on a U.S.-centered unipolar world order that ignores Russia's desire to be treated respectfully and "as an equal." Such factors, Conradi argues, contributed to Russia's "sense of humiliation and encirclement." The U.S. has taken issue with Russian President Putin's growing domestic authoritarianism and "newfound assertiveness" abroad: intervention in Georgia, support for separatists in Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea, and a role in the Syrian Civil War. Conradi blends these developments into a smooth narrative that provides welcome context for Russia's recent revanchist behavior and insight into prospects for ongoing U.S.-Russian relations. "
Peter Conradi is the Foreign Editor of the Sunday Times. A fluent Russian speaker, Conradi witnessed the collapse of the USSR first-hand during his six years as foreign correspondent in Moscow. The author of Hitler's Piano Player, he is also co-author with Mark Logue of the best-selling book The King's Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy, which inspired the Oscar-winning film of the same name.