By on Feb 15, 2013 with Comments 1
IF AMERICA did not exist, Russia would have to invent it. In a sense it already has: first as a dream, then as a nightmare. No other country looms so large in the Russian psyche. To Kremlin ideologists, the very concept of Russia’s sovereignty depends on being free of America’s influence.Anti-Americanism has long been a staple of Vladimir Putin, but it has undergone an important shift. Gone are the days when the Kremlin craved recognition and lashed out at the West for not recognising Russia as one of its own. Now it neither pretends nor aspires to be like the West. Instead, it wants to exorcise all traces of American influence.Four years after the American “reset”, the relationship is being “reformatted” to rid dependence on America, says Alexei Pushkov, the pugnacious chairman of the Russian parliament’s foreign-relations committee. The Russians have shut off all co-operation that uses American money, including on health care, civil society, fighting human trafficking and drugs, and dismantling unconventional weapons.All this, according to Mr Pushkov, ends an era when Russia looked to the West as a model….
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