Letter: Ravaged Russia

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Professor Norman Stone ("Can Russia survive...?", 18 August) appears to delight in running down Turkey's neighbours since he went to work in Turkey.

Yes, the poor Russians, so unfortunate that they have followed the nostrums of shallow Reaganites like Professor Stone and landed in this awful mess.

A society is a human ecosystem, and even if it was inefficient and its prospects of further progress were limited, the socialist society in the Soviet Union had developed an intricate network of connections which worked quite well, and might have gradually been altered.

Instead, the West sold them a pup - tear out all your roots and start again. If you plough up the soil of an established forest, then for many years the plants that will thrive will be the weeds. And we see this in Russia - the Mafia and the profiteers and the religious superstitions take root first, because it takes a long time for weedkillers like law and order to be developed, and for a new set of balanced societal connections to grow.