The Cold War is over: Why can't the west accept it?

Four decades ago, Mary Dejevsky spent a year as an exchange student in the Soviet Union. On her return this year, she found much had changed for the better and wonders why western narratives about Russia are still stuck in the past

Tuesday 06 November 2018 18:32
Vladimir Putin is not ‘out to get us’ as so many would believe
Vladimir Putin is not ‘out to get us’ as so many would believe

ure as night follows day, every new presumed Russian atrocity – the Skripal poisoning, for instance – brings the hoary old accusation in its wake. Russia is on a fast track back to the Cold War Soviet Union, or indeed – woe is us – is already there. The claim comes with various adornments: today’s Russia is a totalitarian dictatorship; Vladimir Putin is a latter-day Stalin. Russia’s double objective, so it goes on, is to oppress its own people and divide and conquer the west in the shape of Nato or the European Union.

Today’s more discerning cold warriors accept that the present ice age is different in many respects from the old. But they still insist that the confrontation of two blocs representing diametrically opposed values systems (open vs closed, altruistic vs selfish, defensive vs aggressive, free vs enslaved, good vs bad) is in essence the same. A bear may smile and wave its paws in the air, but it is still a bear.

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