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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.
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.