After the end of the Soviet Union, both the pro-Western Russian elite and the vast majority of the population had the hope of becoming part of the Western community, or rather, of becoming once again part of Europe after having travelled a different path since the October Revolution. It was thought that Russia would naturally follow this route.
But after all the political toing-and-froing of the 1990s, it became clear during Putin’s second term that this course was not to be taken for granted. Europe did not want Russia. Nor did Russia want to bind itself to modern Europe and its values. Both were mutually disappointed because they had a false image of each other, and false expectations of each other.
Europe, as well as the West in general, was convinced that with victory in the Cold War the “end of history” had arrived and that the rest of the world, including Russia, would follow the Western model.
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