• Alexander Konkov is the director of Rethinking Russia, an independent Moscow-based think tank (Photo: Rethinking Russia)
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    Russia is not the USSR in disguise

    This week marks the anniversary of the reactionary coup attempted against Soviet President Gorbachev in 1991. Alexander Konkov, director of the Moscow-based think tank Rethinking Russia, reflects on how the Soviet past still influences perceptions of Russia in the West today.

    Over the past 25 years, the attitude towards the putsch in Russia has changed, says Konkov. For the people it is at the same time a milestone that separates and simultaneously links the Soviet period and the contemporary history of Russia. A majority still assesses the outcome of the putsch in an unfavourable light.

    The strategic goals of modern Russia stand alone, independent of the heritage of the Soviet Union. According to Alexander Konkov, the Russian Federation is building its policy in the world on the basis of its national interests, formulated in a very pragmatic and predictable manner. Thus, Russia’s core interests are strengthening sovereignty and state integrity, improving the quality of life of its citizens and the competitiveness of its economy, and maintaining strategic stability in the world. The director of Rethinking Russia explains, that Russia's strategic priorities in relations with Europe include the formation of a common economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific. He argues that therefore the idea of a Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok is not as far-fetched as some may believe.

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