This book is a collection of polemical articles published mostly in 2011-2013 in the American Interest, Journal of Democracy, Current History, Diplomaatia, and Yezhednevny Zhurnal. Some of the articles were co-authored with David J. Kramer, the president of Freedom House.
The articles reflect on Russia’s current trajectory, its relations with the West, Western thinking about Russian civilization, modern authoritarianism and its Russian and Chinese incarnations, and the use of foreign policy for the preservation of authoritarian regimes. These reflections introduce a broader and more dramatic theme: crisis, as it is experienced by an obsolescent political and social system, and as it is experienced by a system in need of rejuvenation. In essence, these essays present the reader with a snapshot of the historical period in which we live.
The drama inherent in this period lies in the fact that the two predominant political and social models—authoritarianism and liberal democracy—are experiencing simultaneous crises.