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ABSTRACT. Twenty-five years ago Russia was a mess. Yet, even shorn of nearly one-fourth of the Soviet Union’s post-1945 territory, Russia is back now: a bully to former Soviet Republics and allies, and a challenge to the United States and its European partner. As Russians visibly long for their imperial past, the vexing question is how to impress upon their government the limits of a self-image which the Russian state can no longer sustain and which the West need not tolerate any more. In Georgia first, and in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine next, Putin started something, but what? “Patience, patience,” advised George Kennan after the breakup of the Soviet Union: but for how long and how far? Strategic patience, too, faces a critical point beyond which it breaks. Is there a need to tell now, and if so how? In short, Russia is not a European country like any other. It is too big, too close, and too nuclear to be provoked; but it is also too demanding, too resentful, and too threatening to be indulged. pp. 52–61

Keywords: Russia; United States; war; crisis; history

How to cite: Serfaty, Simon (2015), "Don't Let Russia Be Russia: Neither Provoke Nor Indulge," Geopolitics, History, and International Relations 7(1): 52–61.

SIMON SERFATY
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Old Dominion University, Norfolk

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