20 years under Putin: a timeline

In this week’s media highlights, Edward Lucas discusses in The Daily Beast the possibility of the World War III between Russia and the West, arguing that Putin is a bully, but he is not insane. In Quartz, Nina Khrushcheva focuses on the existential reasons behind the escalation of the Russia-Turkey conflict—a historical conflict between the Byzantines and Ottomans. Also, Masha Gessen writes in The New Yorker about Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center in Yekaterinburg.


The RDS-1, first nuclear bomb designed in the Soviet Union (the U.S. code-name "Joe-1"). Photo: TASS.


No, We’re Not Facing World War III

Edward Lucas, The Daily Beast

Lucas counters those who claim that Russia and the West are on the brink of World War III. The West can avoid such a conflict if it does not submit to the fear of confrontation and capitalizes on Russia’s dependence on Western financial markets, says Lucas.


Vladimir Putin Fancies Himself a Tsar Standing up to Turkey’s Would-be Sultan

Nina Khrushcheva, Quartz

Krushcheva argues that Russia’s conflict with Turkey and its involvement in Syria can be explained by Putin’s vision of unification of the pan-Slavic world. Channeling Russian rulers such as Vladimir the Great or Catherine the Great, Putin also seeks to defend Orthodox Christian territories such as Antioch, which is located in southern Turkey.


The Big Green Tent and the Subversive Power of Books

Leonid Bershidsky, The Atlantic

In his review of Ludmila Ulitskaya’s novel The Big Green Tent, Bershidsky praises Ulitskaya’s honest storytelling that sheds light on the Moscow intelligentsia during the latter half of the 20th century. Her work also features believable female characters, like the passively resistant Soviet woman, not often found in Russian literature.


Boris Yeltsin Quietly Challenges Putin

Masha Gessen, The New Yorker

Though the recently opened Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center in Yekaterinburg is soft in its criticism of certain historical events, the narrative that the center puts forth differs from Putin’s. For example, according to the center, the collapse of the Soviet Union was not a “major geopolitical disaster of the century.” Could the Yeltsin Center help Russians remember and rekindle the democratic mood of the 1990s?