241 Russia and the West
Russia covers one eighth of the world's land surface (the USSR used to cover approximately one sixth) and covers 9
time zones (it used to be 11 time zones until March 2010). Its
borders touch the
in the West and East, and China and the Central Asian states to the
South and East. These borders bring it into contact with more
countries in the world than any other state. However, since Peter
the Great, Russia's biggest strategic problem and cultural quandry
has been the West, by which I mean Europe and North America.
What is Russia's relationship with Western countries? Should it
fear them or embrace them? Is Russia part of Europe or does its culture
reflect a mix of Asian and European influences. What do Russians
about Russia as a "Eurasian" state? These are the questions that
have nagged Russian intellectuals and confront Russian policymakers.
Where does Russia belong and what does that imply for Russia's