Russia’s Turn Away From The West Part Of More General Worldwide Trend – OpEd


Vladimir Putin’s drive to turn Russia away from the West is being debated in Russia with some arguing that it represents his personal choice and others than it is an inevitable result of Russian history and culture. Historian Sergey Medvedev argues that it is neither but rather is part of a tectonic shift in the world that is affecting more than Russia.

In a comment on his telegram channel, Medvedev says that it seems to him that “the 500-year-old paradigm of the spread of Western civilization and the associated phenomena of catch-up modernization are coming to an end” ( reposted at

Medvedev continues: “There is no longer a global civilization. That rested on Western military power which is collapse  before our eyes in the face of new challenges and identities and as a result the world is fragmenting into zones of technological and social progress and zones of archaism” which nonetheless have some of the features of those areas showing progress.

“In this post-Western and post-progressive world,” the historian argues, “Russia can survive as such a hybrid, remaining a raw material semi-periphery of the world system” while being “an authoritarian third world country with a traditional type of regime” but having cities that feature some of modernity.

It will remain linked to the world economy because of its export of natural resources and elite urban consumption, he continues; but it will not recognize the existence of “the problem of ‘the inclusion into world civilization.’” That challenge “no longer exists,” according to the Russian historian, because neither Russia nor many other countries accept it as a goal.

Viewed from this perspective, Medvedev argues, “Putin’s historical beak with the West which is supported by the population and approved by most of the outside world is not an accident but a pattern and perhaps also an attempt to bring together what is now a divided world in the future.”

In this respect, he concludes, Putin’s “Russia is like a giant piece of ice that has just broken off from Antarctica and is drifting into the unknown. God alone knows how long it will have to travel before it melts.”

2 thoughts on “Russia’s Turn Away From The West Part Of More General Worldwide Trend – OpEd

  • December 9, 2023 at 4:39 am

    I suspect part of the divergence of The West from the rest has been the evolving pseudo liberalism within western world. The overt celebration of LGBT lifestyles and the intolerance toward conservative pushback is seen as alien to the cultural and religious values in much of the non western world.

    The West has also become a melting pot of multi ethnic migration, exposing some very unpleasant divides that the rest are fearful to embrace.

    In short, western societies are being seen less and less as something to be admired and emulated.

  • December 9, 2023 at 5:28 pm

    The decline in the worldwide standing of liberal democracies relates to the headline of a recent article by former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

    “The U.S. Needs to Relearn How to Tell Its Story to the World.

    We’re losing the info war by default to Russia, China, Iran and other countries ruled by despots.

    Gordon Humphrey
    Former United States Senator
    gjhumphrey at comcast dot net


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