After the Cold War, Russia didn’t develop into the democratic, capitalist country we had expected, but into a new Soviet Empire. Like no other, Krielaars explains exactly how Putin could evolve from a cynical, authoritarian president into a merciless czar. Meanwhile, the West pretended that nothing was wrong, believing they had nothing to fear from Russia.
Only when separatists shot down flight MH17 in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, we were roused from our illusions. We thought we now saw who Putin really was. Until he surprised us again with his invasion into democratic Ukraine. Putin claims to be defeating fascists in the country, which seamlessly corresponds to the image that the Russians have of themselves, because of the state-controlled media, who broadcast one war movie after another, about brotherhood, heroism, and the homeland. Instead of individual suffering, it’s the heroism of the collective that’s important in Russia. In that way, the state functions as a continuous system, whether it’s led by Stalin or by Putin. Krielaars also shows how Putin turned the western countries against each other with his energy politics, until the West was no longer a potential opponent.
In At War with Russia, Michel Krielaars describes in a clear and comprehensible way how the current situation has developed and how the relation between Russia and the West slowly shifted from supposed friends to enemies.