This month sees the launch of Black Wind, White Snow by Charles Clover, former Moscow FT Bureau chief. Bijan Omrani, Editor of the Asian Affairs Journal, attended a speech by Clover this week at Pushkin House in London to mark the book’s release.
What reasons can be given for Vladimir Putin’s belligerence? How is it that he has chosen to steer Russia away from liberalism back towards authoritarian rule? A reasonable observer might rightly conclude that his decisions are driven by little more than short-term self-interest. Yet, this has not stopped Putin from attempting to present his policies as guided by a profounder philosophy. His irredentism, so he would own, is not drawn from the petty-minded desire of an ex-KGB man to restore the broken dream of the Soviet Union. His vision, he would say, is grander, timeless, almost mystical; of Russia, as he said in a speech in 2013, as a “civilizational state” responsible for the preservation of the peoples of “Eurasia”.