Most probably, the problem comes down to a wrong perception of the nature of national pride. One of Putin's favorite phrases is that Russia must become a strong state. Another is that "the weak are always beaten."
In his view, apology is a sign of weakness. The Soviet Union was a strong state, and it never apologized for what it did. And for that reason, like his predecessors, Putin has offered no apologies to the foreign victims of Stalin's crimes.
The president sees his political mission as restoring Russia's status as a superpower. And the model of greatness he is using seems to be the Soviet Union, whose collapse he has famously described as "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century.
If the country continues in that mindset, the new Russia could suffer the same fate as the Soviet Union It will induce not respect but merely fear. And eventually will suffer inevitable collapse.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
When strength is weakness
At Transitions Online, St Petersburg Times staff writer Galina Stolyarova wonders why, when other countries can confront the legacies of their homicidal dictators, Russia apparently finds it almost impossible: