As pointed out by Dr. Vlad Sobell (DAIWA Institute of Research, London), the world leading expert on post-Communist transition in Eastern Europe and Russia, once vibrant Western liberal ideology is showing troubling signs of transformation into a rigid, dysfunctional orthodoxy. In his new masterpiece, “Western treatment of Russia signifies an erosion of reason,” Sobell argues that nowhere is this degradation seen as clearly as in the interpretation, by the apologists of liberal orthodoxy, of complex processes taking place in Russia.
As the treatment of the death of Alexander Litvinenko has recently demonstrated, the West is loosing its tradition of a rational, skeptical, and based upon facts thinking. The current fashion is that no matter what Russia does or does not do, it is being called “evil empire,” and its president can even be accused in murder without any proof of his guilt.
Sobell is concerned that if this trend is allowed to continue, the consequences could be dear:
“Inasmuch as the West indulges in fantasies about a resurgent, evil Russian hegemon, it will be sinking in the morass of superstitious-based political theory, not dissimilar to that of totalitarianism … The irony is that most of the resulting damage would be inflicted not on Russia, but mainly on the West itself.”
In the core of the Western approach toward Russia lies a belief that liberal democracy cannot be born out of the totalitarian system, i.e. without being implanted from outside. Instead, the liberal orthodoxy (“The Theory”) postulates that democracy should be “spread” as a special gift of the Western (read: Anglo-Saxon) civilization.
The very fact that President Putin has rejected Western “help” in building democracy in Russia is a sure sign — in the eyes of the West – of him being an irreconcilable “autocrat.” In contrast, his servile predecessor Yeltsin is earning the high mark of a “true democrat.”
One could add to Sobell’s analysis that uncovering “crimes” of the Putin regime has become, over the past couple of years, a virtual cottage industry, creating a seemingly inexhaustible source of yellow journalism in the guise of academic research. The more the merrier: two Hollywood companies are competing to film movies about Litvinenko’s death.
And why not: Russia “the evil empire” sells.