Russia in a Post-Bipolar World
Near the turn of the twenty-first century, one of the two poles of the system that had prevailed since the end of the Second World War destroyed itself. The Soviet communist project had become uncompetitive, leading to its failure. Soviet ideology had cornered itself. Derived from the Western Enlightenment tradition, its ideas of technological progress and the sat- isfaction of people’s physical needs were not new. But Soviet ideology vowed that faster progress would be achieved not by enhancing self-rule and respect for individual rights and private property, but by concentrating resources in the hands of the state, nationalising property and ensuring its fair distribution. This project proved economically unviable. In addition, the Soviet Union set for itself the ideological goal of spreading its system to as many countries as possible and, eventually, to the whole world. This ambi- tion wasted considerable resources and exacerbated economic problems.