I have noticed there's been much hysterical demonization of Russia by
ignorant Americans who have swallowed the usual propaganda in the US media--
a Hollywood story of the American 'good guys' vs the Russian 'bad guys'.
Stephen Cohen, an American scholar of Russia, strongly disputes US media narratives.
_Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War_
by Stephen F Cohen (2011 Columbia University Press)
"The real U.S.policy was different--a *relentless, winner-take-all exploitation*
of Russia's post-1991 weakness. Accompanied by *broken American promises*,
condescending lectures, and *demands for unilateral concessions*, it was,
and remains, disregarding official rhetoric, *even more aggressive and
uncompromising* than was Washington's approach to Soviet Communist Russia."
--Stephen Cohen (p. 168)
"A growing military encirclement of Russia, on and near its borders, by U.S.
and NATO bases,...it was the eastward expansion of the NATO military
alliance beginning in the 1990s, that ...threatened (Russia)" (p. 168)
The US government had promised Russia that it would *not* expand
NATO eastward (beyond incorporating the GDR, East Germany, into NATO).
Then the US government blithely violated its promise. While few Americans
seem to believe there's anything wrong with this, most Russians feel differently.
"A tacit (and closely related) U.S. denial that Russia has *any legitimate
security concerns* outside its own territory, even in ethnically akin or
contiguous former Soviet republics such as Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia.
... (Richard) Holbrooke declared that faraway Slav nation (Ukraine)
part of 'our (US) core zone of security." (p. 169)
So the US government unilaterally declares that Ukraine is part of the
US 'core zone of security' while denying that Russia has any legitimate
security concerns there. How would Americans respond if Putin were
to declare that Mexico is part of Russia's 'core zone of security' while
denying that the USA has any legitimate security concerns there?
"Even more, a presumption that Russia does not have full sovereignty
within its own borders, as expressed by constant U.S. interventions in
Moscow's internal affairs since 1992." (p. 169)
"Underpinning these components of the real U.S. policy have been familiar
Cold War double standards condemning Moscow for doing what Washington
does--such as seeking allies and military bases in former Soviet republics..." (p. 170)
"When in the 1990s *the U.S.-supported Yeltsin overthrew Russia's
elected parliament and constitutional order by force*, gave its national
wealth and television networks to Kremlin insiders, *imposed a constitution
without any real constraints on executive power and began to rig elections,
it was 'democratic reform'.* When Putin continued this process, it was 'authoritarianism'." (p. 170)
Boris Yeltsin's 'leadership' was a disaster for the Russian people, which
may explain why he's so admired by 'conservative' and 'liberal' Americans.
"Finally, the United States has been attempting, by exploiting Russia's
weakness, to acquire the nuclear superiority it could not achieve during the Soviet era." (p. 170)
The USA's extreme dishonesty and hypocrisy and its ruthless pursuit
of imperialist exploitation should *not* surprise anyone who has studied
enough of US history. The triumphalist Americans have sought to treat
Russia almost as though it had unconditionally surrendered to the USA,
While most Russians are realistic enough to know that Russia's weaker
than the USSR and much weaker than the USA, there's still a popular
attitude of defiance toward US demands. One Russian once told me,
"After the Americans have invaded and conquered us and extinguished
every spark of resistance--which Hitler never could do--then and only
then may they act like they are our absolute masters. But not until then."
To be realistic, I don't see how the vast gulf between American perceptions
and Russian perceptions of history can be bridged any time soon, if at all.
And I foresee continuing conflict between the USA and Russia.