Over the past decade, [a] narrative of defeat and humiliation has become a stalwart of Vladimir Putin’s ideology of resurgence, notes Arkady Ostrovsky, the Russia and Eastern Europe editor at The Economist, and the author of “The Invention of Russia: From Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War.” If America won the Cold War, it must be responsible for the Soviet breakup and the impoverishment of millions of Russians. And if Russia was defeated, it could only be expected to one day seek revenge, he writes for The New York Times:
This narrative has become extremely popular in Russia. Anti-Americanism offers Russians a familiar outlet for their frustration and sense of impotence in the face of their own corrupt and oppressive regime. It gives Mr. Putin an ideological cover for his kleptocratic system of governance led by current and former security servicemen. To sustain this narrative, the Kremlin’s state-controlled media has excelled at reconstructing the centuries-old image of Russia as a besieged fortress.