Chapter 8 assesses difference in substantive outcomes between countries; this
is a potential ‘smoking gun’ in that it illustrates drivers and consequences
of competition and/or cooperation. Consistent with literature on dualization
(Emmenegger et al., 2012), it is contended that divisions among countries
can be linked to the interests of workers in the core, even if the means by
which divides have been instigated are indirect. Specifically, the advantage
of core countries within the Eurozone benefits national workforces to the
degree that strategies for European solidarity are weakly prioritized and
consequently unsuccessful. It is suggested that such partitions evoke
Marxist-Leninist theories of imperialism, though differences between
contemporary and historical contexts are stressed.
This chapter explores the reasons for the state of surprise, sketching them out from the starting point of the significant impact of the collapse of the USSR on Western understandings of Russia. It also explores the practical ramifications for the decline of Russia as a political priority on the wider political stage. The chapter outlines some of the problems of the current mainstream discussion of Russia, which is drowning in a discourse of speculation and rumour, 'Putinology' and historical analogies. Despite the dominance of transitological/regime question approach and the perceived eccentricity of Kremlinology, for many it has remained a truism of Russian political life that the final decisions are made behind the closed doors of the Kremlin. In fact, the collapse of the USSR has had serious ramifications for the study of Russia in the West, resulting in a major reassessment of Soviet studies, often bitter and acrimonious.