Resentment-rather than some rational calculation of national self-interest-is the major explanatory factor behind many of the steps that Russia has been taking in the international arena. This resentment is mostly characteristic of nations that once had, but have now lost, great-power status. As long as Russians believe that Putin’s strategy “works”-meaning that Russia is developing economically, and its stature in the world is increasing-they will not feel that their country needs real change. If Russia faces a serious, grand failure, and Russians conclude that Putin’s way of recapturing national greatness through challenging the West’s values and preferred vision of order did not yield positive results, they may begin to look for change.
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