And Russia is drawing upon the power and influence it derives from its energy resources to pursue a neo-czarist policy in Europe and in the outlying regions of the old Russian Empire.
If you have no idea what this means, you’re not the only one. What can it mean to say that Russia is pursuing a “neo-czarist policy in Europe” and “the outlying regions of the old Russian Empire”? Wouldn’t that policy need to have more than a passing resemblance to past tsarist policies? Is Russia intervening militarily in the Balkans? Is it suppressing Polish rebellion? Is it trying to seize Constantinople by force? Is it annexing Georgia, or deposing the local governments in Central Asia and annexing those territories? Obviously not. In what sense can we say that Russia’s policy towards Europe and these outlying regions is “neo-czarist”? This is only slightly less ridiculous than pretending that Russia is pursuing “neo-Soviet” policies. As Dmitri Trenin has said on several occasions, post-Soviet Russia has shown a “remarkable disinterest in its former empire” and the Russian Empire is “over, never to return.” For whatever reason, Westerners are far more interested in Russian imperialism than Russian policymakers are.
P.S. It is a minor problem, but it also irks me whenever I see someone refer to the Caucasus as “the Caucuses.” Zakheim does this twice in the same article.