A bimonthly magazine on international affairs, edited in Germany's capital

East to West and Back

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In the past 25 years, Russia has gone from being the defining member of the Eastern bloc to a European integration project, only to shift east once again – this time toward China. In which camp will it end up?

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© REUTERS/RIA Novosti

During the Cold War, global confrontation was often described as a conflict between the East and the West, a geographical division that quickly acquired political and ideological dimensions. Despite being a worldwide rivalry, this distinction referred to Europe alone: it was there that the political East within Moscow’s orbit clashed with the democratic West. A dividing line was drawn across the Old World, with vast military buildup on both sides.

Mikhail Gorbachev’s “new political thinking” seemed to erase that line, dramatically signified by the fall of the Berlin Wall. But 25 years later there is serious talk about a new wall, this time between Russia and Ukraine, to partition Donbass and divide Europe anew – between a greatly expanded West and a new East, which has retreated to the Central Russian Upland.

Is history really repeating itself, though?

Read the complete article in the Berlin Policy Journal App – July/August 2015 issue.

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