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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Should Russia Break Up


The title of this essay can be read in two ways. Should Russia break up, because such a course is preferable to the present halfway house? And what should the world do, if Russia breaks up, irrespective of the desirability of this course of events? Two distinct aspects are involved. One deals with Russia itself. What are the deep causes of present difficulties, and how likely is the Russian Federation to overcome them? Would independent successor states be in any better position to cope with them? The other aspect is international. How calamitous would a further stage in the break-up of the Soviet empire be, compared to the previous stages? How strongly should the international community persevere in upholding the status quo, even against overwhelming odds? Both aspects need serious discussion.

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