It’s far too early to take definitive stock of the outcome of the political and social processes triggered by the fall of the Soviet Union. Many Soviet republics are independent states whose political landscape is in flux. There’s no final word on their futures. In September, pro-Russian parties won out in Lithuanian elections. Meanwhile, Russia’s own situation is also fluid, as the many Levada Institute studies published in “east” continue to show. The substance of the relationship between Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitri Medvedev poised for a role reversal next year, remains uncertain, as we pointed out at length in our last issue.
But the longer Russian indecision reigns, the more likely the ambiguity will favor an increased role by Moscow. Whether Russia actually wants to return to vestiges of its Soviet past is an open question, but keeping an analytical eye open is an essential task. Our Dossierdoes just that, and includes reports from esteemed academic observers Fernando Orlandiand Piero Sinatti as well as a group of insightful reporters, among them Astridt Dakhli,Francesco Guarascio,Alessandra Garusi, Massimiliano Di Pasquale,Antonella Viciniand Stefano Grazioli. On the pressing issue of sovereign debt crises and the euro, we publish an opinion pieceby Thomas Klau,who heads the Paris office of European Council on Foreign Relations. Special thanks are due to Donato Speroni,who provides a fascinating update on global demographic trends,whose changes will influence the future of global leadership.