Many pundits are opining that Russia's invasion of Georgia is a throwback its stately antecedent, the Soviet Union. Its new-found aggression is a result of its imperial ambition and desire to subsume its former satellite states. Or such is the talk. The customary allusion is made to Vladmir Putin having been a KGB operative who at various points was involved in repressing political dissent in the Soviet Union or doing cloak and dagger stuff in Europe. All of which is factually correct and all of which, I argue, is beside the point.
Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev is a business man. Not political apparatchik. And Putin, for all of his snooping around Eastern Europe in the 1980s for the KGB, demonstrated, during his presidency, that ideology matters little to his policies. Although the language that we hear from the likes of Medvedev, Putin and Lavrov and the theatrics we have witnessed at the United Nations Security Council are earily reminiscent of a bygone era, their policies share little with those fashioned by the likes of Krushchev or Brezhnev.
I argue that what we are now seeing is not so much a Russian regression to communism but rather Russia's progression to a mercantile market state. And in so doing, its evolution to a market state is occurring much faster (and started much earlier) than any other market state. And to its strategic advantage.
First a literary excursion to explain some of the concepts raised in the last paragraph.