Russia's rich oil reserves are helping the country regain prominence. Under Vladimir Putin and his sucessor, Dmitry Medvedev, nationalism has grown as well.
Is it a return to Soviet-era systems and beliefs? Or has the nation moved into a different paradigm?
Author Steve LeVine says the country is stained by a "culture of death," from assassinations of state critics to possible Kremlin indifference in hostage crises- The Commonwealth Club of California
John B. Dunlop
John B. Dunlop is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
He is an expert on Russia's two wars in Chechnya, nationalism in the former Soviet Union, Russian cultural politics, and the politics of religion in Russia. His current research focuses on the conflict in Chechnya, Russian politics since 1985, Russia and the successor states of the former Soviet Union, Russian nationalism, and the politics of religion in Russia.
In 1995 and 1996, Dunlop was an official election observer for both the Russian parliamentary election and the first round of the Russian presidential election. In 1998, he served as an observer for the presidential elections in Azerbaijan.
His most recent publications include The Rise of Russia and the Fall of the Soviet Empire (Princeton University Press, 1995) as well as numerous articles and chapters in books regarding political, social, and cultural developments in the states of the former Soviet Union. Dunlop's book Russia Confronts Chechnya: Roots of a Separatist Conflict was published by Cambridge University Press in 1998.
Steve LeVine covers foreign affairs and energy for BusinessWeek. He is based in Washington, D.C.
Previously he was based in Central Asia and the Caucasus for 11 years -- starting two weeks after the Soviet collapse through 2003. He ran The Wall Street Journal bureau for the eight-nation region, and before that covered it for The New York Times.
Although Russia is not a major supplier of oil and natural gas to the United States, Steve Levine believes Russia wields significant political influence world-wide in terms of oil and gas supply -- especially in Europe.