This guest column examines the historical fate of Russia in its catastrophic confrontation with Ukraine and the West. The piece considers the negative self‐definitions of Russia that have arisen in the aftermath of the communist utopia and its virtual transformation into an anti‐world — a society whose purpose is to undermine and destroy. Emerging Russian cults of war, death, and apocalypticism are stressed, as are the paradoxes and inversions by which Russia, in attempting to become stronger, becomes weaker and indeed suicidal.

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