One unfortunate consequence of the obsession with "great power" status is that it leads Russians to neglect the internal conditions in their country.
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Today's Russians are disoriented: they do not quite know who they are and where they belong. They are not European: This is attested to by Russian citizens who, when asked. "Do you feel European?" by a majority of 56% to 12% respond "practically never." Since they are clearly not Asian either, they find themselves in a psychological limbo, isolated from the rest of the world and uncertain what model to adopt for themselves. They try to make up for this confusion with tough talk and tough actions. For this reason, it is incumbent on the Western powers patiently to convince Russians that they belong to the West and should adopt Western institutions and values: democracy, multi-party system, rule of law, freedom of speech and press, respect for private property. This will be a painful process, especially if the Russian government refuses to cooperate. But, in the long run, it is the only way to curb Russia's aggressiveness and integrate her into the global community.