It’s safe to say, however, that 2015 will be worse. President Vladimir Putin’s regime is on the verge of transitioning from mild authoritarianism to outright dictatorship. The country’s newly amended military doctrine is an especially ominous sign. Judging by it, the Kremlin’s response to the ongoing economic crisis will be to crack down on all signs of popular discontent. The Kremlin seems determined to turn inward and complete its break with the Western world.
Russia’s wariness of the West is nothing new. The 2010 edition of the country’s military doctrine — issued under “liberal” President Dmitri Medvedev — listed as the top external threat the eastward expansion of NATO toward Russia’s borders. Putin’s new, post-Crimea version reiterates the vision of NATO as the arch-enemy creeping up on Russia.