Why Russia plays by its own rules
By Edward Lucas
Rules don't apply to Russia. But Russia applies rules to other people. That, put crudely, is the Kremlin's outlook on life, exemplified by the latest bombshell from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). In a sense, it's no surprise.
Russia has, since 1991, been at the center of an investigation into fraud involving IMF money, defaulted on its debt, flouted international human rights law in its wars in Chechnya, launched a cyberattack on Estonia, provoked a war in Georgia, annexed Crimea, and brazenly lied over the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine in 2014.
WADA's report adds weight to its exposé this summer of Russian doping, which resulted inOlympic bans on scores of Russian athletes. The new material, announced Friday, highlights the sheer scale of the operation, claiming that it was authorized and implemented at the highest level.
But it leaves unanswered the biggest and thorniest question: Why does Russia so flagrantly flout international laws, rules and conventions?
Making generalizations about national character is risky (and these days smacks of political incorrectness). But serious scholars of Russian affairs have long wrestled with this problem. One of the most notable was a State Department official called Raymond F. Smith, whose Cold War classic "Negotiating with the Soviets" is still much pored-over by business executives wanting insights into their Russian counterparts' mindset.
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