Norman Davies on Russian Expansionism

Ukrainian tanks are transported from their base in Perevalnoe, outside Simferopol, Crimea, Wednesday, March 26, 2014. Ukraine has started withdrawing its troops and weapons from Crimea, now controlled by Russia. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Russian expansionism, summarised by Norman Davies:

“Russian historians have rationalized their country’s expansion in terms of ‘national tasks’ and ‘the gathering of the lands’. In reality, Russia and its rulers were addicted to territorial conquest. Their land-hunger was the symptom of a pathological condition born of gross inefficiency and traditional militarism. It is highly ironic that the world’s largest country needed an ever-growing supply of land and people to offset its sense of insecurity, to execute operations which others achieved with far smaller resources, and to reward the overblown machine which guarded the Romanovs’ throne. Here, if ever, was an extreme case of bulimia politica, of the so-called ‘canine hunger’, of gross territorial obesity in an organism which could only survive by consuming more and more of its neighbours’ flesh and blood.”

from “Europe: A History” by Norman Davies

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