In December 1988, the journalist Charles Krauthammer, born 1950 in New York and died in Atlanta in 2018, whose father came from the Ukrainian town of Bolekhiv in the foothills of the Carpathians, published an op-ed in The New Republic entitled "Thinking the Unthinkable: Beyond The Cold War".

Krauthammer wanted to think about what seemed unthinkable in 1988 - the world after the Cold War.

He wanted to open up a new perspective – shaped by a growing optimism in the late 1980s about the general geopolitical situation.

Exactly three years later, in December 1991, the unthinkable had happened: the last general secretary of the CPSU, Mikhail Gorbachev, signed his declaration of resignation, which sealed the end of the Soviet Union - with a ballpoint pen,

Krauthammer trained as a psychiatrist at Harvard and joined the US federal administration in 1978 under President Jimmy Carter as a specialist in psychiatric research.

In the early 1980s he turned to journalism, specializing in foreign affairs.

His theoretically sound plea for the doctrine of deterrence and his opposition to hasty nuclear disarmament brought him close to neoconservatism.

But Krauthammer also criticized the rearmament of anti-liberal forces in the name of anti-communism, as was common practice under Ronald Reagan.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Krauthammer advocated a middle ground: he urged the United States to continue to play an active role in world politics without falling into the trap of global ambition.

For today's reader, his commentary is also intriguing because Krauthammer attempted to identify tendencies that would concern the western community in a post-bloc era.

He identified three key trends: first, a new strategic environment;

second, climate change;

third, supranational structures.

And in this context he formulated the point that a possible victory in the Cold War should not be confused with its end.

The principle of the sphere of influence

Krauthammer envisioned what would happen to Russia if the Soviet Union ceased to exist: "If the Soviets continue down the path embarked upon by Gorbachev, it is likely that in the foreseeable future the USSR will transform itself into an authoritarian one-party state, not much more illiberal than most nineteenth-century monarchies.

The Soviet Union becomes Russia, a great power like any other, and the clash of ideologies becomes the well-known rivalry of great powers.”

Looking at the domestic political developments in Russia in the 1990s, Krauthammer's prognosis might be mistaken.

But since Putin came to power in 1999, his prediction has become more plausible.

In retrospect, the development of Russia since then appears as a succession of successive acts of power consolidation, both externally and internally: the military aggressions against Georgia and Ukraine, the recently issued ban on the human rights organization Memorial, the countless unsolved murders of journalists and finally the neutralization of domestic political ones Opposition.

Today's Russia is increasingly resembling an authoritarian one-party state.

Russian diplomacy is based on the principle of the sphere of influence, which has been confirmed by the recent calls for guarantees under international law that neither Ukraine nor Georgia will ever be allowed to become members of NATO.

For the Kremlin it is legitimate that neighboring countries can only exist in dependence on Russia.

As early as 2016, Putin joked: "Russia's borders don't end anywhere." This statement corresponds to an imperial logic that is perceived in the neighboring countries as a threat to their sovereignty.