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Western countries are characterized by strong democracy and minimum corruption.

Russia lacks those.

Why Russia didn't embrace these Western principles?

I guess there was an effort during the rule of Peter the Great to make Russia more westernized. Why did that effort fall through?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by horsh, Tyler Durden, Mark C. Wallace, Vector, Rajib Jun 8 '14 at 4:39

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

The Western characteristics you list are not principles; these are the practical long-term results of the actual principles. You don't obtain strong democracy by saying "enough, this country would have now strong democracy, c'mon everybody". –  kubanczyk Jun 7 '14 at 13:44
-1, Vote to close: Why not ask why Central Africa didn't "embrace Western Culture and Principles". Czarist Russia, in spite of a Western facing aspect, was in many respects an oriental country in terms of its geography and population. No surprise that today, facing trouble in the West, Russia is again turning east. Also, no supporting evidence for the question's contention. –  user2590 Jun 7 '14 at 20:26

2 Answers 2

Good question.

Western European countries had the good fortune to be occupied by countries more democratic than themselves. For instance, most countries of southern and western Europe were occupied by Rome, the most democratic country of its time.

Later on, England enjoyed great rights established through the Magna Carta, which was derived from Anglo-Saxon rights going back to the time of Alfred the Great. France may have ultimately benefited from (more democratic) English and Flemish occupation during the 100 years War. Certainly, it became much more democratic in the late 18th century as a result of its "alliance" with the United States, which brought down the French monarchy (because of the cost of the war with England), and replaced it with something akin to the American Revolution.

Germany and Italy benefited from "Napoleonic" (post-French Revolution) occupation, which streamlined their territories (e.g. Confederation of the Rhine), and gave most of those territories a taste of (local) "self-rule.

Russia, on the other hand, had the misfortune to be occupied by LESS democratic countries. Kievan Rus was arguably as democratic as medieval Europe, until the arrival of the Mongols. Sweden was a more democratic country that could have been a positive influence on Russia, but was defeated at Poltava.

Russia briefly experienced all of the "bad" (and none of the good) of a Napoleonic occupation, and the brief occupation of part of the country by Hitler was just plain bad, which represented the worst (not best) of "Western culture and principles."

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I think many in Russia would believe Russia is more democratic than the western countries currently because the leadership is more popular. Also many would argue that the USSR was more democratic than today's Russia. –  Anixx Jun 8 '14 at 6:06
Sorry, -1. The theory is jst wrong: Rome was not democratic. 100 Years did not contribute to France. –  Felix Goldberg Jun 14 '14 at 10:32

LOL. Russia welcomes high HDI and high quality education. The research was also as big in the USSR, possibly surpassing the most West European countries.

Regarding corruption, I think Russia thinks the West has very high corruption, because they see how the West conducts wars and inceties revolutions for the interests of their companies. Currently Russia has also big corruption, but the corruption in the USSR was incomparably small in real numbers.

Peter the Great was not a democratic ruler, he was an absolutist. He strenghtened the serfdom in Russia and employed a lot of forced labor. He also put mostly Germans in the government whose share was graduately increasing till Nikolay II.

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I believe the reference to Peter the Great that the OP was making was to Peter the Great's affinity for Enlightenment principles even if he did not fully put them into practice. –  ihtkwot Jun 7 '14 at 20:21
@ihtkwot in any case it is difficult to see how the effort of Peter the Great failed. The system he instituted lasted for 300 years only to be replaced with Communist ideology(also borrowed from the West) by Lenin. Current rulers in many respect are inspired by Peter the Great. –  Anixx Jun 8 '14 at 5:59
Sorry, -1, this does not really answer the question. –  Felix Goldberg Jun 14 '14 at 10:32
@Felix Goldberg the question has wrong presumption, so it can only be answered by showing the presumption is wrong. –  Anixx Jun 14 '14 at 10:33
This is a set of opinions. Q&A that are just opinions opposed to opinions is not history, it is an argument. This is a gorilla wearing a hammer and sickle challenging a shark wearing a fancy spacesuit. –  Mark C. Wallace Jul 17 '14 at 22:08

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