serve as many narrow personal interestsrnas possible. It became ever)’ citizen’s taskrnto negotiate directly with the state for thernsmall perquisites that could make lifernbetter.rnA better apartment, a free vacation,rntickets to the opera, and access to specialrnstores became each person’s urgent concerns.rnFor what separated poverty fromrnluxury in Soviet Russia was neitherrnwealth nor talent, but the favor of thernstate. That favor could be purchased onlyrnby loyalty, and expressions of that loyaltyrnwere expected at every level of humanrnendeavor. In such a society, the possibilitiesrnfor corruption were endless. Thernmoral imperatives that go hand-in-handrnwith civic rcsponsibilit)’ in democratic socieHesrnsimply had no place or meaningrnin Russia after 1928.rnWhether looked at from the perspectivernof decades or centuries, such historicalrnexperiences are not the material fromrnwhich democratic societies arc easilyrnfashioned. The hard truth may be thatrnRussia’s is not the sort of experience fromrnwhich democracy can be forged at all.rnFor centuries, reform, progress, change,rnlaw and order, the definition of nationalrnpriorities and interests, and the visions ofrnwhere Russia needs to go and what its futurernought to be all have been handedrndown from above. It is small wonder,rnthen, that the Russians are carr)’ing littiernsense of civic responsibility with them asrnthey approach the 21st century. The beliefrnthat one must answer for oneself andrnone’s communit)- cannot be legislated intornbeing, nor is it one of those self-evidentrntruths that are destined to be eagerlyrnseized upon whenever the forces of historyrnmake it available.rnFew people would deny that a greatrndeal of Western money is stolen by Russianrnofficials, bairkers, and businessmen.rnMoney from the West simply createsrnmore opportunities for the sorts of corruptionrnin which Russians have engagedrnfor centuries. “We all steal,” one of Peterrnthe Great’s closest advisers remarked atrnthe beginning of the 18th centurv’. “Thernonly difference is that some of us do it onrna larger and more conspicuous scale.”rnBolstered by the eradication of civic responsibilityrnthat the Soviet experiencerndemanded, that statement is more truerntoday than ever before.rnAlthough it has deprived them of thosernvalues and experiences that lie at thernheart of the successful workings ofrndemocracy, history has given the Russiansrna powerful sense of national pride.rnAt different times, Russia has claimed tornbe the last refuge of true Christianit}’ andrnthe forerunner of the new commimistrnworld order. It helped to rid Europe ofrnthe tyranny of Napoleon, played a keyrnpart in the destruction of Nazi Germany,rnand reigned as one of the world’s two superpowersrnfor more than 40 years.rnOf these claims and accomplishments,rnthe Russiarrs are intensely—andrnjustifiably—proud. Being reduced to thernstatus of poor cousins in the communityrnof great powers is not something that theyrncan accept with good grace. If the experimentrnwith democracy fails to restore thernRussians to the place in world affairs thatrnthey consider to be rightfully theirs, thenrnone can expect to see leaders and peoplernembrace those principles that havernserved them so well in the past. In thatrncase, they will turn sharply away fromrndemocracy and re-establish thosernregimes that marshaled the nation’s human,rnpolitical, and economic resourcesrnwith so much success in days gone by.rnThe impact of such a turn is difficult torncalculate. But it certainly will take Russiarnin a ver}’ different direction from the onernthat Western leaders want it to follow.rnW. Bruce Lincoln is DistinguishedrnResearch Professor of History atrnNorthern lUinois University.rn•: MAIN STREET 5^rnTHE MAIN STREET SPEAKERS BUREAUrn/narcho-Tyranny, the Balkans, Bullfighting, Crime, thernCulture War, Defense, Education, F’ederalism, Fertility,rnGambling, Greek, Guns, Homo Economicus, Immigration,rnthe Interstate Highway System, Islam, Judicial Tyranny,rnKosovo, Latin, Lyric Poetry, Marriage and Family, MiddlernAmerican Rebels, Nationalism, the Old West, Politics,rnPrivate Justice, Quantimi Mechanics, Revenge, SchoolrnConsolidation, Subsidiarity, the Tenth Amendment, Trade,rnthe United Nations, Vovichers, Welfare, the X-Files,rnYugoslavia, /Zoning . . .rnIs there anything Chronicles editors can’t speak on?rn(Okay, we’re still looking for a physicist.)rn48/CHRONICLESrnrnrn