I grew up, not so much with the fear, but definitely the understanding that Russia was a major power capable taking on the West. In fact, because of the media coverage at the time, I always felt that she was itching to do just that. The threat of nuclear war is thankfully something my children have not had to grow up with. However, that could all change unless Bush and Putin can find a compromise over America's proposed missile defence shield.
Why the sudden change? Well for one thing, Russia is no longer the sad shadow of a once mighty country it became after the fall of the Soviet Union. She has found new wealth in the form of oil and gas, and under Putin she has found domestic stability. Always a proud nation, Russia must have found the last couple of decades hard to swallow. Now Russia is in a position to assert herself, should she wish, as a super-power once more. Putin sees the locating of the proposed missile defence shield in Europe (Poland and the Czech Republic) to be a threat, but I think more importantly, an insult to his nation. During the cold war, the US treated the Soviet Union with a great deal more respect. Speaking on national television, Putin said:
"It is already clear that a new phase in the arms race is unfolding in the world. "It is not our fault, because we did not start it. "There are many discussions on these (missile defence shields), but... we have still not seen any real steps towards finding a compromise. "In effect, we are forced to retaliate, to take corresponding decisions. Russia has, and always will have, responses to these new challenges."It's clear that the bad relations developing between the West and Russia are only going to intensify if Putin's concerns cannot be appeased. When my children think of Russia, they think of snow, fur hats and dolls - I pray to God it stays that way.