Obama himself is largely viewed in Russia as the American Mikhail Gorbachev, but Russians are less impressed than other Europeans have been with Obama’s brilliance and rock-star popularity. They remember the Gorbi-mania that conquered the globe at the moment the Soviet Union was about to crumble. Russians are tempted to view Obama’s global reformism and his progressive agenda as an expression of American weakness and not as an expression of America’s regained strength and legitimacy.
They are correct, and some of them (as Krastev’s article also says) also believe that the U.S. is on the verge of disintegration.
If they’re right about that, it will be a lot uglier separation than the Soviet Union’s.