The author presents how Russia's struggle to find its new identity in the aftermath of Communism's collapse is analogous to America's historical experience of drawing on religious and cultural roots in moving toward democracy. By rediscovering religion and forming voluntary cultural organizations, the Russians are patterning the evolution of the American democracy. Billington highlights Mikhail Gorbachev's crucial role in the early stages of the process. Noting the American experience in dealing with diversity, he notes the central role this experience can play in dealing with "a global process that... is moving forward to democratization and back to religion," which is where the previously irreconcilable "Slavophile-Westernizer polarity" tends to converge.
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