Russia, probably for the first time since the early 1800s, has gone through a quarter of a century without leaving any trace on the international world of arts, literature, philosophy or science.

This from a longer essay about post-communist transitions in eastern Europe. The conclusion: 'Only three or at most five or six countries could be said to be on the road to becoming a part of the rich and (relatively) stable capitalist world. Many are falling behind, and some are so far  behind that they cannot aspire to go back to the point where they were when the Wall fell for several decades.'

(H/t to The Browser for the link to the essay, and to Marginal Revolution for the 'Sentences to ponder' coinage.)