"If we act on the premise that force is the only thing Russia reacts to, then the situation will only get worse," Orlando Figes, Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London, said in an interview with the German Tageszeitung daily newspaper.
"Russophobia is an old European tradition, but this simplistic approach leads us nowhere," he noted, adding that the only way out of the present crisis was to try to establish a new form of dialogue without forsaking traditional European values.
Attempts to demonize Russia and bring back the Cold War stereotypes is not conducive to dialogue and, by letting our deep-seated Russophobia prevail over our understanding of Russia and its intentions is absolutely counterproductive, Orlando Figes warned.
The Europeans started viewing Russia as an enemy long before the Cold War and this is part of the traditional European mindset, he added.
"Russians are Asians, Huns, demons, while we are not. Ukrainians are good, Russians are bad. In the 19th century the Poles were the good guys and the Russians were bad. This is simplistic discourse which leads us nowhere," Professor Figes emphasized.