Europe should not fear a second Cold War, the son of former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev has exclusively told Sky News.
Sergei Khrushchev said Russia will still be able to co-operate with its Western neighbours despite lingering hostility over the conflict in Georgia.
"It's hostility for some period of time and then business as usual," he told Sky News. "Both sides need each other."
Dr Khrushchev witnessed Russian power politics at their most extreme, being close to his father as he threatened America at the height of the Cold War.
Now he is an expert in Russian socio-economic history at Brown University - and an American citizen.
The Russian scholar said he sees the tensions in Georgia as resulting from "a chain of mistakes and misunderstandings" in the decline of Soviet Russia - not something that will spiral out of control.
"This conflict can be everything - but it will not be war," he said, adding that economic factors are more important than playing power games.
"Victory is in the hands of future competition, not in the hands of generals and admirals. It is in the hands of the world economy."
Tensions escalated between Georgia and Russia last month after Georgian forces advanced on the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
"When President Bush declared President Saakashvili (of Georgia) his personal friend and a beacon of democracy, the Georgian premier came to the conclusion that he had a last chance," said the former Russian leader's son.
"The Georgians wanted Americans to kill minorities in Georgia like cockroaches, because it was Georgian territory for Georgia. For Saakashvili, US support meant the magic word - 'marines'."
The war was part of a Georgian plan to reassert their territorial sovereignty, said Dr Khrushchev, despite their acceptance of the independent region in a peace settlement.
In turn, the Russians reacted aggressively, invading the former colony and triggering condemnation from Western leadership.
"Russian President Medvedev made the decision - not an easy decision - that there will be conflict and the West wouldn't swallow it," Said Dr Krushchev.
Ultimately, he is confident that things will be settled by economics.
"Russia is very dependent on Europe for their trade, but Europe is also dependent on Russia. There is full inter-dependence," he said.
"I don't think Americans understand. They still think in the past, in the Cold War, deciding one more base, one more ally.
"I have serious concern about Russian-European relations, because they really can affect both sides. But I will not take the US seriously now - they're not the real player."
Dr Sergei Khrushchev has been a senior fellow at the Watson Institute For International Studies, Brown University, since 1996. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
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