The Ukrainian revolution has redrawn the geopolitical map of Eurasia. In the process it has set back two key objectives of the “Putin doctrine” that shapes Russia’s foreign policy: Russia as a great power defined in opposition to the West and Russia as an unchallengeable hegemon in the post-Soviet space. Putin will do whatever it takes to prevent the spread of the “Ukrainian contagion” inside Russia. This is the imperative that will dominate the Kremlin’s foreign and domestic policy for weeks, perhaps months to come. Will Vladimir Putin escalate his aggressive stance toward Ukraine beyond the point where violence and even armed confrontation between Ukraine and Russia become inevitable? What will the US and Europe do to deter the bear as Ukraine seeks to move to the West?
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Falling oil prices and economic sanctions have taken a large toll on the Russian economy. However, there remains the risk that domestic discomfort may only increase Putin’s incentives for further aggressive moves.
The Euromaidan protests, which began one year ago, evolved into a movement that at its finest could serve as a prototype for a kind of mature democracy Ukraine may one day become.
Four Russian warships have entered international waters off the northeast Australian coast, which coincides with Putin’s visit to Australia for the summit. Meanwhile, US and EU are holding another meeting to discuss bolstering sanctions against Russia. The question is how effective are those sanctions and do Putin’s political actions work for his advantage domestically and politically?
Ukraine was not the first of Putin’s revanchist operations. When Russia intervened in Georgia in 2008, AEI’s Dr. Leon Aron feared that Crimea might just be next.
The October 26 elections to the Ukrainian parliament will not be a ringing endorsement of President Petro Poroshenko’s Russian policy.
Rotational deployments to the Baltics and Poland will not deter Putin unless the administration supports them with a larger forward-deployed force in Europe.
Xi Jinping shares with Putin an ambition to recoup lost prestige and its rightful territory, which is why Beijing cannot bring itself to criticize Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, despite its longstanding admonitions about respecting state sovereignty.
The international community must have a realistic and transparent discussion of how to distribute the costs of supporting Ukraine, which are highly likely to be much greater than the current IMF estimate.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s state visit to Washington today was undoubtedly planned as a celebration of his young democracy. It now looks more like a show of U.S. solidarity with a badly wounded and bleeding country whose pleas for help have been ignored by the West.
Russia and the West have fundamentally different views on Russia’s legimitate interest in Ukraine. The resulting escalating sanctions are now threatening economic growth for all of Europe.