“For years, experts have warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken his country from the nascent democracy that emerged in 1991 at the end of the Soviet Union to a revanchist, revisionist power seeking to aggressively reassert the Kremlin’s primacy — both in the world and at home in Russia. Individual flashpoints over the last decade pointed to this, including the invasion of Ukraine, hybrid warfare against the West, and political repression at home that increasingly suffocates Russian civil society. Today, we see each of these issues escalating and showing exactly what a more fully formed revisionist power looks like on the world stage.
The most important political development in Russia over the last two decades is Putin’s effort to take Russia backwards while experimenting with new ways to exert authoritarian control over a society. Experts and decision makers need to be clear-eyed about Putin’s Russia as it is — not as they want it to be — especially as those same authoritarian tools work their way outside of Russia and into the West by way of illicit money and the corruption of credible leaders as well as information warfare that fuels our own political turmoil.”