Democracy Digest quotes Executive Director of the Transatlantic Renewal Initiative Jeffrey Gedmin on the ideological struggle in Ukraine and its implications for the Kremlin:

Putin must not be permitted to win in Ukraine, argue Georgetown University’s Jeffrey Gedmin and the American Enterprise Institute’s Gary Schmitt.

Ukraine is no longer simply about Ukraine, they write for The Weekly Standard:

As a matter of power politics, Putin wants the country to fail, which means one thing: Ukraine cannot be allowed to become part of the West in any real sense of the word. No EU membership, no NATO membership, no evolution to the rule of law and well-functioning democratic institutions. For one thing, Ukraine has remained an important piece of the Kremlin’s chessboard. As Zbigniew Brzezinski put it in the late 1990s, “if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state.” It’s why you find a good number of Georgians in Kiev to help pro-Western forces. Georgians and others know that if Ukraine gets sucked back into the Russian orbit, neighboring countries, too, will feel the Kremlin’s pull—and stranglehold—even stronger than they do now.

But no less important is the ideological struggle underlying the conflict, Gedmin and Schmitt suggest:

Putin cannot permit a country of Ukraine’s size, proximity, and cultural affinity—he likes to speak of the “fraternal Ukrainian people”—to create an attractive alternative model to his gangster state in Russia. We’ve never been clear whether we have merely a Putin problem or a Russia problem. We do know, however, that this Kremlin boss plays it safe, muzzling the media, reining in (or worse) dissidents, and snuffing out where he can all liberal aspirations that crop up in Russia. Success in Ukraine can’t help but be a problem for Putin.

Read the full article here.

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