Although the immediate cause for the people’s uprising against Viktor Yanukovych’s reign was his rejection of a trade agreement with the European Union, the ultimate responsibility for the Ukrainian crisis lies with Vladimir Putin, the revanchist president of the Russian Federation. Now that the Ukrainian people put an end to Putin’s pyrrhic victory over the European Union, the anachronistic character of his attempts at the restoration of the bygone imperial glory of the Soviet Union is becoming all too apparent.
For present-day Russia is not the Soviet Union, and Putin is not Stalin, or even the latter’s successors. The symbol of hope and change of the late 1990s is a disappointment in his second presidential reincarnation. His annual state of the nation address last December was a litany of domestic problems that cannot be solved by increasing repression and over-centralization. His foreign policy of rogue militarism only radicalizes Russia’s neighbors and invites resentment, and even hostility, from the rest of the world. Thus, instead of his promise of “building a new Russia”, Putin is destroying the present and the future of his people, in order to resurrect the past. [Read more...]