people in the street protesting against war

What Putin Fears Most

“When NATO announced in 2002 its plan for a major wave of expansion that would include three former Soviet republics—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania—Putin barely reacted. He certainly did not threaten to invade any of the countries to keep them out of NATO. Asked specifically in late 2001 whether he opposed the Baltic states’ membership in NATO, he stated, “We, of course, are not in a position to tell people what to do. We cannot forbid people to make certain choices if they want to increase the security of their nations in a particular way.”

“NATO is a defensive alliance. It has never attacked the Soviet Union or Russia, and it never will. Putin knows that. But Putin is threatened by a successful democracy in Ukraine. He cannot tolerate a successful, flourishing, and democratic Ukraine on his borders, especially if the Ukrainian people also begin to prosper economically. That undermines the Kremlin’s own regime stability and proposed rationale for autocratic state leadership.”

Source: Journal of Democracy

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