Ukraine, Georgia, and Syria are all part of one story.
The new video by Euromaidan Press explores the connection between Putin’s wars outside and inside Russia and what implications this has for the global order of things.
There are two main ways to organize society: as a democracy or a dictatorship.
In a democracy, people control those in power, with the help of the right to protest, enforcement of human rights, free elections, and free speech.
In a dictatorship, those in power control the people. Corruption, repression, no free speech, no free elections are their instruments.
It’s a hard job being a dictator, because people can’t stand oppression.
The Soviet Union was a communist dictatorship, so its rulers had to wage war against democracy and freedom all the time.
Then it fell apart, but Putin brought back authoritarian rule to Russia and tries to restore its position as a superpower, so that Russians forget they are living in a dictatorship and take pride in a feeling of imperial greatness.
Most of all he fears successful democratic governments on Russia’s borders that could serve as an alternative model to his “vertical of power.”
When the country of Georgia tried to build a democracy after the Revolution of the Roses, Putin attacked it in 2008, carving away chunks of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
After Ukraine’s people fought for their freedom in the Euromaidan revolution of 2013-2014, Putin attacked them. Crimea and parts of Donbas are now de-facto under Russian occupation.
Now, instead of working on reforms, Ukraine and Georgia have to deal with frozen conflicts.
When the Syrian people rose up against their dictator, Assad, Putin helped him attack his own people – with weapons, troops, and media propaganda.
Dictators are threatened by democracy and freedom, so they often work together to stop it. To stay in power, Putin has to fight against democracy and freedom in Russia, not just abroad.
To maintain the support of the Russian people, Putin has to create fictitious enemies. Then Russia’s muzzled media can say Putin is saving the country from “external enemies” and his ratings go up. In bombing Syria, Putin achieves three goals at once:
⅘ of Russia’s attacks target not ISIS, but areas held by groups that oppose Assad, according to Russia’s own data.
So, Putin not only helps Assad prop up his regime and distracts Russians from their own economic problems, he also distracts the world from his covert war in Ukraine.
That’s why Putin is bombing Syria. Putin hopes the West will let him crush democracy and freedom in Ukraine in return for supporting their war against ISIS.
But the only war Putin is really waging is against democracy and freedom.