Putin seeks to reestablish Moscow’s influence in eastern Europe

Thirty years ago, the Soviet Union collapsed at Christmas. Vladimir Putin called this moment in 1991 the “greatest geopolitical disaster” of the 20th century.

And now, after three decades of what he sees as humiliation on the part of the West, Russian President Putin is trying to reverse some of the consequences of the dissolution of the USSR.

Why we wrote this

Vladimir Putin cannot restore the Soviet Union, but he seeks to restore Moscow’s European sphere of influence. Can the Western powers ensure their security arrangements?

At home, he rehabilitates the image of Josef Stalin for the decisive role of the dictator in the victory of World War II. Abroad, he calls into question the European security arrangements that have developed since 1991, seeking to curb NATO’s growth and to re-establish a formal “sphere of influence” for Moscow. This is what appears to be behind the deployment of around 100,000 Russian troops to the Ukrainian border, threatening a possible invasion.

Western diplomats have dismissed Mr Putin’s initial list of negotiating demands as a failure. But the Russian leader has managed to grab the attention of the West and instill a sense of urgency in dealing with the Kremlin since the Cold War. The question now is how much longer it will take to convince him to reverse his military escalation.

London

It is the Ghost of Christmas Past: the echo of another Christmas period, exactly thirty years ago, which saw the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Yet as the New Year begins, this memory is increasingly influencing the behavior of the President of post-Soviet Russia, Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Putin wishes the Soviet Union never ended. He said it openly, describing Christmas 1991 as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century.

Why we wrote this

Vladimir Putin cannot restore the Soviet Union, but he seeks to restore Moscow’s European sphere of influence. Can the Western powers ensure their security arrangements?

He cannot realistically hope to turn back the clock. But both at home and beyond Russia’s borders, especially in the growing stalemate with the West over Ukraine, he is clearly trying to undo some of the key changes brought about by the collapse of Ukraine. ‘USSR.

More broadly, he wants to erase what he has felt like the past three decades of national humiliation, by affirming Russia’s renewed status as a great world power.

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