March 6th, 2014

A New Post-Soviet Playbook

Economics & Politics

Events are moving rapidly in Ukraine; a political and economic crisis has escalated into a military confrontation. The mass uprising in Kiev that toppled Viktor Yanukovych’s corrupt and incompetent regime did so without a clear framework for restoring democratic rule and maintaining a stable and responsible foreign policy toward Russia. After Yanukovych fled Kiev, Ukraine’s parliament quickly decided to abolish a law that had established a legal status for Russian and other minority languages (although the move was later reversed). Russia responded to Yanukovych’s overthrow, which it viewed as an illegitimate coup, and the parliament’s moves, which it saw as an assault on the rights of ethnic Russians, with a military occupation of Crimea, home to its Black Sea fleet and a substantial population of Russian speakers. The United States and other Western powers countered with threats of sanctions and other reprisals against Russia. Hyperbolic claims on both sides — in the West about a return to the Cold War, in Russia about a fascist seizure of power in Kiev — have since fed the crisis.

Read the full article at the Foreign Affairs or view PDF

 

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