Putin’s Motivation

Woven in with Putin’s most basic motivation for conquering Ukraine — his obsession with restoring the Russian empire to the glorious perch it occupied during the Soviet era — is his fear of Ukraine becoming a flourishing democratic country with a strong economy and free expression and fair elections, a brightening beacon of liberty right in Russia’s face, with a great deal of communication between citizens of the two countries. Despite Putin’s control of the media and suppression of dissenters and disobedient journalists, the example of what a free country is like, seeping across the border, would be certain to stir dissatisfaction among Russians with Putin’s repressive rule. The Washington Post’s slogan is “Democracy dies in darkness.” The unspoken slogan of authoritarian regimes is “Tyranny is imperiled by by light.”