Diane Francis: Putin is playing chess against the West and he’s winning – Financial Post


Aslund is a colleague of mine at the Atlantic Council, and a former economic advisor to Russia, Ukraine, Sweden and other countries, whose most recent book is Russias Crony Capitalism: The Path from Market Economy to Kleptocracy.

Russias slow-motion conquests also involve grooming or destabilizing fragile democracies in the region. This fall, Ukraines anti-corruption efforts came to a sudden halt, despite a reform-minded president and parliament, due to attacks by Russian-backed media outlets, politicians and oligarchs, as well as Russian-influenced judges. Ukraine, which has aspirations to join the European Union, has been plunged into a constitutional crisis.

Ukraines western neighbour, the Republic of Moldova, also struggles. Its election pits a democratic, pro-European Union presidential candidate against a pro-Russian incumbent who is backed by Russia and its disinformation network.

Like Ukraine, Moldova lost a chunk of its territory, the region of Transnistria, to the Russians in 1992. The same fate befell Georgia, where Russian troops have occupied South Ossetia since 2008.

With lame-duck President Donald Trump shaking up the Pentagon, and two more months in power, the stage is set for more chess moves. This is when Americas allies, from the European Union and NATO members such as Canada, must wade in collectively by condemning Russia and imposing more sanctions. They await Joe Bidens accession. But Putin certainly hasnt.

Financial Post

Diane Francis is a senior fellow with the Atlantic Institutes Eurasia Center in Washington, D.C.

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Diane Francis: Putin is playing chess against the West and he's winning - Financial Post

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