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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attend a Victory Day parade, Red Square, Moscow, May 9, 2016 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

Putin’s Intimidation Strategy Backfires as Eastern Europe Turns to NATO

Thursday, May 12, 2016

When Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his campaign to prevent Ukraine from drawing closer to the European Union in 2014, his strategic objectives went beyond that Eastern European country’s borders. To be sure, Russia was concerned about Ukraine’s political and economic drift toward the West. But Moscow’s warnings to Kiev, which were followed by military action, were also meant as a signal to other countries that might have contemplated following in Ukraine’s steps.

The message was aimed at what used to be a clearly demarcated sphere of influence, serving as a threat to any country that was once part of the Soviet orbit, whether as a Soviet republic or as an Eastern European satellite. ...

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