The last year has shown that Putin perceives that his strengths are paired with Western weaknesses; if the West is to seriously contest with him, it must become serious.
Gazprom fuels Russian military and political power; broken of that, Russia will be merely Venezuela with less political stability.
It is now reasonably safe to say that Vladimir Putin believes he is the Emperor of Eastern Europe. It is also safe to say he’s right.
While all eyes are on Ukraine as we write this, there are other glimmers of hope in the former Soviet Union: Azerbaijan, Moldova, even Georgia, all have a chance to break loose to the West. (Ukraine’s fate is uncertain for now.)
A recent Armenian offensive along the border — after a steady uptick in violence over the last few years — is a sign that peace is no longer in danger of breaking out.
This is not to say that anti-Semitism is uniquely confined to these states; rather, in the absence of a healthy polity, anti-Semitism takes root, sickening civil society and government, which in turn breeds more anti-Semitism.
The Eastern Partnership failed because it was not an Eastern Partnership, it was an Eastern Condescension.
2014 will be the year that Europe’s mettle is truly tested.
An end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would end reliance on Russian military power; an end to blaming the grandchildren of the Ottomans for the sins of a long-fallen empire would allow new trading vistas and hope to open again.
Azerbaijan has made enormous strides over the last decade, but it is now a dual symbol: of what a former Soviet state can work to be, and how it can contribute to a European future