In any democracy worth its name, these men would be behind bars for using force to get them what democratic elections did not. Because they have powerful international backers, they are not.
The combination of growing Georgian cynicism, Russian and Russian-derived money, growing Russian assertiveness, and European incompetence is undoing the nascent Eastern Partnership faster than European leaders realize.
This does nothing to encourage the West’s attempts to portray itself as an inevitable and calm future for Ukraine, which until just days ago was its entire foreign policy in the East.
If the West is to have a united and peaceful Europe, it must once again do battle with the Empire of the East. America and Europe must once again believe in the justice of their own cause and act that way, before it is too late.
Mere money is not the same as the ability to hold a necessary resource hostage, and Moscow knows it.
When the story of Ukraine’s drive for Europe is written, Vladimir Putin will star in an outsized role: one of his rare blunders will be known as perhaps the final push that brought Brussels and Kyiv together at last.
After a decade of hard work, Putin is finally poised to reclaim the Russian Empire he believes should exist of right.
The coming months and years will be a test of leadership in the EU and Ukraine, as Russian intransigence and vengeance will undoubtedly come with heavy clubs.
Ukraine cannot hold out against Russian trade wars indefinitely; Europe’s shameful practice of holding out indefinitely a deeper integration has placed Kyiv in a position in which it must choose whether to protect its present or its future.
The effort to rebuild the Russian Empire has been stymied by Ukraine’s clever transformation of its energy policy and Azerbaijan’s growth as an alternative energy provider.