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Defeating Putin in Ukraine Is Vital to the Future of Democracy

David J. Kramer argues that for democracy in Russia and Eurasia to flourish, it is crucial that the international community support Ukraine in defeating Putin. While critics fear that greater involvement will only serve the interests of the Kremlin, Kramer does not agree. Russia's unjustified invasion of Ukraine must not be viewed as only a conflict between Russia and Ukraine: it is a fundamental battle between democracy and authoritarianism, one that is currently having disastrous and tragic consequences for Ukraine and its people. The author notes the benefits of a weakened Russia vis-à-vis other non-democratic regimes, or those democratic regimes such as India that have not joined the international support for Ukraine.

Inaction, not action, will contribute to Putin's motives in Ukraine, since the true threat to Putin is a democratic Ukraine at its border, as demonstrated by their non-response to Zelenskyy's offer of neutrality regarding NATO and the Kremlin's support for anti-democratic movements in its neighbouring countries. Kramer argues that Western countries must "end their enabling behaviour and actions that offer Putin and his regime invaluable lifelines", making some suggestions for steps forward and underlining the importance of not just defending human rights and democracy, but also in countering authoritarian forces directly.

Read the full piece here at the Journal of Democracy.