Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Goodnight, Vladimir!

The western-minded citizens of Ukraine toppled a statue of Valdimir Lenin to express their displeasure with their government's recent moves away from Europe and toward Russia. Too bad it wasn't a statue of Vladimir Putin, who  has ruled Russia a lot longer than his illustrious predecessor. Whereas Lenin settled for "revolution in one country," he was succeeded by Joseph Stalin, who devoted his reign to restoring the boundaries of the Russian Empire of 1914. With the help of his compliant allies in the West, Stalin succeeded in his goal, only to have the Soviet Union die of its own excesses in 1991.

Putin has set out to restore the old boundaries, and so far as succeeded in drawing Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan into its "Eurasian Union" as members or candidates for membership, with Ukraine next in his sight. If he succeeds, Russia's western boundary will be 135 miles closer to the English Channel than it was in 1939. Poland should worry: Stalin took half the country in 1945 and put the rest under Moscow's control


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