To Russian President Vladimir Putin, the collapse of the Soviet Union “was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.”
He made that statement in 2005, just months after Ukrainians launched their “Orange Revolution” and began to shake off Russia’s influence in the country, spurring Kyiv’s pro-democracy leanings. Two years earlier, an uprising in the Caucasus country of Georgia had ousted its Soviet-holdover president.
“I think any time where autocrats are at risk of being overthrown by their own citizens and through the streets, I think Putin views that as a direct threat to his own survival and the survival of his regime,” said Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a Russia expert at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington-based think tank.
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