Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict adds to Putin’s headaches, West’s worries

An article by my Hoover colleague Dr. Paul Gregory in The Hill

The last thing Vladimir Putin needed is another hotspot in Russia’s “near abroad” — Russia’s term for the 14 republics that once were part of the old Soviet Union, along with the Russian Republic. 

In 2014, Putin boasted of an ambitious imperial restoration project; his plans included a “New Russia” encompassing parts of Ukraine and Belarus, along with a Eurasian Union (including, among others, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan) that eventually would grow to rival the European Union.

That was then. Now, Putin sees his vision fading as popular unrest and armed conflicts take hold in the former-USSR territories he had scheduled for restoration.

Putin’s vision of USSR restoration has suffered immense setbacks and continues to absorb damaging blows to his once-ambitious plans: The 2008 Five-Day War removed Georgia permanently from the Russian orbit. The 2014 annexation of Crimea and Russia’s occupation of Eastern Ukraine poisoned Russian-Ukrainian relations and finally established Ukraine as a nation independent of Russia.

Read the full article here

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