Putin Weaponizes Democracy

Europe Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – November 14, 2016)

[RFE/RL budget: $108.414 million (FY2016)]

Don’t look now but Russia just picked up two more allies in Europe.

Don’t look now, but pro-Moscow candidates just won the presidencies of Moldova and Bulgaria.

Don’t look now, but Vladimir Putin appears to be on a roll.

Moldova Map and FlagThe Kremlin leader is no democrat. He’s no fan of free and fair elections — at least not in Russia.

But in the West, on the other hand, democracy and free and fair elections have been very kind to Putin of late.

He seems to be moving from one victory to another.

It’s taken him some time, but Putin appears to have mastered the dark art of injecting himself into the West’s electoral politics.

He’s used everything from cyberattacks to disinformation campaigns to murky energy deals to blackmail.

And he’s skillfully exploited the fears of the disenfranchised, the dispossessed, and those left behind by globalization.

Putin has managed to turn democracy into a weapon against democracy.

And Western countries have not figured out how to stop him.

Bulgaria Map, adapted from image at cia.govAs a result, every Western election now has the potential to turn into a crisis.

And oh, by the way, in the coming year, France will elect a new president and Germany will elect a new parliament.

So hold onto your hats folks. This movie is just getting underway.

Article from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – ©2016 RFE/RL, Inc. Article also appeared at rferl.org/a/daily-vertical-whitmore-putin-weaponizes-democracy/28114835.html