Brodsky On “Putin, Ukraine and Syria: Russia’s Carrots and Sticks”

Former New York State Assemblyman and Senior Fellow at Demos Richard Brosky has written an excellent piece for Huffington Post on the motivations of Vlad Putin.  Check it out here:

Richard Brosky. Photo c/o

To many in the West, Vladimir Putin seems mysterious, as well as deeply troubling.

Troubling he is. But mysterious not so much. If we can’t figure him out it’s only because we’re unwilling to see him as a political and governmental leader with all the attributes of our own leadership class. Real-Politik, however you spell it, is a better explanation of what he’s done and what he will do than the darker analyses that prevail.

Putin’s purposes seem obvious. He’s trying to transform the Russian economy and reclaim Russia’s role as a world power. His KGB background, Russia’s historic love for a Fearless Leader, and the relative lawlessness of its social institutions are important. But rebuilding the Russian image and power are the heart of his efforts.

It should not have come as a surprise that he reacted strongly to the Ukrainian revolution. If the West thought he would stand aside and let events unfold as they did, then our leadership was thinking with some part of its anatomy other than its brain.

The merger of Crimea into Russia was an unprincipled act to be sure. Putin will never let Chechnya or other constituent areas vote themselves out of Russia. He’s no believer in popular sovereignty. But neither are we. This was raw power politics on both sides of the balance sheet.  (To read more…check out the article here at Huffington Post.)

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