Tags: Exclusive Interviews | Russia | Steve Malzberg Show | Ukraine | Leon Aron | Vladimir Putin | autocrat

Russia Expert Aron: Putin Resented Ukraine's Western Tilt

By    |   Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 06:44 PM

Russia's military push into Ukraine is actually a push against the West by an autocrat who thinks his world power has been diminished, says Dr. Leon Aron, resident scholar and director of Russian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

"The whole reason for this bizarre excursion into Ukraine was that [Russian President Vladimir Putin] felt that he suffered a body blow, a defeat when Ukraine abandoned the pro-Russian regime and decided to go the European way," Aron told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"Putin framed it from the very beginning not as the domestic affair of Ukraine but as a contest between Russia and the West . . . and continues to do it," Aron said Wednesday.

Whether Putin will call off his military might depends on whether his ego is satisfied,  Aron said.

"If he feels that he has taught everybody a lesson, that he had regained his domestic political popularity, that enough is enough, then he might stop," he said.

"If he decides that no, this is not enough, I need to do more, then he is going to start sending troops with no IDs into other parts of Ukraine."

Aron has mixed feelings about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's reported comparison of Putin's actions to those of Adolf Hitler before the start of World War II.

"I would not . . . compare Russia to Nazi Germany or Putin to Hitler per say, but . . . if you remember, in a prelude to World War II, the Sudetenland, which was the part of Czechoslovakia that was populated largely by Germans, ethnic Germans," he said.

"Hitler claimed that they're being harassed . . . that there's a threat to their lives and dignity, which is precisely what Putin's saying about the ethnic Russians in Ukraine, particularly in Crimea."

Aron says Putin has come down with "autocracy disease" after a 14-year run as president.

"You've been in power for 14 years. You've been told for 14 years only what you want to hear. This is an autocracy disease. It's a professional disease of autocrats. So, you begin to believe what you're being told, and what you're being told is what your courtiers feel that you want to hear," he said.

"So, yes, it's quite possible that he believes that neo-Nazis [are] running around Kiev killing everybody, and he's there to save ethnic Russians, Aron said Wednesday.

"But, at the same time, you know, he's a trained KGB. My Russian friends tell me, listen to what he says and assume the opposite. Again, it's like two degrees of separation there from the truth."

See "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.



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Russia's military push into Ukraine is actually a push against the West by an autocrat who thinks his world power has been diminished, says Dr. Leon Aron, resident scholar and director of Russian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
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Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 06:44 PM
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