The United Kingdom's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, declared before the British news media Saturday of Russian President Vladimir Putin being in a "total panic" over the prospect of a revolution in Moscow.
"He has been in a total panic about a so-called color revolution in Moscow itself and that is why he is trying so brutally to snuff out the flame of freedom in Ukraine, and that's why it is so vital that he fails," Johnson said in a YouTube video published by The Telegraph.
"We stand with the Ukrainian people and our hearts go out to them," Johnson said earlier in his speech. "It is clear Putin made a catastrophic mistake."
"He was frightened of Ukraine because in Ukraine they have a free press. They have free elections," the British prime minister said. "And with every year Ukraine progressed toward freedom and democracy and open markets, he feared the Ukrainian example and the implicit reproach to himself.
"Because in Putin's Russia you get jailed for 15 years just for calling an invasion an invasion, and if you stand against Putin in an election you get poisoned or shot."
According to The Washington Post, shortly after Ukrainians launched their "Orange Revolution," in 2005, which resulted in the shaking off of Russian influence while spurring pro-democracy leanings in Kyiv, Putin made the statement the collapse of the Soviet Union "was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century."
During a speech Dec. 23, Putin said "our opponents have been saying throughout the centuries that Russia cannot be defeated, but can only be destroyed from within," which was accomplished "in the 1990s, when the Soviet Union was being dismantled from within."
"Who was doing it?" Putin questioned. "Someone serving the interests of others that run counter to the interests of the Russian and other peoples of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the Russian Federation today."
Before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was made up of 15 states. In his speech, Putin mentions how in 1991, "we divided ourselves into 12." The three countries not mentioned by Putin, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, are all members of the European Union.
For Putin, as Michael McFaul, the former Russian ambassador under the Obama administration says, he views his place in the dismantled Soviet Union "as a kind of 18th-century or 19th-century leader about spheres of influence — most certainly that was the case when I was in the room with him, and that's been there for a while."
The "spheres of influence" as the Post refers to it, entails the other "11 countries of the former Soviet Union — Eastern Europe's Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova, the Caucasus's Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan and Central Asia's Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan" — all of which get differing treatment based on their loyalty to Moscow.
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