When the Soviet Empire collapsed 1991, some people thought future would be a democratic development allover world, some even spoke of an end of history. They were wrong. Today we see everywhere, autocrats are pushing back against democrats, they try to export their ideas and methods allover the world- even to the United States. A big player among these autocrats is Vladimir Putin of Russia. He has consolidated his hold on power in Russia, he suppressed any opposition and scared off big business from supporting government critics.
But he has entered the global scene too, beginning a psychological war against democratic forces. Mr. Putin took in 2011 special offense to Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state at that time, claiming her criticism of the fairness of the Russian parliamentary election was a signal to Russian demonstrators.
At the same time he began challenging the legitimacy of democratic leaders, including the President of the USA. And the Russian government began to support especially in Europe political parties and organizations with illiberal, nationalist agendas.
Many are impressed and try to copy the Putin playbook. Autocrats in Asia, the Middle East and Africa are among them. And Putin has a lot of advocates in western countries too. Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, 2 main figures of the Brexit Campaign have spoken fondly of Mr. Putin. So does Hungary`s increasingly authoritarian prime minister Viktor Orban. Last not least Mr. Donald Trump tried to excel praising Vladimir Putin as “ strong leader“.
Do you think it was just coincidence that stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee were released just at the beginning of the Convent in Philadelphia? Do you think that has nothing to do with Russian cyber war? I don`t think so.
Of course it would fit perfectly in Mr. Putin`s playbook, if a person were elected President of the United States who is willing to lead this country into isolationism.
The answer to Mr. Putins strategy can only be, make democratic movements strong allover world and issue a denial to all politicians who are advocates of autocratic leaders as Mr. Putin.