This opinion piece in the Washington Post was written by the imprisoned Alexei Navalny. He is the Russian opposition leader who after narrowly surviving a Putin poison job, returned to Russia to continue his protests. He is now in the Gulag.
He goes beyond arguing that Putin must be defeated in Ukraine. He takes as a given that “Ukraine must remain an independent democratic state capable of defending itself.”
He goes beyond regime change as a goal for the West. The removal of Putin is not enough. “No long-term goals can be achieved without a plan to ensure that the source of the problems stops creating them. Russia must cease to be an instigator of aggression and instability. That is possible, and that is what should be seen as a strategic victory in this war.”
His hope for a peaceful and prosperous Russia is its transformation from fascism to parliamentary democracy. The West he says should shape its policy and rhetoric to advance that goal.
He provides this background for the current war . . .
“First, jealousy of Ukraine and its possible successes is an innate feature of post-Soviet power in Russia; it was also characteristic of the first Russian president, Boris Yeltsin. But since the beginning of Putin’s rule, and especially after the Orange Revolution that began in 2004, hatred of Ukraine’s European choice, and the desire to turn it into a failed state, have become a lasting obsession not only for Putin but also for all politicians of his generation.”