Former Bush Administration Official On 'Putinism' And Russia's Relationship With The West

Paula J. Dobriansky addresses the World Affairs Council of San Antonio.
Credit Nathan Cone

The terms that are being used in western media are “separatists” and “insurgents,” but Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky says make no mistake about it, Russia invaded Ukraine. She notes Russian president Vladimir Putin justifies it by saying “Russia has the right to go in anywhere to protect Russians who are living abroad.” As Central European capitals grow increasingly concerned, Dr. Dobriansky urges Washington to demonstrate its commitment “not just to the region’s security but to its democratic future.”

In this speech to the World Affairs Council of San Antonio, recorded on May 14, 2015, Ambassador Dobriansky addresses Russia’s current propaganda campaign blaming western nations for their delayed return to prosperity. “Putinism,” as she dubs it, comes down to a consolidation of power in Russia, and "a rejection of the framework that has held the peace.” Tellingly, she notes, Putin sees Russia's values at odds with the west, and sees the demise of the Soviet Union as one of the great tragedies of the latter 20th century.

Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky is a celebrated foreign policy expert and former diplomat specializing in national security affairs, who served in the administrations of five US presidents.  Presently, she is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s JFK Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Chair of the National Board of Directors of the World Affairs Councils of America.